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What is: PuTTY

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PuTTY is an SSH (Secure Shell) client for Windows, which allows advanced users to manage their websites by typing powerful commands into their computers.

For example, they are often used by technical users, system administrators, and developers to edit directories, folders, and files on their websites.

SSH is the technology that helps you securely connect your computer to your web server’s command line. SSH comes pre-installed on Mac or Linux. However, Windows doesn’t natively support SSH, so PuTTY was created as an SSH client for Windows.

Glossary: PuTTY

What Is the Difference Between PuTTY and SSH?

PuTTY and SSH are both client-server technologies. That means they allow you to securely connect a client (your computer) to a server (your WordPress website).

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between PuTTY and SSH.

What Is SSH?

SSH (Secure Shell) is a protocol that allows website owners to securely connect their home or business computers to their website’s command line.

The connection is secure because it uses encryption and requires the use of the correct username and password.

The command line is often referred to as the ‘shell’, and it allows users to manage website files, change settings, install applications, and more.

Connecting to a Server Using SSH

What Is PuTTY?

The SSH software is preinstalled on Mac and Linux computers but not Windows.

However, Windows users who wish to SSH into their servers can do so by installing and using the free, open-source PuTTY application.

Download PuTTY

When Should You Use PuTTY?

Only technical Windows users who want to use SSH need to install PuTTY.

Many advanced users prefer to connect to their servers using SSH because shell commands are flexible and powerful.

There are hundreds of shell commands available, and here are a few examples:

  • cd directory_name changes to the specified directory or folder
  • ls lists the contents of the current directory
  • mkdir directory_name creates a new directory
  • cp source_file destination_file copies a file
  • chmod permissions file_name changes the permissions of a file
  • apt-get install package_name installs new software on the server

However, if you are not familiar with shell commands, then you don’t need SSH or PuTTY.

Instead, you can manage your website files using an FTP client or the file manager application provided on your hosting provider’s website.

You can learn more in our beginner’s guide on how to use FTP to upload files to WordPress.

Selecting File Permissions From the Menu in Your FTP Client

How Do You Connect to WordPress Using PuTTY?

First, you will need to find the IP address, port number, username, and password used to access SSH with your web host.

You can learn these by visiting the SSH section of your host’s cPanel dashboard or configuration software or contacting your hosting company’s support team.

Now, you can launch the PuTTY application on your computer. You will need to type in your SSH IP address and port number. These will be remembered for future sessions.

PuTTY Settings

Once you click the ‘Open’ button, you will be asked to enter your SSH username. For many websites, this is ‘root’. When you press ‘Enter’, a terminal window will open, and you will be asked to enter the SSH password.

You now have access to your website’s SSH commands. You can get a list of these commands by typing the ‘help’ command and pressing the ‘Enter’ key.

How Can You Use PuTTY and SSH in WordPress?

You can use PuTTY and SSH for many tasks related to managing and maintaining websites.

For example, you can use it to upload files, install and update software, edit server configuration files, back up the WordPress database, and troubleshoot issues.

Here are a few tutorials we have written that show you different ways to use PuTTY and SSH in WordPress:

We hope this article helped you learn more about PuTTY in WordPress. You may also want to see our Additional Reading list below for related articles on useful WordPress tips, tricks, and ideas.

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Additional Reading

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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