Connecting to a Remote Server Over SSH on Chrome

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SSH (secure shell) is used for secure communication between devices. When most people refer to SSH, it is within the context of connecting from a local computer to a remote server. This is a common task when administering a website, hosting environment, or even a Raspberry Pi or Arduino system.

This article covers the basics of connecting to a remote server (such as a Linode) over SSH using the Secure Shell extension available on ChromeOS or any Chrome web browser running on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Before You Begin

  1. Ensure you have a Linux system with an SSH server (like OpenSSH) installed. Most Linux distributions have an SSH server preinstalled. If you wish to deploy a new server, follow the Getting Started guide to create a Linode.

  2. Install the Chrome web browser on your local Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. You can skip this step if using ChromeOS.

Installing the Secure Shell Extension

  1. Open the Secure Shell extension on the Chrome Web Store and click Add to Chrome.

  2. A confirmation window may appear notifying you of the actions and permissions the extension will use. Click Add extension to install it.

Connecting to the Remote Server Over SSH

  1. Open Chrome and type the following into the URL/address bar, replacing [username] with the username of the remote user and [ip-address] with the IP address or domain name of the remote server.

    ssh [username]@[ip-address]
    

    Press enter. The Secure Shell extension attempts to connect to the remote server over port 22 (the default SSH port).

    Typing in the ssh command within the Chrome address bar

    Note

    If the server’s SSH port is something other than 22, it needs to be specified in the above command. To do this, append [:port] as shown in the example below, replacing port with the port number that the remote SSH server is using.

    ssh [email protected][:2022]
    
  2. When you connect with a server for the first time, the SSH client prompts you to check and verify the host key’s fingerprint. This is normal, and results in output similar to:

    The authenticity of host ‘example.com (192.0.2.0)’ can't be established.
    ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:d029f87e3d80f8fd9b1be67c7426b4cc1ff47b4a9d0a84.
    This key is not known by any other names
    Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no/[fingerprint])?

    You can verify the fingerprint by following the instructions under the Verifying the Host Key’s Fingerprint section.

  3. Accept the prompt by entering yes, which results in a one-time warning that is similar to:

    Warning: Permanently added 'example' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.
  4. You are then prompted for your password. Type in the correct password for the remote user and press enter.

Once you have successfully connected, the Secure Shell extension displays a terminal that’s using the remote shell environment for the server. The command prompt should show the username and hostname configured for the server. You can now run any commands that you have available on that server. This includes many of the basic Linux commands, such as ls, cd, rm, and those covered in Using the Terminal guide. Getting to know these commands will help you navigate around your server.

Ending the SSH Session

After you are done, log out of the session by typing exit. The terminal then shows something similar to:

logout
Connection to 192.0.2.0 closed.
NaC1 plugin existed with status code 0
(R)econnect, (C)hoose another connection, or E(x)it?

Type x to close the tab, r to reconnect to the same server, or c to be presented with the Connection Dialog window, allowing you to manually type in the details for a new connection.

Verifying the Host Key’s Fingerprint

  1. Log in to your remote server through a trusted method. For a Linode, use Lish.

  2. Run the command below to output your server’s SSH key fingerprint

    ssh-keygen -E md5 -lf /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key.pub
    

    The output looks similar to:

    256 MD5:58:72:65:6d:3a:39:44:26:25:59:0e:bc:eb:b4:aa:f7  [email protected] (ED25519)
    Note
    For the fingerprint of an RSA key instead of elliptical curve, use: ssh-keygen -lf /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key.pub.
  3. Compare this output to what appears when opening an SSH connection on your local computer. The two fingerprints should match. If the fingerprints do not match, do not connect to the server. You won’t receive further warnings unless the fingerprint changes for some reason. Typically, this should only happen if you reinstall the remote server’s operating system. If you receive this warning again from a system you already have the host key cached on, you should not trust the connection and investigate matters further.

Going Further

Troubleshooting SSH Connection Issues

If SSH isn’t connecting you to your Linode, it is possible that it needs to be looked at on the server. See the guide Troubleshooting SSH for assistance.

Increasing Security

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