Information, Technology & Consulting

Connect To A Linux Server

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How Do I Connect from My Windows Machine to a Linux Server?

You can connect from a Windows computer to a Linux machine in one of two ways, depending on what you want to accomplish, what services are available on the remote host, and whether you require graphics to be displayed. You can use a text-only connection (also referred to as a command line, or terminal interface) or a graphical (X-windows) connection.

1. Command Line Connection

SSH secure shell is used to connect to Research Computing systems for command line connections. All communication with the remote host is encrypted with a very secure algorithm based on public key cryptography. The advantage to this is that network traffic can pass through an untrusted channel without danger of being decoded.

2. Graphical Connection

For X-Windows (graphical) access, the user must run a program called an X Server on their desktop computer, which interprets and displays the graphical output of programs running on the remote UNIX system. The X Server can initiate programs using the mechanisms of command line logins. X-Windows connections can be tunneled through an encrypted channel if used in conjunction with SSH, providing a completely secure graphical connection.

How Do I Connect from My Macintosh to a Linux Server?

You can connect from a Macintosh computer to a Linux machine in one of two ways, depending on what you want to accomplish, what services are available on the remote host, and whether you require graphics to be displayed. You can use a text-only connection (also referred to as a command line, or terminal interface) or a graphical (X-windows) connection.

1. Command Line Interface

To connect to a Linux computer from a Mac OS X computer using a command line interface, start up the Terminal program that is in the Application -> Utilities folder, then issue the command ssh or sftp. For example: ssh [email protected] to connect from your Mac to the central machine polaris.

2. Graphical X-Windows (X11) Interface

Install the XQuartz X11 server on your Macintosh. Start up the Terminal program and issue the command ssh with the -X option, For example: ssh -X [email protected]

How Do I Connect to a Linux Server from an Off-campus Location?

You need an ssh-client for Windows, Mac or Linux (see above). It is strongly suggested that you use a VPN connection. See VPN Service Overview for information on connecting via VPN. Once you have a VPN connection, establish a connection to the server using ssh.

For additional information see:

Topic: 
Research Computing
Subtopic: 
Research Computing Consulting
Last updated: 
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

If you have questions or need further information, contact your department's IT support office, or contact the IT Service Desk via email at [email protected], via phone at 603-646-2999 or walk in to see them in Baker/Berry 178J.

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