A Basic SSH Connection Guide

SSH (Secure Shell) is one of the most important tools on a dedicated server. It gives you remote access to your server’s command line, making it easy to take advantage of powerful tools only your server’s shell can offer. There are numerous ways to connect via SSH, since you can use it to tunnel other protocols, but not all operating systems approach it the exact same way. This is a basic guide to help you connect from any computer or device.

1. Linux – Since desktop environments vary widely for Linux distributions, your terminal may have any of a variety of names: Gnome Terminal, Konsole, XFCE Terminal, or even Xterm. Start the one you can find, usually in the “System” or “Utilities” menu, and type the following to connect:

ssh -l your-username yourserver-or-ip.com

2. Mac OS X – Being a Unix-like operating system gives MAC OS X the advantage of having several server tools built right into it. Therefore, you do not need any extra software to connect to your server’s shell. First, open Finder. Then, open the “Utilities” folder. Next, double-click “Terminal”. This will open the only tool you need to manage your server. Use the normal SSH command to connect:

ssh -l your-username yourserver-or-ip.com

3. Windows – Unlike Linux and Mac OS X, Windows is not based on Unix and does not have an SSH client. You can, however, download a free one like PuTTY, which includes an easy graphical connection dialog. To connect with PuTTY, start the program and enter the host name. For connection type, choose SSH. If you want, you can save the session for future access. Next, click “Open”, and it will prompt you for the username and then the password.

There are other ways to connect to SSH. Some phones such as the iPhone and Android-based phones offer SSH or terminal apps. With SSH you manage your server no matter where you are.