How to Use Putty to SSH on Windows

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In this short tutorial, you will learn how use PuTTY to SSH into a remote server on Windows. If you’re not familiar with SSH (Secure Shell), this will allow you to securely login to a remote server.

Get PuTTY

First, you will need the free software program called PuTTY which can be download here.

I recommend grabbing the standalone application (i.e. the .exe file rather than the .msi file) which you will find in the Alternative binary files section.

The standalone application does not require installation, so after you have downloaded it, you can move on to the next step. Otherwise, follow the installer to install PuTTY.

Using PuTTY

Assuming that you have credentials to a remote server that has allows incoming SSH connections, we can now use PuTTY to login to that server.

PuTTY configuration windowPin

Open PuTTY and type in the IP address or domain name of the remote server in the Host Name (or IP address) field. The default SSH port is 22, so unless you have a different port number, stick with 22 in the Port field.

Now you can click on the Open button and the first time you do this, you get a PuTTY Security Alert.

The server's host key is not cached in the registry. You
have no guarantee that the server is the computer you
think it is.
The server's ssh-ed25519 key fingerprint is...

You have three options here:

  1. Yes: If you trust this host, hit Yes to add the key to PuTTY’s cache and carry on connecting.
  2. No: If you want to carry on connecting just once, without adding the key to the cache, hit No.
  3. Cancel: If you do not trust this host, hit Cancel to abandon the connection.

If you trust the connection and hit Yes or No, a command prompt window will open and display a login as: prompt which is asking you for your username. This is the username of the user on the system. So for example, if the server that you are connecting to is an Ubuntu server, this would be the username for the Ubuntu user who has SSH access.

After you type the username and hit Enter, you’ll need to provide the password for this user. Either type a password or copy and paste it, but you should know that pasting is a little tricky with PuTTY.

PuTTY username and password promptPin

To paste text in PuTTY, the keyboard shortcut is Shift + Insert + Enter.

In either case, a valid password will log you into the server. At this point, you can interact with your remote server on the command line as if you were sitting in front of it.

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