Web Hosting Hub now allows customers to connect to their accounts through Secure Shell. This allows remote command line access to the web hosting server and is very helpful. For instance, it helps in speeding up certain tasks or even allows us to perform tasks that are not possible to be done within the cPanel interface.
Shell Access is commonly referred to as SSH (Secured SHell). SSH is a remote command line access to a web server. SSH is a program to log into another computer/server over a network securely. It provides strong authentication and secure communications over insecure channels. Our login, commands and text are all encrypted when using SSH. In layman terms, SSH is a protocol that helps us to connect to the web server and manage it.
SSH access allows us to log in to our web hosting account and use UNIX/Linux command line instructions to manage our website. This allows us to compress/decompress files, automate backups and other tasks (cron jobs) – including b2evolution’s scheduled tasks like change file permissions for complete directory structures, edit hidden/system files such as .htaccess, use git, grunt, npm, etc in an easy way.
SSH allows remote command line login into a server. It is a successor to the antiquated telnet which wasn’t very secure. With SSH, on the contrary, all data transmitted between the computer and the server is heavily encrypted in order to prevent password or other sensitive data sniffing. In other words, SSH provides a secure communication channel, even if the network that we use to connect is unsecure.
There are two major versions:
Majority of the hosting companies support SSH-2. This is because SSH-2 offers enhanced security.
The Terminal/SSH – Client software is essential in order to use SSH. These software are generally available for the following Operating Systems:
- Mac OS X
Steps to Enable SSH in Site Tools:
SSH can be accessed from the Site Tools > Devs > SSH Keys Manager
- Once this tool is opened, we can generate a new pair of SSH keys. These keys are needed in order to configure an SSH connection from our local computer to the server for enabling the web hosting. In general, the public key is saved on the web server and the private key has to be inserted in the local SSH software.
- A key name and a random passphrase, say password or a chosen one should be filled in. This is needed to establish an SSH connection. Here, an account is created.
- If a SSH pair is already available, it can be Imported from the Import tab by directly pasting the public key in the Public Key text window, entering a Key Name and then clicking on Import.
- The details for the allowed SSH connection can be viewed in the Manage SSH keys section.
- You can check the Key Name and the allowed IPs. From the menu for the corresponding SSH key, you can check the SSH Credentials, manage the allowed IP addresses, check the private key and change the key name or there is also an option to delete the SSH key.
- By clicking on the Private Key link, the RSA Private Key will be opened. This is required in the client’s SSH software in order to proceed with the SSH connection.
The public and private keys are like a puzzle. They are created together for use during the login/authentication process. The public key resides on the web server in remote location. The private key resides locally on our computer/the server. When a login is attempted from a server, the private key and the public key are compared and a login to the server location is possible only if the keys match.