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.