How to Enable Rlogin on Linux

The rlogin and rsh are the remote login services provided by Linux. These services can be used to log in to a remote system and execute commands on it. Rlogin uses a hidden file called .rhosts that is present on the host machine. This file allows a machine to login without a password.

This tutorial describes how rlogin service can be enabled on a Linux machine to allow other machines to remote login to the system.

Enabling rlogin

The rlogin or rsh services are controlled by xinetd. Xinetd is a super daemon. Super daemon means that it manages other daemons or other services. Rlogin service is a xinetd managed service. It means that rlogin depends upon xinetd service. Thus, in order to enable or disable a service controlled by xinetd, we need to check the configuration of xinetd.

The configurations of services controlled by xinetd reside in '/etc/xinetd.d' directory. The configuration file for rlogin is '/etc/xinetd.d/rsh' or in some newer versions of Linux, it might be '/etc/xinetd.d/klogin' file.

The /etc/xinetd.d/klogin file looks like this:

# default: off
# description: The kerberized rlogin server accepts BSD-style rlogin sessions, \
# but uses Kerberos 5 authentication.
service klogin
flags = REUSE
socket_type = stream
wait = no
user = root
server = /usr/kerberos/sbin/klogind
server_args = -5
disable = yes

This service is disabled by default. To enable it, change the value of "disable" to "no". Now restart the xinetd service so that the changes are read by the xinetd daemon:

$ service xinetd restart
Stopping xinetd: [ OK ]
Starting xinetd: [ OK ]

That's all you need to enable rlogin. You can check with the following command:

$ rlogin
raghu@'s password:
Last login: Thu Nov 1 10:19:29 2012 from
$ ls

Now you can execute all the commands at the rlogin server at

You might also consider checking the iptables firewall setting at the server if you are not able to access the service.

In the ~/.rhosts file, the best permissions for this file is rw-------.

The client names stored in this file are full names such as ' jerry'

Rlogin send message in plain text, it's not a secure protocol.

In this tutorial, we have learned how to enable rlogin on Linux. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment.

4 Comments... add one

  1. Thank you for this useful information for setting up rlogin. Will it also work using /etc/host.equiv or only the ~/.rhosts method?

    • Should work with both, take not that you should use /etc/hosts.equiv on a system-wide basis and ~/.rhosts for the individual user.


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