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In computing, a shell is a piece of software that essentially provides a kind of interface for end-users. Typically, the term refers to an operating system shell which provides access to the services of a kernel. However, the term is also applied very loosely to applications and may include any software that is "built around" a particular component, such as web browsers and email clients that are "shells" for HTML rendering engines. The name 'shell' originates from shells being an outer layer of interface between the user and the innards of the operating system (the kernel).

Operating system shells generally fall into one of two categories: command line and graphical. Command line shells provide a command line interface (CLI) to the operating system, while graphical shells provide a graphical user interface (GUI).

A shell is a place where you can write commands to be executed. If you are running a Windows OS, a shell is like the command prompt. (Start/All Programs/Accessories/Command Prompt). On a shell you can see your files with the command "ls" (short for "list"), you can change directory with the command "cd" (short for "change directory), etc.

Using the shell

Main article: SSH

To use the shell you need to activate it first in your Web Panel. Panel -> Users -> Manage Users -> select Edit. You will see the possibility to activate the shell there. Your shell account should be active within 30 minutes after the change. You can use your existing login information to connect via SSH, and DreamHost recommends PuTTY for Windows users.

Configure Putty for Dreamhost

To configure Putty on Dreamhost (You are supposed to have putty already downloaded in your computer - Windows users) you must:

In Dreamhost Left Panel:

Under VPS click SSH Keys Click on "Add New SSH Key" Give it a name and click Add Key Copy the private key in a safe place, use .ppk extension for your key file. Name it as you want, but remember the name and folder for next step (A public/private key pair has been generated).

Now go to Putty

Open PuTTYgen click Load Locate the .ppk file you just created from Dreamhost You can create a passphrase to add more security to you key. Then click Save Private Key for Putty to create its own version of the ppk file. Use any name you desire.

Now let's configure Putty.

Open Putty.exe

Under Session write your Hostname (your domain)

Now go to Connection and click on Data: On Auto-login Username write your username. This is the name of the VPS administrator

Now go to SSH still under Connection and choose 2 from Preferred SSH Protocol Version

Under SSH go to Auth and click Browse on the Private key file for authentication. This file is the one you created with PuttyGen.

Go again to Session and type your preferred name for this session under Saved Sessions then click Save and finally Open and you're ready to go. Be aware that you need to type the password for admin user to begin session.

--Borisjavier (talk) 19:08, 7 February 2013 (PST)

See also