Connecting to a server that runs on Linux for the first time may seem confusing, especially if you’re more familiar to Windows. When connecting to a Linux or UNIX based server, a protocol called SSH (Secured Shell) is used. It allows you to connect to your server and manage it remotely. Most UNIX-based OS already have an SSH client built-in. Windows on the other hand, does not. Though Windows doesn’t have a built-in SSH protocol, there are different ways to connect to a Linux server on Windows. Like connecting to SSH Via PuTTY.
There is a popular freeware SSH client for Windows called PuTTY. It is a free software application for Windows which can be used to make an SSH connection to your server. In this article, I’ll explain how to obtain, and start using it.
1. Downloading PuTTY
PuTTY can be downloaded from its official site. The page contains download links for the latest released version. When new releases come out, this page will update to contain the latest, so this is a good page to bookmark or link to.
Look for the “Windows Installer” or “MSI” section and download PuTTY. There’s an installer on both 32-bit and 64-bit computer. Just keep clicking “next” till it’s finished.
2. Using PuTTY
After downloading PuTTY to your Windows computer, open it. A window will open where you will need to enter some information.
Connect to your server by simply providing your host name, and which port to connect to.
- Host name – It could be your server’s IP or simply your domain.
- Port – You can leave it blank or type 22. Port 22 is the default port for SSH to connect
Make sure that the connection is set to SSH. Then click ‘open’.
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3. Connect to your server
If this is the first time that you have used PuTTY to log in to your server with SSH, a warning similar to the following one is displayed:
The server’s host key is not cached in the registry. You have no guarantee that the server is the computer you think it is. The server’s rsa2 key fingerprint is: <string>. If you trust this host, hit Yes to add the key to PuTTY’s cache and carry on connecting. If you want to carry on connecting just once, without adding the key to the cache, hit No. If you do not trust this host, hit Cancel to abandon the connection.
If you trust that the Information you entered are correct, then click Yes. Subsequent connections will not show this warning because the host key is now cached in the registry of your local computer. You can expect to see that warning, however, if you connect to your server from a different computer.
Login: Enter your username and password
After accepting the warning, PuTTY will display a terminal that reads your servers command line, which I believe is Linux. If this is the first time that you are logging in to the server, you must log in as the root user.