File servers made easy with SSH
By Nathan Sanders
Online on: 2007-09-26
If you’re an experienced administrator, you’ve probably used SSH to remotely access a troublesome box or your personal computer. For those who don’t know: SSH it’s a great way to fiddle with a computer from miles away as if you were sitting at its keyboard, but it’s also just about the simplest and most secure way to configure your computer to let you access its files from anywhere. You can use SSH on nearly every operating system to transfer files to and from your computer over the internet or a LAN.
Is SSH for more than commands?
SSH is traditionally used to give you remote access to a computer’s shell (command line terminal). Earlier protocols in this vein, such as telnet and rlogin, did not encrypt their traffic or take other security precautions that are necessary with untrusted networks like the internet. Depending upon the exact server, protocol, and configuration you use, SSH may be the most secure way to access a computer over a network.
If you’re a typical user, however, you may never need to access the command line—or even graphical applications—on a remote computer. Even so, SSH will still be useful in sending your latest batch of photos home from your hotel, retrieving the latest version of a report left sitting on your desktop, or for any other situation requiring a file transfer.
If you’d like to get more in depth, you can use it to load or edit a spreadsheet on another computer or keep documents synchronized between machines. If you’ve seen an experienced user work his magic with SSH, all of this may seem rather complicated. I assure you, though, that setting up an SSH server on GNU/Linux or another Unix-like operating system—and even Microsoft Windows—is as simple as installing any other software, and accessing your server from another machine running nearly any OS is even easier.