Kenny's Blog

23 Jan 2015

Making Your SSH Life Easier

Thought it may have seemed a bit dated a few years back, the command line has had a resurgence of popularity recently. It’s nice that our University still teaches basic command line usage in it’s programming classes. The command line is a very powerful tool: I’d argue that it’s the closest thing we currently have to directly interfacing to a computer.

With that said, getting started on the command line can be a daunting task. Students should realize, however, that the command line is meant to be configured and tweaked. One of the things I see students struggling with is their SSH connections. For the love of god, you can configure things to make your lives so much easier. Here are a few things that students can do to make their SSH lives easier:

  1. Setup SSH Aliases
  2. Setup SSH Key Authentication

I won’t re-invent the wheel and post yet another set of instructions; after all, being able to properly Google something is a good skill to learn. But the result of setting up SSH aliases is that all I have to do to connect to a particularly often-used host is this:

$ ssh wiliki
Last login ..

Instead of:

$ ssh username@wiliki.eng.hawaii.edu
username@wiliki.eng.hawaii.edu's password:
Last login ..