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The Benefits of Shell Access

The Benefits of Shell Access

Often referred to as Shell Access, and short for Secure Shell Host, SSH is a network protocol used to create secure connections to other hosts over TCP/IP. Unlike Telnet, an unencrypted, less secure version of the technology, SSH employs advanced cryptographic algorithms to protect communications. With Shell Access, you can secure connections to protect data under a wide range of situations. If you are familiar with Unix commands, Shell Access can be a very nice tool.

Common Uses of SSH

Shell Access allows you to access the server from a remote location to transfer files, configure your account, set up cron jobs, perform data backups and much more. The protocol can also be used to provide a more secure means of FTP. With SSH, all communications are protected with industry standard encryption schemes. Some of the most common ciphers include Triple DES, TSS and Blowfish among others. Secure Shell authentication and encryption keys enable secure remote access with protection against password sniffing, message hijacking, IP spoofing, DNS spoofing and other malicious attacks.

For the most part, Shell Access is used as a secure replacement for Telnet, providing a way to securely connect to a host on another network. SSH also has a feature that not too many users are aware of – the unique ability to create encrypted tunnels between hosts and other ports. This means that you can use the protocol to create a secure path between your local host and mail server. By doing so, you can ensure that your password is never transmitted over the network in plaintext when checking your mail. You could also use Shell Access to build secure paths between two or more hosts protected by firewalls, preventing pesky packet sniffers from intercepting the data being exchanged between the two.

By providing encrypted connections between two or more hosts, SSH gives system administrators a powerful weapon that enables the utmost in flexibility while ensuring that the network is protected. With Secure Shell Access, any user on a TCP-based network, such as the internet, can communicate with other hosts in a more secure and reliable fashion. Whereas standard remote shell access leaves communications wide open to attack, SSH dramatically reduces the probability of data tampering and interception.

SSH on the Server

On Linux and Unix platforms, SSH services are implemented by default. If your web host or administrator grants Shell Access, you shouldn’t have to perform any additional installations.
Located at “/etc/ssh/sshd.config”, the SSH configuration file is used for configurations regarding the listening port, location of the keys exchanged between the client and server and so forth.
Once the configurations are set, SSH services provide instant access to the server where the protocol is running. If the configuration file is updated or modified, the SSH server must be restarted in order for the new settings to take effect.

As we mentioned earlier, Shell Access is recommended for users who are experienced with Shell commands on Linux and Unix platforms. This is very important because unlike Windows, changes in this environment typically occur with little to no warning and can have a severe impact if mistakes are made.

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