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What is SSH and its basic useful commands?

SSH or Secure Shell is a way to manage a dedicated server remotely by using integrated Linux terminal. It doesn’t have a typical Web Hosting Control Panel GUI(Graphic User Interface) like cPanel, text commands carry out all the actions.

SSH is like a command line interpreter such as Command Prompt present in majority Windows distributions.  

It has an advantage of direct access of server by user with a secured access environment.

Its command names are similar to the being actions performed. For example, to delete a file, “rm” command is used with a filename where “rm” means remove. For new folder creation, “mkdir” is used which means make a directory.

Some more commands to help you personalize your server are:


  1. man” command means manual which is followed by any other Linux command ( like cd) and it displays complete description with all the options available.
  2. cd” which means 'change directory' helps in browsing between different folders of your server.
  3. cp” and “mv” are commands used for basic file management to copy(cp) and move(mv) files/folders from your server.
  4. grep” is used to print lines that match a particular pattern and helps in looking for a line/phrase in a large text file like logs.
  5. ls” allows you to enlist the content of a directory and "ls -la" is used to view hidden files/directories (ones that begin with a dot) and additional attributes like permissions and ownership.
  6. chown” is used in changing user and group ownership and "chmod" helps in changing permissions (read, write, execute) for the owner, group and other users accessing that file/directory.
  7. "nano" and "vi" are 2 Linux text editors; "nano" is easier to use, while "vi" is a preferred editor for experienced ones.
  8. "top" gives a periodic update (within every five seconds by default) of running Linux tasks and "ps" clicks a snapshot of all processes currently going on and then prints them on your screen.
  9. df -h” gives current overall disk usage in gigabytes and "du -hs" calculates total directory size in a human readable format (e.g., 1K 234M 2G).
  10. find” and “locate” commands are used to locate files. "locate", however uses an indexed database but for much faster and comprehensible file search, "locate -u" will be used to periodically update new files on database.

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