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Using SSH to log in

Overview

Just as a butterfly emerges from its coccoon to explore the great wonders of the world, you, too, will also uncover the great wonders of Linux with the SRCF by your side. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to log in to a UNIX-like shell and use the basics of the command line.

Background

Much of the functionality offered by the SRCF is accessible via a text-mode ‘shell’ interface on our server — using this interface you can manipulate files on your website directly, as well as running other programs such as email software. When you get an SRCF account, you can connect to the server and issue commands by typing them. If you’re not used to this, don’t worry — it’s much less primitive than it sounds and very powerful!

Because you are remotely accessing our servers, as opposed to your own computer, we will need a communication protocol. The most widely used one is called SSH, secure shell protocol.

Logging in

Linux or macOS

If you’re running a Unix-based computer (including macOS) then logging in is easy as it’s built into the system:

  1. Start your terminal
  2. Type in ssh <username>@shell.srcf.net
  3. Enter your password when prompted

Windows

If you’re running a system without a native console, such as MS Windows, then things are slightly trickier. Not much though, you just have to go and get a console program. We recommend the PuTTY application, downloadable for free here.

Once downloaded,

  1. Run PuTTY
  2. Enter the server name as shell.srcf.net, the protocol as SSH (port 22) and click to connect
  3. Enter your username and SRCF password when prompted

First steps

Now you’re in! Let’s see what this terminal is capable of!

Try running ls. You should see a bunch of text printed in the terminal. These are your directories and files. By default, you start out in your home directory once you log in. The absolute path is /home/CRSid. You should, at minimum, see a public_html folder. As you may have already discovered ls stands for list! You can pass in additional flags to change its output: ls -la.

Now, try runnng pwd. This stands for print working directory. Think of this as a street sign. Right now, you’re somewhere in the middle of complex and multi-layered file system on our shell server, which happens to be your home directory. pwd tells you where you are in this organized mess!

The last command we’ll try is cd public_html. This changes your directory to public_html. You’re now on a different street!

The public_html directory is special. Any content placed here will be served by our web server, Apache. Check out the tutorials to learn what to do

If you’re interested in what else you can do with the shell, check out our more advanced tutorial.

Closing remarks

Did you like this or find this cool? We invite you to check out more tutorials or get in touch to tell us what you thought!

If you have any suggestions for how we could improve this documentation please send us an email at support@srcf.net or submit a Pull Request on GitHub!


Last modified on Tuesday Jul 13, 2021 by Charlie Jonas