SSH How To

How to Access Computer Science Department Servers

This section is provided for those persons who have never connected to a Unix-based server before. The primary method used is a protocol called Secure Shell or SSH.

Note: If you have connected to Linprog servers before, and if you are now having trouble logging in, it may be that you need to clear old cached security certificates. See the Linprog Certificates entry for help.

Linux or MacOS

Computers running MacOS and most distributions of Linux include a secure shell command-line program already. (Try opening a terminal window and typing ‘ssh‘.) You don’t need to download or install any additional software. (If your distribution of Linux did not include the ssh program by default, search for the ‘OpenSSH’ package with your distribution’s package manager.)

If you’re trying to create your CompSci account, use the following command-line:

  • ssh

Once you have created your account, replace newacct with your own CS account name.


We recommend Bitvise. It has SSH client edition and SSH server edition. You will need SSH client edition to connect to CS servers. The client contains SSH shell, GUI sftp interface, and other tools like remote desktop, ftp-to-sftp bridge.

Another option is PuTTY. PuTTY is an established free program providing secure shell in a Windows environment.

Important: When using Putty.exe, change “Session” setting “Close window on exit:” from default “Always” to “Never”.

If you want multi-tab ssh client, try PuTTY Noodle.

For copying files securely to or from CS department servers, please use Bitvise sftp interface.

First Connection

When you connect to a new server for the first time, your SSH client may prompt you to save the identity information of the server for future connections. Should the server identity certificate change, your client may warn you about the change and prevent you from connecting. If you want to verify the identity of the server, you can compare the key fingerprints of our most common servers. If the server’s identity has changed (because of software or security upgrades), you may have to clear your certificate cache.

Next Steps

Now you can move on to the next part of the tutorial, Creating a CS account.