Managing SSH Access to an OIT Web Hosting Account

Managing SSH Access to an OIT Web Hosting Account kp37

OIT Web Hosting accounts can be accessed remotely via a protocol called SSH, which gives you a command line style interface to the hosting account.  From there, a knowledgable person such as a web developer can manipulate the files on the website, changing settings and configuration and even writing and debugging code to some extent.  (The SSH interface on OIT Web Hosting is somewhat limited in its capabilities, so it's not recommended that anyone actually attempt to develop code using it, but technically this is possible.)

To access a hosting account via SSH, you either need the SSH password for the account or you need a valid SSH key.

SSH Password

To set the SSH password for an OIT Web Hosting account, go into the account's Plesk Control Panel, then select Web Hosting Access from the main control page (known as the "Websites & Domains" page).  Please note that there is no way to see the current password - if you do not know what it is, all you can do is reset it to a new value.

SSH Keys

An SSH key is a form of public key encryption to let you connect to another system via SSH without having to send a normal password.  To use this method, you will need to generate an SSH key for yourself.  The process varies greatly based on the operating system and SSH client you are using, so we cannot provide any instructions for this part.  However, in the end you should have two keys: a private key and a public key.

If you are enabling SSH Key access for an outside developer, then s/he should send you his/her public key, which is the part you need to enable access to your OIT Web Hosting Account.

Adding an SSH Key

After logging into the Plesk Control Panel for your hosting account, locate the large title text "Website & Domains".  From there, look to the far right for an icon that looks like a square with a left-pointing black triangle in it, and select that icon.  A menu of options should appear that starts with "Backup & Restore" - look to the bottom of that menu for "SSH Keys" and select that option.

That's the hard part.  On the next page, "SSH Keys Manager", you can add and delete authorized keys.  Simply select the Add Key button, paste the new key into the Key field, and select the Add button to add it.

Removing an SSH Key

To remove someone's key, simply locate it in the list on the "SSH Keys Manager" page, select the checkbox to the left of the key title, and then select the Remove button to remove it.