SSH/Shell Access

For cPanel versions 11.25/26

SSH (secure shell) and Telnet are examples of network protocols that make remote server management possible by allowing you to control another computer (ie, your web server) over the Internet through a command line interface (CLI). This can be used, for instance, when configuring CGI scripts. SSH is included with many modern operating systems including Mac® OS X and Linux distributions.

If you are using Microsoft Windows to connect to your server, you will need an SSH client to log into the server. One can be obtained at

For Unix-based operating systems, such as Mac OS or Linux, many commands have been standardized. For a list of standardized Unix-based (POSIX) commands, consult your favorite search engine or visit

ALERT! Note: Not all web host's allow shell access.

Connecting With PuTTy

To use PuTTy to connect to your server via SSH:

  1. Download and install the client from the URL above.
  2. Open the client.
  3. Under the Sessions menu, input the IP address of the server.
    • Make sure that the SSH button is selected.
  4. Click Open.
  5. Use root as the login name.
  6. Enter the root password.

If the username and password were correctly entered, you should be logged into the server.

Connecting With Mac OS X or Linux

To connect via SSH to your server:

  1. Open a terminal session.
  2. Issue the following command:
    • ssh -p $port $user@$IP
      • Where $port is meant to stand for the port number.
      • $user is meant to stand for your username.
      • $IP is meant to stand for your IP address.

Manage SSH Keys

Using cPanel, it is possible to manage, import, create, and remove SSH keys. These keys will be used when confirming a specific computer has the right to access your website’s information using SSH.
Use the Generate a new Key and Import Key links to generate or import a key, respectively.

Generate a New Key

To generate a new key:

  1. Click Manage SSH Keys.
  2. Click the Generate a new key icon.
  3. Fill in the appropriate information.
    • note Note: It is important to consider your needs when choosing a key type, bearing in mind that RSA keys yield a faster confirmation of identity, while using DSA keys will speed up key generation and signing times.
  4. Select a key size using the pull-down menu.
  5. Click Generate Key to generate the new SSH key and automatically install it to the server.

Import an Existing Key

To import a key:

  1. Click the Import Key icon.
  2. Choose a name for the key.
  3. Paste the private and public keys into the 2 text boxes.
  4. Click Import.

Once a key has been installed onto the server, it can be edited, deleted or downloaded using the appropriate links in the lists on the Manage SSH Keys page. Keys that are new to the server need to be authorized using the Manage Authorization link.

PICK Important: The key will not work until it is authorized.

The key, once authorized, can be unauthorized by using the Manage Authorization link and clicking Deauthorize.

Connect Using Java SSH

cPanel comes equipped with an application called SSHTerm, which lets you connect to your website using SSH through cPanel. SSHTerm is a Java application that opens a command line interface (CLI) in an application window within the browser.

After clicking the Connect Using SSHTerm button, you may need to accept a certificate. Once the certificate has been accepted, the application will load after a few moments.

By specifying the web server’s IP address, a connection can be made. It is possible to enter a user name and password or use public keys to confirm (authenticate) your identity and log into your server.

Connect Using Java Telnet Applet

cPanel contains a Java application called Java Telnet Applet which lets you connect to the web server using a Telnet connection through cPanel. This application can be accessed by clicking the appropriate button at the SSH/Shell Access main screen.

A pop-up window will open that contains the Telnet Java application. Another pop-up, requesting login information, will also be opened. Enter your username and password.

Upon successfully logging in, a connection will be made, allowing the manipulation of your web server through the CLI. Please note that keys cannot be used as an authentication method; a username and password are required.

note Note: There are a number of specific Telnet commands with which you may need to familiarize yourself. Please consult your favorite search engine for more information regarding Telnet and your operating system’s commands. It is also recommended that SSH be used in place of Telnet when possible, as an SSH connection is inherently more secure.

Topic revision: r4 - 13 Nov 2009 - 17:25:04 - MelanieSeibert