Raspberry Pi Headless

Created: Setting up WiFi and SSH on a Raspberry PI Headlessly

Updated: 03 September 2023

Get the OS Ready

To setup a headless Pi you need to do the following:

  1. Download the Raspberry Pi Imager
  2. Download the OS you want (You can find them here)
  3. Apply the downloaded image to an SD Card using the imager

Configure WiFi


With Raspberry Pi Imager

Information on using th Raspberry Pi Imager advanced options can be found on the Raspberry Pi website

Using Raspberry Pi Imager, you can click on the advanced options icon (cog) at the bottom right of the UI or type ctrl + shift + x to open the menu. In this menu be sure to configure the following options

  • Enable SSH
  • WiFi SSID and Password
  • Optional: Change Username and Password
  • Optional: Set Hostname

Without Raspberry Pi Imager

Since you won’t be able to interact with the Pi (because it’s headless) you will want to configure the WiFi if you will be using it through that

Setup WiFi

Create a wpa_supplicant.conf in your Pi’s root directory in your SD Card, this will be copied to the correct place when starting up. The file should have the following contents:


ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
country=<Insert 2 letter ISO 3166-1 country code here>

 ssid="<Name of your wireless LAN>"
 psk="<Password for your wireless LAN>"

Enable SSH


Next, you will want to configure SSH, you just need to add an empty file named ssh to the filesystem directory, note that when you SSH in later, the default username is pi and the password is raspberry

You can wait a few minutes and try to reach the pi with ping rasberrypi.local, if this responds then you can possibly just skip the IP stuff if you don’t need it to be static and you can SSH with:

ssh pi@raspberrypi.local

If you’re not able to do so you may need to look around and try to find the IP some other way

Get the PI IP


  1. Get your current PC’s IP
  2. Run sudo nmap -sn <YOUR IP>/24 (linux) or arp -a (windows) to view the IP’s of devices on your network
  3. Check if any have the hostname raspberrypi and check the IP. If none of them have the hostname just wing it and try a few, idk.
  4. Next use ssh pi@<RaspberryPi IP> and log in with the password raspberry

Once you’re logged in, the device will prompt you to change the password, you can do this from the Pi’s config. To open the config menu run:

sudo raspi-config

And then select the first option to Change User Password

Make the IP Static

Some Instructions

  1. From your Pi, run the following command:
sudo nano /etc/dhcpcd.conf

And edit/uncomment the Example Static IP Configuration, the only important thing to do here is to set the interface to be wlan0 and set the ip_address to the IP you want to use, everything else doesn’t really matter too much and can likely stay as-is

interface wlan0
static ip_address=<IP Address>/24
static ip6_address=<IPv6 Address>/64
static routers=
static domain_name_servers= fd51:42f8:caae:d92e::1

Then quit and save, now that you’ve set the IP, you can reboot your Pi with:

sudo reboot

And then SSH using your new IP Address that you assigned above. This is to ensure that you can always find the Pi on your network easily. You will now be prompted to login - be sure to use the updated password that you configured

Add Node.js

Installing Node involves getting the installation script and running the script, you can do this by running the following command:

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_14.x | sudo -E bash -


sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

Finally, you can check the version with:

node --version
npm --version

Add Yarn

Similar to Node, you need to install Yarn using a setup script:

curl -sS https://dl.yarnpkg.com/debian/pubkey.gpg | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb https://dl.yarnpkg.com/debian/ stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list

And then:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install yarn