Administer Ubuntu Server 14.04LTS remotely using Putty

Having installed Ubuntu Server we now need a way to be able to administer the server remotely.

NOTE: If you’re jumping into this guide here and have not been following from the start then in order to be able to use Putty to administer Ubuntu Server you will need to have installed “OpenSSH Server” when you installed Ubuntu.
For information, these instructions has been verified using the following versions of Ubuntu Server: Trusty Tahr 14.04LTS, 12.10
Quantal Quetzal, 12.04LTS Precise Pangolin, 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, 10.04 Lucid Lynx, 9.10 Karmic Koala, 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope & 8.10 Intrepid Ibex.

If you’ve not installed OpenSSH Server already then you can do so by issuing the following two commands from the command line on your server:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

or as previous mentioned you can issue both commands in one as follows:

sudo apt-get update;sudo apt-get install openssh-server

To administer the server remotely is not as hard as you might think. Putty is a very popular way of doing so although everything is done at “command line” which does scare quite a few people. However, later on we’ll install VNC to provide a graphical interface which will make things a whole lot simpler, especially for the Windows veterans amongst us.

So, back onto your Windows desktop computer now and download Putty.exe from here and install it on your desktop computer. When you launch it the main screen looks something like this:

Putty Screen

To connect to your new server using Putty you’ll need the Host Name or IP Address of the server. The Host Name is the name you gave the server when you installed Ubuntu. In the screenshot above you can see I’ve called mine MyMediaServer. You can of course just use the IP Address of the server. The IP address can be found via the admin menus on your router. Alternatively, it can be found by issuing the “ifconfig” command directly on the server itself. It’ll typically be something like

Make sure the SSH option on the above screen is checked, give the Session a name in the Saved Sessions box (in the screenshot above you can see I’ve called the Session MyMediaServer) and then click Save to save the session. I tend to use the same name for the Saved Session as I do for the device I’m connecting to, especially as I’m connecting to several different machines using Putty.

By default Putty uses a blue colour for some of the screen output which I personally find tricky to read. Maybe it’s my monitor or maybe just my eyes but either way I like to change it to something more readable. So, on the left hand side of the Putty Screen above you can see Colours within the Window option. Click on Colours and in the Select a colour to adjust: list scroll down to ANSI Blue. You will probably see the RGB value: options as being 0 0 187. I change mine to 0 255 255. You can of course pick any colour combination you like. Once you made any changes don’t forget to save them. You do this by clicking on the Session option at the top of the screen and then clicking Save.

Now click the Open button to connect to your server. When you connect to your server for the first time you’ll get a message similar to this:

Putty Alert

Just click Yes. Now you should see the following screen:

Putty Login Screen

Enter the login name and password you created during the installation of Ubuntu and you’ll now be at the command prompt, the same as if you had a monitor and keyboard attached to your server and were typing directly into it.

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