Connecting to Your VPS with SSH and Improving Security

A picture of network cabling
As soon as your new virtual private server (VPS) is partitioned, you’ll probably want to log in and get started. Secure Shell, most commonly referred to as SSH, is your go-to option for logging into your server. In this tutorial, we'll cover basic SSH authentication, followed by ways of making logging in easier. Finally, we'll cover some easy-to-use strategies for improving the overall security of SSH authentication.

The prerequisites

You need a few things to log into your server via SSH:
  • A virtual private server running any of our OS options
  • Your server’s IP address
  • Your login/password credentials
  • Your preferred SSH client

Finding the key information

You might not be familiar with all of the terms above, or where to find them. Let's quickly walk through your IP address, username/password, and what an SSH client is.

Your server’s IP address

Your IP address is similar to the address to your home or apartment—it tells your computer "where" your server is on the internet. Your server's IP address can be easily discovered by logging into the SSD Nodes dashboard and clicking on Services -> My services in the left-hand navigation or finding the appropriate server under My active servers. Click on the specific server you want to log into. Look for the Primary IP heading.
Primary IP

Your login/password credentials

If this is your very first time logging in, you’ll be using the administrative account—also known as the Superuser—which is typed in as root. This can be confirmed just beneath the Primary IP heading—you’ll also find your default password here.
Username    root
Password    xxxxxxxxxxxx

Your preferred SSH client

On Linux and OS X computers, the default SSH client is OpenSSH, and should come pre-installed. There’s nothing more to install—you’re ready to go by opening a terminal using the ssh command. On Windows, we recommend a free, open-source program called PuTTY. We recommend downloading the MSI installer to ensure you have all the necessary utilities to do more advanced techniques, like key-based logins.

The basic login (Linux/OS X)

By default, SSD Nodes servers are accessible through SSH, so you don’t need to spend any time on setup—just launch your favorite terminal emulator (Linux/OS X) and call the ssh command using the root user and the IP address you found above:
ssh [email protected]_address
You might get a warning the first time you try connecting to your server—simply put, your computer just doesn’t recognize the remote server. You can safely type yes here—you won’t see the warning again. From here, you’ll be asked for your password—remember that it’s case sensitive! At this point, you should be logged in and ready to take the next steps with your VPS. If you need some advice about what you can do, check out our blog post
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