Setup code-server for remote access

Linux Ubuntu 18.04/20.04 tested


$ mkdir ~/code-server && cd ~/code-server

From official github releases page of code-server pick the latest Linux build (the file will contain ‘linux’ in its name).

$ wget
$ tar -xzvf code-server-3.2.0-linux-x86_64.tar.gz

Copy it to /usr/lib/code-server so you’ll be able to access it system wide by running the following command:

$ sudo cp -r code-server-3.2.0-linux-x86_64 /usr/lib/code-server

Then, create a symbolic link at /usr/bin/code-server, pointing to the code-server executable:

$ sudo ln -s /usr/lib/code-server/code-server /usr/bin/code-server

Next, create a folder for code-server, where it will store user data:

$ sudo mkdir /var/lib/code-server

Create code-server.service to run in background with the following commands:

$ sudo nano /lib/systemd/system/code-server.service

Add the following lines:


ExecStart=/usr/bin/code-server --bind-addr --user-data-dir /var/lib/code-server --auth password


Start the code-server service by running the following command:

$ sudo systemctl start code-server

Check that it’s started correctly by observing its status:

$ sudo systemctl status code-server

To make code-server start automatically after a server reboot, enable its service by running the following command:

$ sudo systemctl enable code-server

Make sure nginx installed. As you have learned in the Nginx prerequisite step, its site configuration files are stored under /etc/nginx/sites-available and must later be symlinked to /etc/nginx/sites-enabled to become active.

You’ll store the configuration for exposing code-server at your domain in a file named code-server.conf, under /etc/nginx/sites-available. Start off by creating it using your editor:

$ sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/code-server.conf

Add following:

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;

    server_name code-server.your-domain;

    location / {
      proxy_pass http://localhost:8080/;
      proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
      proxy_set_header Connection upgrade;
      proxy_set_header Accept-Encoding gzip;

To make this site configuration active, you will need to create a symlink of it in the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled folder by running:

$ sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/code-server.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/code-server.conf

To test the validity of the configuration, run the following command:

$ sudo nginx -t

For the configuration to take effect, you’ll need to restart Nginx:

$ sudo systemctl restart nginx

Setup certificate with cerbot:

$ sudo apt install python3-certbot-nginx
$ sudo ufw allow https
$ sudo ufw reload

And finally:

$ sudo certbot --nginx -d code-server.your-domain