Route ssh git user to a specific container

Maybe you have a server which is hosting a git service, and you want to be able to use port 22 for accessing the server ssh while also being able to use ssh keys to push to git (without further configuration). Let's see how can we do this.

Software used

Configuring the host ssh in a different port

sshpiper will take the connection on port 22, so let's move the server's openssh service to another port.

Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config, look for a like line Port 22 (or create it) and chage it to Port 1022, then run systemctl reload sshd.

Even after this operation the connection should still be open, but from here on, and until the sshpiper is configured we'll have to connect to our server pointing to that port, with ssh -p 1022 user@server.

Installing and configuring sshpiper

First things first, you'll make a program handle the authentication of one (or several) of your servers, right? So you really should take a look at how sshpiper works to at least have a general understanding. There's no hurry, I'll be here when you finish.


Install golang, on debian-derived distros: sudo apt install golang (and configure golang)

Download and install tg123's sshpiper

go get
go install

Base configuration

We'll create a workdir directory, in there we'll define the following rules:

| Incoming | Outgoing user@server:port |
| root     | root@localhost:1022       |
| gitea    | gitea@git.server:22       |

For this, create a directory piper-workdir (can be any name) and create a directory inside for each accepted user:

$ tree piper-workdir/
├── gitea
└── root

2 directories, 0 files

Ok, now we'll have to fill this directories with some files, to understand why this files are needed we have to keep in mind how sshpiper works. After this is setup, the connections will flow like this

Client       SSH piper
-->-------->-| Receives connection, decodes it (needed to know the user)
             | And reencodes it, sending it again
             |       2.
             |--------->---------->-------->---------> Final server

Keep in mind that in this schema, the sshpiper server can read when goes through it! (And can record it if launched with --record_typescript).

Workdir files

So, having the previous in mind (and with the goal of a public-key based authentication), each user directory on the workdir needs 4 files:


This file only requires a single non-empty line with the following syntax, pointing to the server where the communication will be forwarded:


The default user will be the one that made the original connection, and the default port 22 (the default SSH one).

Comment lines can be added starting them with #.

For example, the sshpiper_upstream file for root might be

# Pipe the root user to the local server (now on port 1022)

Authorized keys

A list of the public keys that are allowed to use that user, you can obtain one for the key in your local machine doing

cat ~/.ssh/

(If that command fails, run ssh-keygen before).

New keys can be appended at the end of the file, just adding a line jump between different keys.


A public/private SSH key pair, can be generated like this

ssh-keygen -f workdir/USER/id_rsa

Keep in mind that the on will have to be added to the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys of the target machine. This is unless it has another way to add the keys, like git web interfaces (github, gitlab, gitea, ...)

Final result

The final result should be something like this

$ tree piper-workdir/
├── gitea
│   ├── authorized_keys
│   ├── id_rsa
│   ├──
│   └── sshpiper_upstream
└── root
    ├── authorized_keys
    ├── id_rsa
    └── sshpiper_upstream

2 directories, 8 files

Running the piper

After this step is completed, only remains to launch sshpiper, this can be done like

$GOPATH/bin/sshpiperd -p 22 -w piper-workdir/
SSHPiper ver: DEV by Boshi Lian<>

go runtime  : go1.7.4
git hash    : 0000000000

Listening             :
Server Key File       : /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
Working Dir           : piper-workdir/
Additional Challenger :
Logging file          : stdout

2018/02/07 00:50:49 SSHPiperd started