Unix Shell (SSH) Access

This page is showing a generic answer.
To see a more detailed answer customized for you, type your domain name here:

This page is intended for technically advanced users. It describes how you can connect to the command-line Unix shell for your account using SSH.

The Unix shell, or “bash shell”, gives you direct access to the Linux operating system of our servers. While most of our customers will never need to use the shell, advanced customers may need it to install scripts, manipulate databases, etc.

If you need shell access, we assume you basically know what you're doing. Use of the shell is a topic that could (and does) fill many books; however, many sites on the Internet offer tutorials that cover some of the basics, such as LinuxCommand.org.

Keep in mind that the Unix shell is very powerful. If you're not careful, it's easy to damage your website or email. Although we can usually restore your files if you make a mistake, we can't guarantee that we will always be able to do so (particularly if the file has been changed in the previous few hours), and we do charge a fee to retrieve files from backups if you accidentally delete or damage them repeatedly.

SSH connection instructions

Please enter your domain name in the yellow box above to see detailed instructions.

Do you support telnet?

Like most hosting companies, we no longer support the older, insecure telnet method of connecting to the command-line. You should always use SSH instead.

Why do I get a “too many authentication failures” message without being prompted for a password, or when I send the correct password repeatedly?

This probably means you’ve configured your SSH program to only make connections using keys, but the key isn’t matching, or isn’t present on the server. If you’re using the command line terminal, you can try forcing it to ask for the password with:

ssh \
  -o BatchMode=no \
  -o PreferredAuthentications=password \
  -o PubkeyAuthentication=no \
  example.com@example.com

Why do I see an error message saying “REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGED”?

If you’ve previously connected to the server a different server named “example.com”, or if your SSH software gets upgraded and makes a different type of connection, you may see an error message like this:

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
@ WARNING: REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGED!
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SOMEONE IS DOING SOMETHING NASTY!
Someone could be eavesdropping on you right now
(man-in-the-middle attack)! It is also possible that the
host key has just been changed.
The fingerprint for the key sent by the remote host is
X/t1ww0k8xxfamGqSZMaxZsn6SnwEm6T1KApsA9fKiY.

These messages look frightening, but all it’s really saying is that it saw one “fingerprint” the last time you connected to “example.com”, and it’s seeing a different fingerprint now.

You can compare the fingerprint it lists to the fingerprint described earlier on this page to see if it’s a valid fingerprint at our servers. If it is, this is just a glitch, and not harmful; you can remove the bad key by typing:

ssh-keygen -R example.com

If the fingerprint is different, it’s still probably not malicious in most cases -- it’s more likely that you’re using a network or firewall that intercepts and modifies connections, or something similar. You’re welcome to contact us with the exact error message and we’ll try to help.

Shell access policy

We provide shell access to our customers so that advanced users can easily configure their websites and send and receive email. Other uses of the servers, including running software unrelated to your account, or running background programs like IRC Bots, "eggdrops", or SETI@home, are not allowed.

Please contact us if you have any questions.