SSH (Secure Shell) is the standard tool for remote command-line access to Linux and other systems.

You will need SSH to connect to our virtual servers and dedicated servers, including Raspberry Pi servers. You can also use SSH to connect to your hosting account if you have selected the shell access option.

SSH clients

If you are using Linux, Mac OS X, or another Unix-based system, then you can use OpenSSH. It is likely that OpenSSH is already installed, and available as the ssh command in a terminal or command window.

If you are using Windows, we recommend installing PuTTY.


SSH supports two different authentication methods:

  • Password authentication
  • Key-based authentication

Whilst password authentication is very straightforward, key-based authentication has a number of advantages and is generally preferred.

If you are setting up a new Mythic Beasts Raspberry Pi or Virtual Server, you will need to use key-based authentication, at least for your first login.

Password authentication

If the account you are logging into has a password configured, then you can log in using that password. If you're using OpenSSH, simply use the SSH command:

ssh <username>@<hostname>

Where hostname is the name of the server you're connecting to, and username is the user. For a virtual or dedicated server, you will initially connect to the root account. For example:


You will be prompted for your password.

Key-based authentication

Key-based authentication uses a public/private key pair to authenticate you. The private key is stored on your computer, and the public key is stored on the server you want to connect to. Authentication happens by proving that you have the private key that corresponds to the public key lodged on the server.

To use key-based authentication you will need to generate an SSH key pair. Please see our instructions on SSH key-based authentication.

You will be asked for your public key when you provision a new server with Mythic Beasts.


Key-based authentication has a number of advantages over password authentication:

  • You can give multiple users access to the same account without sharing a password. You can easily revoke the access of an individual user.
  • Adding access to a new server doesn't require sharing a sensitive password. Instead, you only need to provide your public key, which is safe to share.
  • Unlike password authentication, where you must send your password to the server you're connecting to, your private key never leaves your computer.

File copying

Often you will need to copy files to or from one of our systems, for example, when you are uploading a website to a hosting server. The scp command is a simple command-line file copier, modelled after the cp command.

You can also use sftp or any desktop file management application that supports the SFTP protocol.