A Basic Guide to SSH Server Connections: Part 1

Many system administrators have taken a liking to web-based control panels to manage their dedicated servers. While a control panel certainly has its benefits in some situations, there are still some areas of server management where there is no substitute for having shell access. SSH allows you to remotely connect to your server’s shell, providing console-like command line access. What follows is a brief introduction to using SSH to connect to and manage your server.

To begin, you will need some type of SSH client. If you happen to run Linux or Mac OS X on your desktop, you probably already have SSH built into your system. To start it, simply open your terminal application. If you use Microsoft Windows, you will need to download a third-party app in order to use SSH. One of the most common Windows-based SSH clients is PuTTY, which is free and open source. To use it, simply download the binary or installer from the website and execute it.

In a terminal client, you will need to run the SSH command manually. To connect to a server, enter a command string like this:

ssh -l [username] [hostname-or-ip]

For example, if you want to connect to with the user name “bilbo”, you would type:

ssh -l bilbo

Once connected to the server, it will prompt you for the password. Type it and press enter. You should then receive your server’s command-line prompt.

In part 2 of this series, you will learn how to connect with PuTTY and some more command-line tips.