web-based ssh


Vinh Nguyen


July 16, 2011

SSH has come to be my most used protocol besides http. It allows me to fully access a computer, transfer files, and all communications are encrypted (so I feel safe!). Since all my computers are Linux-based, I can use ssh by starting a terminal. However, what If I'm on a computer without an ssh client, say, a Windows machine? Sure, I can install putty on a Windows computer when I need to ssh. Is there a more convenient way?

consoleFISH allows users to ssh from the web for free short sessions. However, I just don't trust third party hosted solutions; my privacy may be compromised. I discovered WebShell via this post, which allows me to ssh into the server with WebShell. From there, I can ssh into any server I want or do work on the current server. It's also great for touchscreen phones as it offers an onscreen keyboard. However, it doesn't yet offer password authentication before attempting to ssh into the server (the website); I feel weary of this. This wiki post shows some other alternatives, but WebShell seems to be the best on the list.

The other alternative that I think will work for me is the FireSSH plugin for Firefox. I assume Firefox is installed on all the Windows machines I'll encounter. I'll then just install the plugin, and use the ssh:// protocol in the address bar to ssh into the machine I want. It works well I must say. I guess this is slightly better than having to install a full-blown app (putty) on a computer that's not mine.