A Step-by-step Guide to Accessing Linux VPS From Windows

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LINUX VPS

Linux is by a mile the most used Operating System (OS) on VPS presently. Because it is an Open source-based code, Linux is free in use. It is modeled after Unix, which was originally developed in 1969. There are many variances for the Linux OS. Common Operating Systems like Ubuntu and CentOS are based on Linux. It is the easiest way to set up your server and no extra costs for licensing.

In a world filled with different web hosting options, accessing a Linux VPS from windows can sometimes be a daunting task to complete.

For servers, a larger percentage of people don’t have access to the physical server. This guide covers the basics you need to know when trying to connect to a Linux VPS from a Windows device.

How To Connect To Linux VPS

Two things are very important in other to login to a Linux server from a Windows device. You will need a secure shell (SSH), and third-party software. We will use puTTY in this case.

SSH

The SSH (Secure Shell) protocol is a technique used to secure remote login from one computer to another. It serves as an alternative option for strong authentication and protects communications security with strong encryption.

It is a secure alternative that allows users to directly access the command line of a Linux server. You will execute Linux commands to control your VPS Server, manipulate files and applications from the comfort of your home (or office). The secure shell port should be 22 by default.

PuTTY

Windows don’t include SSH capabilities by default in its command-line terminal. We will need an SSH client like PuTTY.

PuTTY is a free software application for Microsoft Windows operating systems that can make an SSH connection to your server. PuTTY is an SSH and telnet client. It supports raw socket connection and has a good emulation. It is open-source software that is developed and supported by a group of volunteers.

Download PuTTY here if you don’t have the application.

How To Connect Linux VPS To Windows

Now that we’ve established the fact that PuTTY is the application software, we’ll be using to make an SSH connection to our server.

  1. Click open the PuTTY Terminal client, the following window will appear
  2. Fill up the boxes as required by
    • Host Name: enter IP of your server
    • Port: Leave as default (22)
    • Connection Type: SSH
  3. Click “Open” to start the SSH session.
  4. If you’ve made no connection to the server from your computer,there’d be an option for you to accept the connection by clicking “Yes”
  5. Once the SSH Connection is open, a terminal prompt will appear, requesting your username.
  6. Your server’s root username is “root”.
  7. Enter your password, it can be found in the Clients Portal.
  8. Please note that you will not see your cursor moving, and characters might not seem typed when typing your password. This is a normal PuTTY security feature. After you enter your password hit “Enter”.

Congratulations! You’ve logged into your server with SSH successfully.

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How To Control A Linux VPS

Linux has pretty decent default security. But it also has weaknesses. Managing your Linux VPS server gives you an edge so you can stop the hackers at the gates before they breach your site and gain access to sensitive data.

These techniques don’t need to take a tremendous amount of time and effort, but a certain level of administrative experience is expected.

Let’s look at the ways to take control of your Linux VPS

Disable SSH Login For Root And Add A User

When you disable SSH login for the root user, an attacker will have to guess the user name in addition to the password which may enhance security.

Every Linux VPS has “root” as a username by default. So, hackers try brute force attacks to bypass the password and gain access. Disabling logins from the “root” username increases your security, as it stops hackers from guessing your user credentials.

You don’t have to log in as the root user, what you need is to create another username and use the “sudo” command to carry out root-level commands.

Using Sudo ultimately eliminates the need for root access. It gives users the authorization to run administrative commands or programs with the security rights of another user. When a user is added, you have the privileges of executing root commands using the sudo program.

Keep All Packages And Installed Os Updated

Updating your server software is easy and should be done. These updates mostly come with security patches. This is what you should do after the first login.

If you’re interested in getting update notifications via email, configure the operating system to send yum package updates. This makes keeping track of what’s changing easy. Alternatively, you can set up a cronjob if you want the task to be automated, to take care of all available security updates in your absence.

Don’t wait too long to apply security patches to reduce your chances of succumbing to a malicious attack.

Maintain A Strong Password Policy

Prevent any user account from having empty password fields, or to use simple passwords that’s easy to guess.

Your passwords should be a mix of lower and upper case, numbers, and symbols. Ban the use of dictionary words. Allow passwords to age, so users can be compelled into changing old passwords regularly. Disallow the re-use of previous passwords.

Set up a login failure limit and lock user accounts after repeated failed login attempts to protect your system from attacks.

Backup Regularly

When you don’t backup regularly, something is bound to go wrong which you might deeply regret, especially when you have no copy of your data. If care is not taken, the repercussions might deeply affect you, and how secure or thorough you do not matter.

Overreliance on your host to do backups is a needless risk you should never take. Performing your backups yourself is advisable, even if your hosting provider proclaims to do it on your behalf. Consider storing copies of it in different locations. You could also make use of the cloud so that your backup can be reached from anywhere.

We offer free managed backups for all customers, but we still recommend that customers store their own as an extra precaution. You can never have too many backups.

Change The SSH Port

It’s impossible to hack SSH when it can’t be found. When you change the SSH port number, it reduces the chances of malicious scripts connecting to the default port (22) directly.

Not Confirming if your chosen port number is being used by another service could lead to creating a clash.

Install Anti-malware/Antivirus Software

The major work of a firewall is to control incoming and outgoing network traffic and permit or block them based on a set of security rules. It acts as your first line of defense. Although firewalls have a lot of advantages,they are not fool-proof and can still come under the attack of harmful software. This is the primary reason you have to protect yourself further. Never fail to install anti-malware software.

The paid solutions are the most effective because they generate enough revenue to allow them to hire talented programmers and researchers who can improve the efficiency of the software. But if you can’t afford it, some free alternatives can get the job done.

Enforce SSH Public Key Authentication

To increase the security of authentication, you can enforce SSH login to use public-key authentication. A private and public key pair is what you will need to generate. Only your local machine will know and hold the private key, and the server will get a copy of the public key. A user needs a private key to authenticate the server. You can use your private and public key pair for authentication with multiple servers.

How does it work?

When a client tries to connect to a server with public-key authentication, the client needs to know if the server is truly what it claims to be. This is known as the Host Key Verification. To complete this verification, the server has to generate a public and private key pair. This pair of keys are generated when the SSH server is initialized.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between Linux VPS vs Windows VPS?

What distinguishes them is their Operating Systems. Linux is originally meant for Linux, and Windows for Windows OS.

Do I need to know Linux well to connect to a Linux VPS box and set up a website?

You will need some basic knowledge of Linux to get you going, but connecting to Linux VPS via Windows is pretty much easy. With SSH and programs like putty.

How long does it take to set up my Linux VPS?

Once you register and make a payment your VPS gets set up immediately.

What are the services I can render with a Linux VPS server?

As long as your work is in line with the terms of service, you can run a website, VPN, operate game servers and develop codes. You are free to use your VPS Linux server as you wish.

How do I create my SSH Key?

You can set up the SSH key pair using the ssh-keygen command. First, copy and install the public ssh key using the ssh-copy-id command on a Linux or Unix server. Then you can add it yourself to Sudo.

Conclusion

Accessing Linux VPS from Windows using PuTTy is pretty much straightforward. Once you stick to the rules, you’re bound to get it right.

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