Connect with SSH through Cloudflare Tunnel
The Secure Shell Protocol (SSH) enables users to remotely access devices through the command line. With Cloudflare Zero Trust, you can make your SSH server available over the Internet without the risk of opening inbound ports on the server.
Cloudflare Zero Trust offers two solutions to provide secure access to SSH servers:
Set up an SSH server in GCP
This example walks through how to set up an SSH server on a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) virtual machine (VM), but you can use any machine that supports SSH connections.
1. Create an SSH key pair
Before creating your VM instance you will need to create an SSH key pair.
Open a terminal and type the following command:$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -f ~/.ssh/gcp_ssh -C <username in GCP>
Enter your passphrase when prompted. It will need to be entered twice.
Two files will be generated:
gcp_sshwhich contains the private key, and
gcp_ssh.pubwhich contains the public key.
In the command line, enter:$ cat ~/.ssh/gcp_ssh.pub
Copy the output. This will be used when creating the VM instance in GCP.
2. Create a VM instance in GCP
Now that the SSH key pair has been created, you can create a VM instance.
- In your , .
- Go to Compute Engine > VM instances.
- Select Create instance.
- Name your VM instance, for example
- Scroll down to Advanced options > Security > Manage Access.
- Under Add manually generated SSH keys, select Add item and paste the public key that you have created.
- Select Create.
- Once your VM instance is running, open the dropdown next to SSH and select Open in browser window.
Connect to SSH server with WARP to TunnelYou can use Cloudflare Tunnel to create a secure, outbound-only connection from your server to Cloudflare’s edge. This requires running the
cloudflareddaemon on the server. Users reach the service by installing the on their device and enrolling in your Zero Trust organization. Remote devices will be able to connect as if they were on your private network. By default, all devices enrolled in your organization can access the service unless you build policies to allow or block specific users.
1. Connect the server to Cloudflare
In the Private Networks tab for the tunnel, enter the private IP address of your server (or a range that includes the server IP). In GCP, the server IP is the Internal IP of the VM instance.
2. Set up the client
In order for devices to connect to your Zero Trust organization, you will need to:
- on your devices in Gateway with WARP mode. The Cloudflare certificate is only required if you want to display a custom block page or filter HTTPS traffic.
- to determine which devices can enroll to your Zero Trust organization.
3. Connect as a user
Once you have set up the application and the user device, the user can now SSH into the machine using its private IP address. If your SSH server requires an SSH key, the key should be included in the command.
$ ssh -i ~/.ssh/gcp_ssh <username>@<server IP>
Connect to SSH server with
Cloudflare Tunnel can also route applications through a public hostname, which allows users to connect to the application without the WARP client. This method requires having
cloudflared installed on both the server machine and on the client machine, as well as an active zone on Cloudflare. The traffic is proxied over this connection, and the user logs in to the server with their Cloudflare Access credentials.
The public hostname method can be implemented in conjunction with so that there are multiple ways to connect to the server. You can reuse the same tunnel for both the private network and public hostname routes.
1. Connect the server to Cloudflare
In the Public Hostnames tab, choose a domain from the drop-down menu and specify any subdomain (for example,
For Service, select SSH and enter
Select Save hostname.
2. Connect as a user
Make a one-time change to your SSH configuration file:$ vim ~/.ssh/config
Input the following values; replacing
ssh.example.comwith the hostname you created.Host ssh.example.comProxyCommand /usr/local/bin/cloudflared access ssh --hostname %h
cloudflaredpath may be different depending on your OS and package manager. For example, if you installed
cloudflaredon macOS with Homebrew, the path is
You can now test the connection by running a command to reach the service:$ ssh <username>@ssh.example.com
When the command is run,
cloudflaredwill launch a browser window to prompt you to authenticate with your identity provider before establishing the connection from your terminal.
End users can connect to the SSH server without any configuration by using Cloudflare’s browser-based terminal. When users visit the public hostname URL (for example,
https://ssh.example.com) and log in with their Access credentials, Cloudflare will render a terminal in their browser.