Does Python Script Stop if SSH Server Closes Terminal?

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I am currently running AutoGPT, a Python script, on an EC2 server via ssh. When my terminal closes the SSH session, I wondered: Does the Python terminate as well or does it run in the background?

Here’s the short answer:

When the SSH server closes the session, the active Python script running in the terminal also terminates. To keep it alive, you have several options, such as running it in the background using the ‘&‘ symbol after the Python command to run the script:

python3 /path/to/your_script.py &

Note you may also be interested in this tutorial that has offered me an alternative solution to this exact same problem:

πŸ’‘ Recommended: Keep SSH Session Alive

Let’s slowly build some background knowledge and gain more insights on alternative solutions to this problem next, shall we? πŸ‘‡

Understanding SSH and Terminal

In this section, we will explore the concepts of SSH and Terminal, which play a crucial role in managing remote servers and executing Python scripts. Let’s dive into the details of the SSH protocol and terminal basics. 😊

SSH Protocol

SSH, or Secure Shell, is a cryptographic network protocol commonly used for securely accessing and managing remote systems over an unsecured network.

One of its primary use cases is to remotely execute commands on a server through a secure channel, ensuring data confidentiality and integrity during communication. SSH also enables secure file transfer, tunneling, and remote access to network services 🌐.

Terminal Basics

πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Terminals, also known as command line interfaces or consoles, are interface windows that allow users to input commands to run processes or interact with a computer system.

When using SSH, you typically access a remote server’s terminal through an SSH client, which facilitates secure communication between your local machine and the remote server πŸ”’.

While running Python scripts on a remote server, it is essential to understand how closing the terminal during an active SSH session may impact the script’s execution.

In general, when you close a terminal, the processes initiated in that terminal are terminated ⚠️.

However, there are ways to keep your Python script running even after logging off the SSH session or closing the terminal, such as using nohup or screen commands, which we will explore later in the article. Stay tuned! πŸ˜‰

Python Scripts Running in the Background

When running Python scripts on a server through an SSH connection, one might wonder if the script will stop executing when the terminal is closed.☁️

Thankfully, there are ways to keep those Python scripts running even after closing the terminal. In this section, we’ll explore two popular techniques: using Screen and Tmux. These powerful tools will help keep your scripts running smoothly in the background.πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ

Using Screen

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Screen#/media/File:Gnuscreen.png

Screen is a program that allows you to run multiple terminal sessions within a single window. This is particularly useful for running scripts in the background, as it enables you to detach a session at any time and reattach it later, even after closing the terminal.

To get started, simply follow these steps:

  1. Install Screen (if not already installed) using your package manager, such as apt-get install screen or yum install screen.
  2. Create a new Screen session using the command screen. A new terminal window will appear.
  3. From within the Screen session, run your Python script using python your_script.py.
  4. Detach the Screen session by pressing Ctrl + A followed by D. Your Python script will continue to run in the background.
  5. To reattach to the session later, use the command screen -r.

Voila! You’ve now successfully set up your Python script to run in the background using Screen.πŸ‘

Using Tmux

Image Source: https://github.com/tmux/tmux/wiki/Getting-Started

Another great alternative to Screen is Tmux, which is also a terminal multiplexer that allows you to run and manage multiple terminal sessions in one window.

Here’s a quick guide to set up Tmux and have your Python script running in the background:

  1. Install Tmux using your package manager, such as apt-get install tmux or yum install tmux.
  2. Create a new Tmux session using the command tmux. A new terminal window will appear with a status bar at the bottom.
  3. Run your Python script within the Tmux session using python your_script.py.
  4. Detach the Tmux session by pressing Ctrl + B followed by D. Your Python script will continue to run in the background.
  5. To reattach to the session later, use the command tmux attach.

There you have it! Your Python script is now running in the background with Tmux.😎

How Closing a Terminal Affects a Python Script

In this section, we will discuss how closing a terminal while running a Python script on a remote server via SSH affects the execution of the script. Let’s dive into it! πŸ˜ƒ

Process Termination

When you close the terminal during an SSH session, the Python script running in the background might be terminated by default. This is because the shell sends a SIGHUP (hangup signal) to the running process upon closing the terminal, causing it to terminate 🚫. You can find more information about this behavior in this source.

Preventing Script Interruption

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent script interruption when closing a terminal during an SSH session. One popular method is using the ‘nohup’ command, which makes the script immune to the SIGHUP signal, allowing it to continue running even after the terminal is closed βœ…. To use ‘nohup’ with your Python script, you can run the following command:

nohup python /path/to/your_script.py &

My Personal Favorite 🀩

Another option to keep the script running in the background is to use the ‘&’ symbol after the command, like this:

python3 /path/to/your_script.py &

Running the command this way will keep the program running in the background even after closing the terminal.


By using these methods, you can ensure that your Python script continues to run smoothly in the background despite closing the associated terminal. Now you can confidently work on your remote server without worrying about your script being interrupted πŸŽ‰. Enjoy!

Alternative Ways to Run Python Scripts

If you’re worried about your Python script stopping when closing the terminal from an SSH session on a server, there are alternative ways to keep the script running even after closing the terminal. In this section, we’ll discuss two methods: using NoHup and running scripts as services. πŸ› οΈ

Using NoHup

NoHup (short for “no hang-up”) is a command that enables you to run your Python script in the background, and it will continue to run even after the terminal is closed. To use NoHup, simply add the prefix nohup before your Python script command, followed by &:

nohup python3 your_script.py &

By running the script this way, the output will be saved to a file named nohup.out in the current directory. If you wish to redirect the output to another file, you can use the following command:

nohup python3 your_script.py &> output.log &

With NoHup, you can be assured that your Python script will keep running, even if you close the terminal or lose the SSH connection. πŸš€

Running Scripts as Services

Another effective method to keep Python scripts running after closing the terminal is to configure them as system services. This can be done using tools such as Systemd on Linux operating systems.

Let’s see a brief example of configuring a Python script as a service using Systemd:

  1. Create a service file, say your_script.service, in the /etc/systemd/system/ directory.
  2. Edit the file with the following content, adjusting the paths and user as needed: [Unit] Description=Your Python Script Service [Service] ExecStart=/usr/bin/python3 /path/to/your_script.py Restart=always User=your_username [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target
  3. Enable and start the service using the following commands: sudo systemctl enable your_script.service sudo systemctl start your_script.service

Once the service is enabled and started, your Python script will run in the background as a service even after closing the terminal. Furthermore, it can also be set to start automatically when the system boots. πŸ”„

In summary, using NoHup and configuring your Python scripts as services can help to keep them running continuously, allowing you to close the terminal or SSH session on a server without worrying about stopping the scripts. 😊


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