Secure Shell (SSH): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Note: SSH is an network protocol used to connect to remote systems. To "SSH" is to establish a command line session with a remote computer, such as the Nobel Unix cluster at Princeton. Most operating systems such as Mac OS X and Unix come with a built-in program that uses this protocol.

SSH clients support terminal sessions and file transfer sessions. The primary advantage of the SSH protocol is that all communications are encrypted, including your password. Other advantages of SSH can include instant validation (as opposed to having to type in your netID and password every time) and port forwarding.

You can only open terminal sessions to OIT-managed servers with SSH or Secure FTP.

Important! New Unix accounts are set up with a default Unix shell of /bin/bash. If you wish to change your default Shell for your Unix account, simply change this option by using the Enable Unix Account page.

Mac OS X computers
Mac OS X has a built-in SSH client. To connect to your Unix account, use the Terminal utility and type the following: ssh

Unix computers
To connect to your Unix account, type the following: ssh

Windows Computers
Will require downloading and installing an SSH client to your computer. 

PuTTY is a widely used SSH client which can be downloaded at Download PuTTY: latest release (0.76) ( Documentation for using PuTTY can also be found on the download site.

For users of PowerShell in Windows 10 and above, PowerShell can be used to install an OpenSSH client. Details can be found at Get started with OpenSSH | Microsoft Docs