All Projects → lobbyboy-ssh → lobbyboy

lobbyboy-ssh / lobbyboy

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A lobby boy will create a VPS server when you need one, and destroy it after using it.

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What is a lobby boy? A lobby boy is completely invisible, yet always in sight. A lobby boy remembers what people hate. A lobby boy anticipates the client's needs before the needs are needed. A lobby boy is, above all, discreet to a fault.

--The Grand Budapest Hotel status Test

PyPI version Python version codecov

This project is still under testing, it worked but may have bugs.

What is lobbyboy?

Well, lobbyboy is a ssh server. Yes, like sshd. But instead of spawn a new shell on the server like sshd, when you ssh to lobbyboy, lobbyboy will create a new server(VPS) from available providers(meaning to say, DigitalOcean, AWS, GCP, Vultr, etc), then redirect you to the newly created servers. Of course, if lobbyboy finds any servers available already, he will just ask if you want to enter the existing server, or still want to create a new one.

Key Features

  • talks in SSH2 protocol, no need to install any software of configs for client-side, just ssh to lobbyboy!
  • extendable provider: just implement 3 methods, then lobbyboy can work with any provider!
  • destroy the server when you no longer needed.
  • manage ssh keys for you


Install libkrb5-dev first, this is a dependency for gssapi support.

apt install libkrb5-dev

Install via pip:

pip install lobbyboy

Run server

First, generate a config file:

lobbyboy-config-example > config.toml
# Edit your config before running!

Run the server with:

lobbyboy-server -c config.toml

You can ssh to Lobbyboy now, if you keep the default user Gustave in default config. You can ssh to Lobbyboy via:

ssh [email protected] -p 12200
# Enter the default password "Fiennes"(without quotes)
Welcome to Lobbyboy 0.2.2!
There are 1 available servers:
  0 - Create a new server...
  1 - Enter vagrant lobbyboy-41 (0 active sessions)
Please input your choice (number):

You may want to change the password in config.toml or use a public key for authentication. The latter is recommended in a production environment.

Generate a key pair for authentication

Generate a key pair:

ssh-keygen -f lobbyboy_key

Add the content of to the end of authorized_keys under [user.Gustave] table. Now you can ssh to the lobbyboy server via:

ssh [email protected] -i lobbyboy_key


Lobbyboy is supposed to be a server daemon, so you can manage it by systemd/supervisord or put it into a docker.

Systemd Example

Description=Lobbyboy Server

ExecStart=/path/to/lobbyboy-server -c /path/to/lobbyboy/config.toml


Run in Docker

# Generate a config file
docker run --rm lobbyboy-config-example > lobbyboy_config.toml
# Run the docker container
docker run -v `pwd`/lobbyboy_config.toml:/app/config.toml -p "12200:12200" -d

The lobbyboy server should be active on 12200 port and you can connect to it with

ssh [email protected] -p 12200

The default password for user Gustave is Fiennes. Please change it when you deployed it into production, and consider use ssh key to auth instead of password.


// TBD

Builtin Providers

Lobbyboy current support multiple Providers:

  • Vagrant (Need vagrant and virtualbox to be installed)
  • Footlosse, in another words, containers (Need footloose and docker to be installed)
  • DigitalOcean
  • Linode
  • Ignite (Runs Firecracker VM)
  • multipass

Different Providers support different configs, please see the example config for more detail.

Vagrant Provider

Vagrant Provider won't cost you any money, vagrant is a software runs on your computer along with virtual machine providers, vagrant can provision and control your VM.

This provider can help you to create a new Vagrant instance when you login to Lobbyboy, and destroy the server when you no longer use it.

Supported Features:

  • Create new Vagrant instances
  • You can configure your VM via vagrantfile config (see the config example).

Footloose Provider

footloose can make your docker containers(or Firecracker with ignite) act like virtual machine, so you can ssh to it.

Supported feature:

  • Configurable base image
  • Create a docker container and redirect you in

DigitalOcean Provider

This Provider will create Droplet from DigitalOcean.

Supported Features:

  • Create a new ssh key every time create a droplet.
  • Ask user to input region/droplet size/image when creating.
  • User can save favorite Droplet region/size/image in configs to quick create.
  • Destroy droplet when it is not in use.

Linode Provider

This Provider will create Node from Linode.

Supported Features:

  • Create a new ssh key every time create a droplet.
  • Ask user to input region/node type/image when creating.
  • User can save favorite node region/type/image in configs to quick create.
  • Destroy node when it is not in use.

Please see configs to check available options.

Ignite(Firecracker) Provider

Supported Features:

  • Create a new Firecracker virtual machine
  • Destroy node when it is not in use.

Multipass Provider

Supported Features:

  • Create a new virtual machine
  • Destroy node when it is not in use.

Write Your Own Providers

Providers are VPS vendors, by writing new providers, lobbyboy can work with any VPS vendors.

To make a new Provider work, you need to extend base class `lobbyboy.provider.BaseProvider``, implement 2 methods:

    def is_available(self) -> bool:
        Override this method to check for requirements of this provider

            bool: True if this provider is available, False to disable it
        return True

    def create_server(self, channel: Channel) -> LBServerMeta:
            channel: paramiko channel

            LBServerMeta: server meta info

    def destroy_server(self, meta: LBServerMeta, channel: Channel = None) -> bool:
            meta: LBServerMeta, we use this to locate one server then destroy it.
            channel: Note that the channel can be None.
                     If called from server_killer, channel will be None.
                     if called when user logout from server, channel is active.

            bool: True if destroy successfully, False if not.

Then add your Provider to your config file.

Those 3 configs are obligatory, as lobbyboy has to know when should he destroy your spare servers. You can add more configs, and read them from self.provider_config from code, just remember to add docs about it :)

[provider.<your provider name>]
load_module = "lobbyboy.contrib.provider.<your provider module name>::<Provider Class>"
min_life_to_live = "1h"
bill_time_unit = "1h"

Publish Your Own Providers

// TBD


Q: Can I use lobbyboy as a proxy, like adding it to my ProxyCommand in ssh config?

A: No. Lobbyboy works like a reverse proxy, meaning to say, for ssh client, it just like a ssh server(sshd maybe), ssh client get a shell from lobbyboy, and doesn't know if it is local shell or it is a nested shell which runs another ssh. (but you know it, right? :D )

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