SSH Escape Characters

I am sure a LOT of people reading this blog use ssh in their everyday work/life/etc. I am not sure though how many of you have heard of ssh EscapeChar unless you’ve read the ssh_config file (and even if you have done so, did you pay any attention to it ?). So what can you do with EscapeChar ? not a lot, but certainly very usefull stuff.

My most frequent problem with ssh is sessions that sometimes they don’t end as they are supposed to. You logout from the remote system and you never get a prompt on yours because something has stuck somewhere, sometime. Wouldn’t you wish there was an escape sequence to end this suffering, like telnet’s ctrl+] ? Well there is! Just edit your client’s ssh config file (/etc/ssh/ssh_config for gentoo) and add to the end:
EscapeChar ~

now try ssh to a host and when you are in, try this: ~?. You will see a list of helpfull options. The solution to the previous described problem of stale connections is ~.
Dummy-safe: So to get it to escape press[alt gr] + [~] two times and then [.]
If that doesn’t work, try pushing Enter before “~”.

What’s also very helpfull is the ability to start/end portforwarding during an active ssh session! Say you have opened an ssh connection to a host and you now have to portforward a port, what do you do ? New ssh connection with -L/-R options ? nope! You just press ~C and do what you want from the ssh “command shell”.