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This document gives information about SSH, which is a way to remotely access Linux systems.


Why make the change?

We've made the decision to switch to SSH (Secure SHell) at as opposed to using telnet to access accounts. Here are a few of the reasons for this change:

  • SSH is an encrypted protocol. This means that all data sent over the network from your computer to the server and vice versa is encrypted.
  • The SSH protocol allows for many more options when logging into your account such as passphrase authentication, autologin, X forwarding, compression and more secure restrictions.
  • SSH is an established protocol that has been in use for several years. There are many mature clients available for Windows, Macintosh, Unix and other operating systems.
  • In order to make a more secure server, this change is nessecary as it helps to prevent others on the Internet from obtaining your login password.

This document will help to make the transition to SSH easier for you by explaining how to use the client on your computer.

Getting an SSH client


There are a few different options for using SSH under Windows. Probably the best program to use is SecureCRT by VanDyke, which is a commercial piece of software. However, most of the features that you'd be looking for in a SSH client can be found in the following programs:

  • PuTTY
  • AccuTerm
  • TeraTerm and the SSH extension (kinda old now though)

PuTTY is the most useful of the these programs because of it's simplicity, features and its open source. The PuTTY program consists of only one executable file and will fit on a floppy disk, so if you need to go some place where an SSH client is not available, you can always take a floppy disk with you. Also, if you ever don't have putty with you, you can easily find it using Just search for "putty". It is the first result that will come up.

Macintosh System 9 and lower

I only know of one SSH client for the Macintosh operating system. And that's Nifty Telnet SSH:

  • NiftyTelnet SSH

If anyone knows of any other usable SSH clients out there for the Macintosh, please let me know so that I can include them here.

Macintosh OS X

Mac OS X is pretty much a BSD unix based system, so you can use the directions in the next section.


I'd hope that I wouldn't have to explain how to get ssh for a unix system. But anyways, if you don't know where to get an ssh client, you should use openssh:

  • OpenSSH

Setting up SSH: After you've got a client

How your client program works will depend on the program and the operating system. But there are some things that you should know about the server side of the equation and general things about the client side.

You'll also want to use SSH version 2 protocol if possible, this is setup on the client program. Some of the older programs were written before SSHv2 was widely used, but you should still be able to use SSHv1. There is also more information available from the SSH Tutorial document in the documentation section.