Information Technology Services (ITS)


There will come a time when you will need access to a remote host over a secure connection. Maybe you need to manage the system from a command line or perform a file transfer from one site to another. The simplest and most secure way is via the Secure Shell (SSH) and Secure File Transfer(SFTP) protocols.

Both protocols use the same connectivity over the internet, but SSH provides a remote terminal while SFTP provides a means to move files between local and remote sites. However, tools for both are not indigenous to all operating systems and both often require third-party programs to complete the task. This is addressed in the sections that follow.

Secure Shell (SSH)


To create a secure terminal connection with another site, one need look no further than PuTTY. Download the program here.

Simply double-click the program and you’re off and running. Be sure to save the key fingerprint the first time you connect. Then enter the username and password when prompted. That’s it! You now have a secure remote connection to your host.

Putty Main Dialog

Enter the hostname in the text field and select the Open button. That’s it, you will now see local files on the left and the remote host file on the right. Dragging files and folders back and forth is a snap.

Mac and Linux

On a Mac or Linux platform, open a Terminal window and use something similar to the following:

$ ssh

Of course, you should substitute the host’s actual name for

Secure File Transfer (SFTP)

Step One: Download

The Windows version of Filezilla can be found here.

A Mac (Intel) version of Filezilla can be found here.

If you’re using Ubuntu Linux, you can simply type:

$ sudo apt-get install filezilla

Otherwise you are encouraged to get the version of Filezilla offered by your distribution. Failing that, there are versions for both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

Step Two: Run Filezilla

Once installed, run Filezilla. You will see a dialog similar to:

Filezilla main dialog

Along the top of the dialog box, you will see four text fields for inputting relevant connection data. Enter the hostname, username, password and 22 for the port. If this is the first time connecting, you should select the box that says Always trust this host and select OK.

Longer term, you may want to create a site using the Site Manager tool of Filezilla. Simply go to File/Site Manager from the main menu and fill out the relevant data for the site(s) you use most often.