Remotely accessing a server or a computer is a common practice and there are tools that allow us to control it through commands. If you want to access or connect to a remote SSH server we explain how to do it, what methods should you follow from Windows.
Secure Shell it is compatible with Windows, macOS or Linux and any user of these operating systems can execute commands to operate or use a remote computer.
What is SSH
SSH stands for Secure Shell and is a protocol whose purpose is to allow remote access to a server. We can remotely access a server ensuring that the information is fully encrypted. SSH allows us security thanks to the fact that it encrypts point-to-point connections. It allows us to connect to a PC remotely and control it, transfer files safely, run applications or manage keys, for example.
It is not the only or the first and there are other protocols such as FTP, which you will already know, or such as Telnet. But SSH or Secure Shell is an advance, arrived in 1995, or an improvement precisely of the latter, of Telnet, with some of the security advantages that we have already mentioned, encryption being the most important.
And what is OpenSSH?
You may find throughout these paragraphs that we are also talking about OpenSSH. What difference there are? Secure Shell or SSH is an open source project born in the mid-nineties but soon became part of a company that decided to commercialize it. Using its open source OpenSSH was born by users who “refused” this new system. They are the same, they allow us the same and the only thing that can differentiate both is that the first one offers us support but also has a cost.
For what do you use it?
Telnet is a protocol born in the sixties that was intended to establish remote connections between a server, computers, devices, etc. We can “interact” remotely by browsing between files and it works with commands. But it is not the only protocol and there are others, such as SSH, a more advanced version that came as a substitute.
For what do you use it? It allows us to make two computers have a secure, direct and encrypted connection over the Internet. It avoids attack problems thanks to the fact that the data is completely encrypted when we access the remote computer. We can make backup copies, transfer files, manage servers … You can use SSH to access your server, for example, if you have any type of content on it, such as movies, photographs, series.
How to connect to a remote server
We have two alternatives to connect to a remote SSH server: do it from Windows 10 itself (something that it allows since its update in 2017) or using programs dedicated to them, as is the case with PuTTy.
You can install the OpenSSH client from Windows 10 without installing anything “extra” or any specialized program. We explain how.
- Go to Windows 10 settings
- Open the Applications section
- Choose the first option from the menu on the left: Applications and Features
- Once on this screen, choose the “Optional features” section, as you can see in the following attached screenshot
When we have reached this screen we will have the option to see the optional features by default in the system or those that you have added before. But, in addition, it allows you to touch on the option “Add a feature”.
Tap on this button and we can see all the options and features that Windows offers us in Windows 10. Scroll to see all the options on the list and add those that correspond to “OpenSSH Client” and “” OpenSSH Server “ to finish the process.
Once you have used it, you will have to connect to the server from CMD or the Command Prompt, with nothing more than using a series of commands. You don’t have to use anything else or download anything.
- Open CMD on computer
- Write the command “ssh”
This will verify that the client is enabled.Once you have done it, you can use any of the following commands to connect to the server:
- ssh server_IP: port
- ssh user @ IP
Once you have connected you can now control the server from here using commands and without the need to have third-party software installed.
Specific programs: PuTTY
To connect to a remote server through the SSH protocol we can use an application called PuTTY. Is about an SSH client for Windows, free, which facilitates the process if all of the above has seemed too complex or simply if you are looking for a faster and easier option.
This free application is specifically designed to establish certain types of remote connections such as Telnet and SSH, among others, and that we can download at no cost from your main web page. PuTTY is a portable application that does not need installation, so once downloaded, just run it to see its main connection window.
As we can see, the first window that will appear will be the quick connection to the remote server. In this window we simply have to configure 3 sections:
- IP address or remote domain of the server to which we are going to connect.
- Port that we will use for the connection (configured on the server)
- Protocol to use.
PuTTY is not just an SSH client, it also allows connections to other protocols such as Telnet, Raw, Rlogin and Serial, so it will also help us to make this type of connection. In our case, as we are going to make an SSH connection, we will mark this protocol.
We will click on the Open button and a terminal will open that will establish the connection. Once established, it will ask us for the user with whom we want to identify ourselves.
We enter the user, and when requested, its corresponding password. After a few seconds we will be inside.
We can already start use remote SSH connection.
When we want to close the session we simply write “exit” and close the window. PuTTY also has other additional more advanced configuration options, but it is not advisable to modify them if we do not know exactly what we are doing since we can leave the client without connectivity or reduce security by violating our communication.
Alternatives to PuTTY
That it is the best known or one of the most recommended usually does not imply that it is the only one. There is more, alternatives to PuTTY and even more modern than this. You can download clients like KiTTY, for example.
You can download KiTTY for free and has all the options and features of the previous one but, in addition, it has some additional functions. It is very similar and was created with the source code of the previous one so it will not cost you much to use it if you do not like or convince the other one.
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