Remote Server Acccess

FAQs for Remote Server Acccess

If your question isn't answered or you still need help, email or call (856) 225-6274. The Information Technology Help Desk is in the Rutgers Student Computer Lab. Staff members are available during regular operating hours.

What is SSH?

SSH stands for Secure Socket Shell. It’s a network protocol that allows users access to a remote computer. At Rutgers, the remote computer is usually a Linux server. Once a person logs in via SSH, working on it is like working on the command line on a Linux or Mac terminal at home.

Unlike working on one’s own computer, though, access to a Rutgers server is limited for most users. The ability to run commands and manage files is often restricted to a directory that bears the person’s user name. Only the server’s administrators have unlimited access to the entire server.

What is SFTP? Is it like FTP?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and SFTP is short for Secure File Transfer Protocol. Both are internet protocols that allow users to manage files stored on a server. Common actions include uploading and downloading files; creating folders (usually referred to on servers as subdirectories); and renaming and deleting files and folders.

SFTP, unlike FTP, uses an encrypted server connection. Rutgers servers that support remote file management use SFTP rather than FTP for security reasons.

How do I connect to a Rutgers server with SSH or SFTP?

If you are using the command-line versions of SSH or SFTP, connect to a Rutgers server that supports remote SSH/SFTP access by using these forms of each command:

  • ssh
  • sftp

… replacing “netid” with your own NetID and “servername” with the name of the server you’re trying to access. When you run one of these commands successfully, you will then be prompted for your password.

If you are using an SSH or SFTP program with a graphical user interface, you will normally see four fields you need to fill out in order to connect:

  1. Host:
  2. Username: your NetID
  3. Password: your NetID password
  4. Port: 22

Some programs may not have a field for port, or the field may be hidden under advanced settings.

The first time you connect to a Rutgers server with SSH or SFTP, the program you’re using to connect with will probably prompt you to store some security key information about the server. If that happens, click OK. During subsequent connections that saved information will be checked against the current security key on the Rutgers server.

What SFTP program do you recommend?

The recommended programs are currently FileZilla for Windows and Linux and Cyberduck for Mac OSX. A version of FileZilla is available for Mac OSX, but many of the downloads available online contain malware. If you download FileZilla, use a trusted site such as SourceForge.

Can I use the Linux or Mac command line to SSH and SFTP?

Yes, both Linux and Mac OSX both have built-in SSH and SFTP commands that are available through the Terminal application. Learn more about these commands in either operating system by running Terminal and typing man ssh or man sftp.

Are there command-line SSH and SFTP programs I can use on Windows?

Microsoft is currently working with OpenSSH to integrate support for the SSH and SFTP command-line software into Windows 10. While it isn’t yet an official part of Windows, the current version of OpenSSH is available for Windows.

We also recommend PuTTY as a Windows SSH client.