Secure Shell: Access your web space via SSH

“Our quest to showcase our rather hidden features continues: Have you ever managed your web space with command lines?” offers three ways to connect to your web space. If you’re new to websites and hosting our File Manager is the simplest solution. It includes basic features such as moving, editing, deleting or renaming files and folders. More complex operations can be handled best with an FTP or SFTP client such as FileZilla or Cyberduck. The third way, however, is relatively unknown:

SSH, or Secure Shell, is a protocol to connect to remote servers or computers. So far, so good. You can move and delete folders, edit files, it is encrypted by default – but here’s the twist: There is typically no graphical user interface. Instead, you authenticate yourself, browse and modify your web space with Unix-style commands. Let’s move to another folder:

cd /ssh_introduction/

Wikibooks offers a great introduction, to get you started. Afterwards, check our guide to see the features we support via SSH. Due to security reasons, not all commands are supported.

If you have a Professional package (or better) with us, you can easily enable SSH from your the control panel. Unlike Mac and Linux users who can just use their terminals, Windows users have to install a dedicated SSH client. The freeware PuTTY is generally considered the go-to choice.

What year is it again?

Considering our mission to make it as easy and intuitive for you to publish and manage your website, SSH might at first appear like a major step back. And there is a certain truth to it: The digitization has made huge leaps with the help of mobile devices that rely heavily on graphical interfaces.

However, in certain cases, it might be easier to enter one line of code instead of clicking and dragging an icon numerous times. As you’re getting more experienced, you will notice moving files from one web host to another is much easier and quicker if you know your way around the rsync command.

Some people prefer making a backup via phpMyAdmin, whereas others might be glad to use the mysqldump command.

In addition, some people are more drawn towards a graphical approach, whereas others consider a written command more logical. One thing is certain: It is good to have a choice, and provides it.

SSH, but with the bells and whistles

By the way: There is a graphical approach to SSH after all. The aforementioned SFTP access is actually based on SSH. SFTP is the encrypted alternative to FTP and we strongly recommend using it. It is also available to our customers with Starter packages at no additional cost.