How to Configure Remote SSH Connection to WSL 2

There may be a case where you want to use WSL(Windows Subsystem for Linux) via a remote SSH connection.

Configuring a remote SSH connection to WSL is not necessarily straightforward because:

  • You need to configure port forwarding from WSL to the host machine
  • WSL does not have systemd, so you need to configure automatic booting of WSL and then SSH server inside it(because you will want to automate everything).

Well, let's take a look at the configuration process step by step.

Install SSH server on the WSL instance.

1sudo apt install openssh-server

Configure the SSH server to accept SSH connetions on port 2222(or any other port you prefer).

1sudo vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config
1Port 2222
2#AddressFamily any
4#ListenAddress ::

Reboot the SSH server.

1sudo service ssh restart

Allow your default WSL user to start the SSH server without entering a password.

1sudo sh -c "echo '${USER} ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/service ssh start' >/etc/sudoers.d/service-ssh-start"

Configure firewall on the host machine(Windows 10 or 11) to allow incoming remote SSH connections.

Open Command Prompt as an administrator and run the following commands:

1netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="Open Port 2222 for WSL2" dir=in action=allow protocol=TCP localport=2222

Create a batch script that automatically starts WSL and SSH server on host startup.

 1@echo off
 4C:\Windows\System32\bash.exe -c "sudo /usr/sbin/service ssh start"
 6C:\Windows\System32\netsh.exe interface portproxy delete v4tov4 listenport=2222 listenaddress= protocol=tcp
 8for /f %%i in ('wsl hostname -I') do set IP=%%i
 9C:\Windows\System32\netsh.exe interface portproxy add v4tov4 listenport=2222 listenaddress= connectport=2222 connectaddress=%IP%

On the host OS(Windows), open start menu and search for "Task Scheduler", where you can create a new scheduled task that runs the above batch script. Make sure that you configure the task run whether a user is logged in or not.

That's pretty much. Please comment below if you got stuck in the process.

Happy coding!