Install Arch Linux via SSH
This article is intended to show users how to install Arch remotely via an SSH connection. Consider this approach when the host is located remotely or you wish to use the copy/paste ability of an SSH client to do the Arch install.
On the remote (target) machine
Boot the target machine into a live Arch environment via the Live CD/USB image: this will log the user in as root.
At this point, setup the network on the target machine as for example suggested in Installation guide#Connect to the internet.
Setup a root password which is needed for an SSH connection, since the default Arch password for root is empty:
PermitRootLogin yes is set in
/etc/ssh/sshd_config. If it is not, set it and reload the OpenSSH daemon
sshd.service to apply the changes.
-Rflag of ssh(1).
On the local machine
On the local machine, connect to the target machine via SSH with the following command:
$ ssh -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -o "UserKnownHostsFile /dev/null" firstname.lastname@example.org
-o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -o "UserKnownHostsFile /dev/null"options will prevent verifying and writing the live environment's SSH host keys to
~/.ssh/known_hosts. This will avoid the
REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGEDwarning in case you have ever connected to the IP address before.
archiso.localin place of the target's IP address:
$ ssh -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -o "UserKnownHostsFile /dev/null" email@example.com
From here one is presented with the live environment's welcome message and is able to administer the target machine as if sitting at the physical keyboard. At this point, if the intent is to simply install Arch from the live media, follow the guide at Installation guide. If the intent is to edit an existing Linux install that got broken, follow the Install from existing Linux wiki article.
Installation on a headless server
This section describes installation of Arch Linux on a headless server without a keyboard, mouse or display. It uses an additional drive with cloud-init NoCloud configuration to automatically configure OpenSSH authorized keys and optionally iwd connection(s).
Prepare cloud-init configuration files
There are two required cloud-init configuration files:
meta-data file can be empty:
$ printf "" > meta-data
user-data will contain the relevant configuration:
#cloud-config users: - name: root ssh_authorized_keys: - ssh-ed25519 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX - ssh-ed25519 YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
ssh-ed25519 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX with your public SSH key. To add multiple keys, simply repeat the statement as shown above.
To automatically connect to a Wi-Fi network, use the
write_files: statement to create iwd network configuration files in the correct directory. For example:
#cloud-config users: - name: root ssh_authorized_keys: - ssh-ed25519 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX - ssh-ed25519 YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY write_files: - content: | [Security] PreSharedKey=aafb192ce2da24d8c7805c956136f45dd612103f086034c402ed266355297295 path: /var/lib/iwd/spaceship.psk runcmd: - systemctl restart iwd.service
Once both files are created they need to be placed on a drive with an ISO 9660 or FAT volume labeled
Using an additional FAT formatted drive
Use a FAT formatted drive. Copy
user-data to the drive and change the file system's LABEL to
You will need to attach this drive to the headless machine in addition to the one with the official ISO.
Using an additional ISO
cloud-init.iso file using xorriso from libisoburn:
$ xorrisofs -output cloud-init.iso -volid CIDATA -joliet -rational-rock meta-data user-data
Prepare the cloud-init data medium by burning
cloud-init.iso to an optical disc or, if deployment options permit, use the ISO as is.
Using a single USB flash drive
If the installation image is written to e.g. a USB flash drive, provided there is enough space on the drive, an additional partition to house cloud-init data can be created.
Install dosfstools, mtools and libisoburn.
First create a FAT image with its LABEL set to
$ mkfs.fat -C -n CIDATA cloud-init.img 2048
user-data files to the root of it:
$ mcopy -i cloud-init.img meta-data user-data ::
Repack the official ISO to include the FAT image as a third partition:
$ xorriso -indev archlinux-version-x86_64.iso -outdev archlinux-version-x86_64-with-cidata.iso -append_partition 3 0x0c cloud-init.img -boot_image any replay
Finally follow USB flash installation medium#Using the ISO as is (BIOS and UEFI) to prepare the USB flash drive installation medium using the repacked ISO (
Using a single custom-built ISO
Alternatively, create a custom ISO using Archiso. This allows using only one drive regardless of type.
Use the releng profile as basis. Place the cloud-init configuration files in
airootfs/var/lib/cloud/seed/nocloud/ and build the ISO.
Boot from the installation medium
Once finished, deploy the installation medium and the cloud-init data medium (if it is separate) to the headless machine using the appropriate method.
Power up the headless machine and boot into a live Arch environment from the installation medium. Wait for a minute or so to allow the headless machine time to boot up and connect to the network.
From your existing machine (with keyboard and display) SSH into the live Arch environment on the headless server and complete the installation as described in the Installation guide.