SSH (Secure Shell) is an encrypted network protocol that connects to devices over a network or the Internet. Linux computers come with a preinstalled SSH tool that can be accessed with a terminal command. But what about Windows?
Several SSH options are available for Windows, including an integrated SSH tool. Learn how to use SSH in Windows with native apps and third-party apps.
Why do you need SSH on Windows?
SSH is the de facto solution for secure access to remote terminals under Linux and other UNIX-like systems. If you have a remote SSH server that you want to access, you need an SSH client. SSH can be used for everything from remotely accessing a computer on your network to managing and securing a website.
Although Windows has included the Telnet client for a long time, it is extremely insecure. You should therefore only use it between directly connected devices. You need better software for secure, encrypted SSH. There are five tools available for SSH in Windows:
- Windows PowerShell
- Secure shell for Google Chrome
- OpenSSH for Cygwin Terminal
- FileZilla's SSH FTP feature
Read on to find out how to use SSH Windows with each of these utilities.
1. PuTTY for Windows Desktop
PuTTY is the most popular app for connecting to SSH servers under Windows. The PuTTY user interface may seem a little intimidating and complicated at first, but is quite simple once you use it.
To use PuTTY, you just have to start putty.exe. Enter the host name (or IP address) of the remote server here, make sure that the port is correct, and click to open. PuTTY connects to the server and prompts you for a user name and password.
You can also save this session information if you want. Press the default settings Option then click on to save and PuTTY uses your saved settings every time you open it.
Alternatively, you can set a different profile for each connection, enter a name in the Saved sessions field and click to save.
Download: PuTTY (free)
2. Use Windows PowerShell for SSH
If you need a Microsoft command line SSH tool built by Microsoft that is built into the operating system, you're in luck.
Windows PowerShell has slowly replaced the Windows Command Prompt app since it was introduced in Windows 7. More recently, OpenSSH support has been added, which you can integrate with PowerShell as follows:
- Press WIN + I. to open the settings.
- to open Apps> Apps & Features
- click Optional functions
- click + Add a function
- Browse the list to find OpenSSH client
- Choose and click To install
- When this is complete, restart Windows 10
If OpenSSH has been added, you can use it by opening Windows PowerShell (right click) Start> PowerShell) and enter a connection command. For example:
You will be asked to enter your password. Enter this and agree to the security certificate.
3. Secure shell for Google Chrome
Google offers an SSH client called Secure Shell App that can be added to the Chrome browser. Simply install the Secure Shell app from the Chrome Web Store. Even though it runs in the Chrome browser, it runs completely offline, so you don't need internet access to use it. So it works with devices on your local network as well as with remote servers.
The Secure Shell App opens as a browser tab. Simply enter your login information and the hostname (IP address) of the remote SSH server. You can also attach additional SSH command line arguments if necessary.
As with other Chrome web applications, the Secure Shell app can be opened in a special window to separate it from your main browser.
Because Secure Shell is a Chrome web app, it's also available for MacOS, Linux, and even Chrome OS.
Download: Secure shell app for Google Chrome
4. OpenSSH for Cygwin Terminal
If you routinely use the standard SSH command on Linux, MacOS and other UNIX-like systems, Cygwin offers SSH support.
If you don't know SSH yet, you probably want to use a graphical option like PuTTY. However, if you have experience with command line activities, you will find that Cygwin's OpenSSH implantation works the same as on other platforms.
Cygwin is a large installation package, so you may prefer to just install OpenSSH.
To do this, run the downloaded installer and look for OpenSSH when prompted to choose packages. Expand network In the New column, click Skip Therefore the version to be downloaded is displayed.
click Next one Then check the packages to be installed Next one again.
After completing the installation process, start the Cygwin terminal application from the start menu. To start an SSH connection, use the same ssh command that you ran on Linux and other UNIX-like operating systems.
While Cygwin is a good solution, it can be difficult to set up.
Download: Cygwin (free)
5. SSH over FTP with FileZilla
The main reason for using SSH to communicate with a remote device is often to upload files. This is usually because you want to manage a web server and upload a web application (e.g. WordPress).
FileZilla is an open source FTP (File Transfer Protocol) tool that supports SFTP or SSH File Transfer Protocol. Of course, this makes FTP transfers much more secure.
How to use SSH in FileZilla:
- to open File> Site Manager to make a new connection
- Add in New page
- Choose SFTP than the protocol
- Enter the server IP address or host name
- Add the username and password
- click Connect
File transfers are now done through SSH.
Download: FileZilla (free)
Which Windows SSH client should you use?
Which SSH client is the best? Well, it depends on what you're looking for:
- If you like the idea of an SSH client running in your browser, go for Secure Shell for Chrome. Note that Secure Shell for Chrome is the most restricted option and you can't do SSH tunneling.
- If you want a powerful SSH application with a graphical interface that allows you to configure settings and save session information, use PuTTY. It's the most popular Windows SSH client for a reason and it's pretty easy to learn the basics.
- Use Windows PowerShell or Cygwin to get reliable SSH command line functionality.
If we had to recommend one, we would say that most users should use PuTTY.
Still not sure? Here you can see SSH in PowerShell in more detail than PuTTY.
Read the full article: How to use SSH on Windows: 5 easy ways