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Connecting via SSH (command line) or SFTP (file transfer)

Before connecting via SSH, you will first need to have a campus IP address by either being physically on campus (using campus wireless or wired connection) or using the VPN if you’re off campus or using a non-IU Internet connection while on campus. Once you have installed and activated the VPN software, your computer will be seen as part of the campus network.

SSH/SFTP Software

Command line versions of ssh and sftp are installed by default on Windows 10, Linux, and MacOSX.

Graphical versions are also available via IUware.



Connect using graphical SSH/SFTP

  1. Enter the server fully qualified domain name as the host name (e.g. or
  2. Make sure that the port number is 22

If you are using FileZilla, make sure that your protocol is SFTP by prepending sftp:// to the host name. This is critical as FileZilla will normally default to the unencrypted FTP protocol which will send your username and passphrase over the Internet in clear text. There are several other graphical file transfer programs which allow multiple protocols. We highly suggest using an SFTP exclusive program.

Command line SSH/SFTP

If you don’t have the option to download and install a graphical SFTP program, then you’ll need to use SSH or SFTP via the command line. At this point, SSH is actually the more straightforward to use.

First you will need to open a command prompt or terminal session on your local computer:

Windows 10:

From the Start Menu, Click Start, type PowerShell, and then click Windows PowerShell. or
From the Start menu, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click the Windows PowerShell folder, and then click Windows PowerShell.

Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock, type Terminal in the search field, then click Terminal.
In the Finder , open the /Applications/Utilities folder, then double-click Terminal.

Due to the ubiquity of user interfaces, the most likely way to get a command prompt is to use a virtual terminal from ctl-alt-F4 or similar. To return to your graphical display, it’s usually ctl-alt-F7 or occasionally ctl-alt-F1. If neither of these work, cycle through all the ctl-alt-F# keys. One of them is bound to have your X session.

Next, you will type the following at this command prompt:

ssh yourusername@theServerToWhichYouAreConnecting
e.g. ssh

You will see a response similar or identical to:

The authenticity of host ‘ (’ can’t be established.
ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:i+GIv+KvV1xr56iWkAmONNT5L7ybmZzzfTP4BauWdUo.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no/[fingerprint])?

Type “yes” to continue, then it will ask for your IU passphrase.

Once entered, you will have a command prompt on the server which will look like this: