I’m sure it happened to you, more than once: you run a command on a remote host, thinking it will finish in a few seconds. Unfortunately, after 5 minutes looking at your terminal and hoping for the command to be done soon, you realize that it will take hours. Obviously, it’s Friday afternoon and you had planned a trip for the weekend.

There are, I guess, two kind of persons in this situation:

  • the first group will most likely SIGINT the command and postpone it to Monday morning;
  • the second one will try to gracefully handle this situation by letting the command run and enjoying that well-deserved weekend trip.

You better leave here if you feel like you’re a first-group person 😉

In case you’d like to let the command run even after closing the SSH connection, there is a solution, that I experienced myself recently (on a pg_dump, to be precise):

  1. Send a SIGTSTP to the command by typing CTRL+Z in the terminal running your command. That will put the command in the background, in a “paused” state.
  2. Run the bg command. This will resume your paused command, and most importantly, will run it in the background. We’re getting close!
  3. Last, run the disown command. This will remove (or let’s say detach) your command from the shell session.

You can now safely exit, close your laptop and go 🚀!

Here is a 3-lines summary if you should already been gone:

$ bg
$ disown

Not too hard, right?

And please, next time, do yourself a favor: use nohup or screen before launching any remote command!