PuTTY

Older versions of Windows do not include a SSH client by default, but there are plenty of options, PuTTY probably being the choice of most Windows users.

Other popular choices include Git BASH which provides a basic shell including the widely-used Git version control system and OpenSSH as an SSH client. If you’re looking for a large distribution of GNU and Open Source utils that feels more-or-less like a Linux distribution, head over to Cygwin. If you opt for one of the last two, you should better follow Using Linux, macOS, any other Unix, or modern Windows 10 after installation because you will then effectively use the OpenSSH command-line utils.

Warning

Some SFTP clients do also offer a way to enter commands to be executed through SSH on the server, for example FileZilla with its Server | Enter custom command... feature. While there are legitimate use cases for such a feature, this is strictly for one-shot commands and does not provide you with the interactive terminal you need.

For this guide we’re using PuTTY, but feel free to use any other SSH client of your personal taste.

Downloading PuTTY

First, download the MSI (Windows installer) package from the PuTTY download page which includes all PuTTY tools we’re going to use (PuTTY itself, the PuTTYgen key pair generator and the Pageant SSH agent). The 32-bit version works on all Windows installations; if you have a 64-bit Windows installation you can download the 64-bit version instead.

Installing the PuTTY tool suite should be pretty common; you don’t need to do anything special here - just accept the defaults.

Creating a session profile

Start PuTTY. The configuration dialog automatically opens.

Head over to “Connection | Data” in the tree menu on the left. Enter your username (eliza in our example) into the “Auto-login username” text box.

Head over to “Session” in the tree menu on the left. Enter your hostname (dolittle.uberspace.de in our example) into the “Host Name (or IP address)” text box.

For your convenience, save these settings under a session name of your choice. For that, enter a description (e.g. “eliza on dolitte” or something like “My personal Uberspace”) into the “Saved Sessions” text box. Click the “Save” button. From now on, you can simply double-click on your saved profile and PuTTY will automatically connect to your Uberspace.

First connection

On your first connection PuTTY will present you the MD5 fingerprint of the host key of the server you’re about to connect. Unfortunately, checking the SHA256 fingerprint is not possible with PuTTY, because it only supports insecure MD5 fingerprints.

Next you’re getting asked for your password. Nothing is shown while entering it; that’s absolutely correct and works as intended - just enter it blindly and press Enter! This is what you should be seeing inside the PuTTY terminal window:

Using username "eliza".
Using keyboard-interactive authentication.
Password:
[eliza@dolittle ~]$

The [eliza@dolittle ~]$ prompt shows that you’re now successfully connected. Every command you’re about to enter will get executed on your Uberspace.

Entering exit (or pressing Ctrl+D) leaves the shell, closing your connection.

Using PuTTY

Header over to “Connections | SSH” in the tree menu on the left. Enable the checkbox at “Share SSH connections if possible”.

If you’re working with session profiles, you can also load a session of your choice (don’t double-click it, but click its name once, then click “Load”), activate the connection sharing setting, then save the session again.

When opening your first connection to a host, PuTTY will ask you for your password as usual (or login with your key). If you’re now choosing “Duplicate session” from the window menu you’ll get another session immediately, showing “Reusing a shared connection to this server” right before your prompt to indicate you’re on a reused connection.