SSH: Connect to Your Server From Anywhere

One of the best ways to connect to a server of any type is through SSH. SSH is a secure shell, and will remind most people with a Windows background of DOS or the command-line environment. It can be a little strange to navigate at first, as many of us have become so comfortable with the point and click GUI operating systems, but connecting via SSH is fast, effective, and powerful. It is considered so powerful by many web hosts, that they don’t enable it by default, preferring to only give access to SSH to those that request it by name.

One of the best things about SSH, you can connect from nearly anything that has an Internet connection. On Windows, you’ll want to use PuTTY, or one of the million alternative tools for connecting via SSH. On the Mac, you can just use Terminal, and on your iPod Touch or iPhone, you can use TouchTerm, or one of the alternatives.

SSH access will allow you to move files, change file permissions, upgrade software, and depending on the access level your account has, even reconfigure, and restart your server.

For some people, SSH might seem like a step backwards, and a simple FTP program can do many of the normal, user-level file management stuff, but if you go beyond that, it can be a huge time saver for people, especially mixed with some bash scripting.

So if you don’t have SSH access to your web hosting server, it might be time to look somewhere else and dive in. The advantages over FTP are numerous, and the skills you will learn in getting back to the command line in dealing with your server are skills worth having.

Do you have a favorite SSH application, or a tip that everyone should know when it comes to connecting via SSH? Let us know in the comments below.

  1. By Bert posted on April 2, 2009 at 1:49 pm
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    Dude, your posts get more pointless everytime I read one. Why don’t you push out less posts of higher quality? This is just useless content in an otherwise nice and interesting web site.

  2. By Lorraine Nepomuceno posted on April 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm
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    Although I’m by no means an expert, I love SSH-ing into our servers. It’s powerful, and sometimes is the only way to get a job done “cleanly”- if that makes any sense. I’m on a Mac so I always use Terminal.

  3. By Andrew Odri posted on April 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm
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    The one tip I would give is install (if it isn’t there already) screen on your server.

    One big benefit is that it allows you to have multiple shells running, and rotate between them. So for example, while you are waiting for some software to download in one shell, you can switch to another and continue hacking away at some code.

    Another benefit is that all the shells you have open can be saved when you log out, and resumed when you log in next. So when you are working on a bad connection, or if you have few different shells on the go and want to pick it all up later, it is super useful.

  4. By Binny V A posted on April 2, 2009 at 6:14 pm
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    Tip 1: Use ‘screen’ – Andrew already pointed this out.
    Tip 2: Create keys and make your logins password-less.
    Tip 3: Use Konqueror to connect to other Linux systems using SSH

  5. By David posted on April 3, 2009 at 3:15 am
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    Bert – feel free to submit your work, or apply for a position here to help “improve” our content.

    Everyone else – I’ve always used multiple shells without issue, but have never saved a session, a very cool idea to help do things effectively.

    It is amazing the things that people have done over SSH ports and tunneling. Thanks to everyone else that has commented so far.

  6. By Portland Web Hosting posted on April 3, 2009 at 4:00 am
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    Putty is a great tool for SSH. once you get the commands down, it makes managing servers a breeze. No guis to load, no waiting.

    Plus lots of good features with SSH that let you do advanced web hosting stuff.

  7. By saeed posted on April 4, 2009 at 7:41 am
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    I am using WinSCP instead of butty.

    It uses Secure Shell (SSH) to Secure FTP.

    This tool has changed my life :)

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