SSH client software

Windows is the only commonly-used operating system that does not include a native SSH client. Windows users need to download SSH software separately (see below). Mac OS X and Unix/Linux users can run the SSH client from any terminal application.

Below are instructions on how to use SSH depending on the operating system or device you are using to connect.

See also: Comparison of SSH clients on Wikipedia

What information do I need to connect?

You'll need the following information to connect to your server:

  • Username
  • Password
  • Servername or website name

View the following article for details on how to locate this information.

Mac OS X

The simplest way to open terminal on OSX is to use the spotlight search. Press COMMAND (?) + SPACEBAR and then type the word terminal:

01 SSH MacOSX Spotlight terminal.fw.png

Once selected, the terminal screen opens:

SSH MacOSX OpenTerminal.fw.png

In terminal, enter your login command. If you're using your servername, the command looks like this:

[server]$ ssh

If you're using your website instead of the servername, the command looks like this:

[server]$ ssh

For example, here is a screenshot of a DreamHost user named 'user' connecting to a server named charles-pickney:

02 SSH MacOSX terminal connected.fw.png


Most distributions of Unix/Linux come with the OpenSSH package. Any terminal application (xterm, Konsole, and so on) can be used to initiate a secure shell. To log into your web server using SSH in a Unix/Linux environment, type the following into your shell terminal:

[server]$ ssh

Be sure to change ‘username’ to your SHELL user in the panel and change ‘’ to the domain you’re attempting to connect.

For logging in to a VPS, you would use the following format:

[server]$ ssh

For example, let’s say your VPS is named ps12345. Your login would then be as follows:

[server]$ ssh


Every windows SSH client has its own way to be installed and launched, but once you've set it up, there is no difference in further operations. However, each client is suited to specific (or general needs). So, you may wish to try more than one to see what works best for you. Here are a few options:

  • PuTTY
    This is a free and very popular client for Windows users.
  • WinSCP
    This is a free and popular client as well. However it’s not a fully functioning client compared to PuTTY.
  • SmartFTP
  • SecureCRT
  • ZOC Terminal
    Also available for OS X.


Secure Shell is a terminal emulator and stand-alone ssh client for the Chrome web browser. As of January 2015, it's still in beta release with known bugs.


A free app is available through Serverauditor by Cystanix for the iPhone and iPad. This SSH terminal is highly rated by other users and is free to download as well. You can read more about Serverauditor here:


ConnectBot is an SSH application available for free on the Android Market. You can use it to access SSH, Telnet, and local protocols.

See also

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Article last updated PST.