Fatcow SSH Access

topimgWhen you are hunting for the right type of web hosting package for you, one of the things that you might stumble upon is the need to have SSH access. You see it as one of the bullet points checked in a long list of features for a hosting solution. But the thing is – do you really need it? Do you understand what SSH access means for your site? Do you know how to use it?

security lock with check iconYou might get caught up trying to get all the features you think you need but you may also be sacrificing a good price point versus having all these stuff that at the end of the day, you wont even notice if they were gone. Today, we plan to help you understand what these technical terms mean and what are the practical implications of having SSH access in your web hosting platform.

what does ssh stand for

ssl protection security iconSSH stands for Secure Shell. Secure Shell means that the data connection between your site and its server is encrypted. You know how you have a code to decode a secret message? It is sort of like that – you have a key that can decode the messages being sent from one part to the other so that in case someone else accidentally (or deliberately) reads the messages, if they don’t have the code, they won’t be able to use the data.

Naturally, SSH access is not for the beginner or first timer web administrator. On top of your server settings, web visitor stats, setting up your WordPress and even managing your domains, learning how to do SSH access might be too much things on your plate.

This is easily done if you have a team of web developers doing the maintenance and upkeep of the server and websites for you.

server hosting database iconHaving SSH access means that you can alter the very depths of the settings of your server. This also means having the power to affect other sites hosted in the same server. Since for beginners, shared hosting is the most recommended approach, it is very common for shared hosting solutions to NOT have SSH access available.

Website security – do you need it

We have a couple of questions for you to help you decide if you really need this kind of web security. Maybe you can actually do away with it, so that you can focus on other things.

  • Do you keep usernames and passwords of your users? If not, then you can probably do away with SSH access
  • Do you know how to tinker with the innermost workings of your server? If not, then don’t bother looking for SSH access.
  • Are you planning on doing routine changes to the core of the server? If not, then don’t plan on getting SSH access.
  • Do you own all the other sites hosted in the same server? Note that when you do SSH access changes, your changes may affect everyone else using the same server. So if you don’t own them all, don’t do it.

Best examples of sites needing SSH access

It is easy to require SSH access if your site will be dealing with:

  • Lots of confidential information like credit card information, passwords and the like
  • Highly customized content of the pages that need to have several servers backing them up
  • Massive, enterprise-level websites responsible for holding data for thousands of products

Is it an absolute necessity?

To make the long story short, no, SSH access is not absolutely necessary. Especially if your site is one of the following types:

  • Simple, straight forward eCommerce site selling online goods to a city
  • Brochure-like sites like a catalog for products, a list of courses for a school etc.
  • Blogs and news content sites that post daily content and updates
  • Multi-media hosting site like Chive or 9gag where people can view and contribute to the posted updates

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