Rackspace Cloud Essentials - Going from Windows to Linux using PuTTY

Now that you know how to create a new server through the Control Panel, your next step is to make a secure remote connection from your local machine to your Rackspace Cloud Server.  This article looks at using a client called PuTTY to form an SSH (Secure Shell) connection from a Windows OS to a Linux Cloud Server.

Note: For an OnMetal Server, see Uploading an SSH key in the Using OnMetal Cloud Servers article for applicable OnMetal steps.

This will require you to install PuTTY or another SSH client which you do at your own risk. PuTTY is not affiliated with Rackspace in any way, but their software is simple to use, is freely-available, and has a reliable reputation.


Windows Versions

For the installation and screenshots shown below, we used Windows XP, Service Pack 2.  Different versions of Windows may have slightly different screens.

Download and install

First we will need to download PuTTY from their website.  Please comply with their license requirements.

Once installed, launch the application.



The default port for SSH is 22 and is already set in the window.  

In the Host Name enter the IP address of your Cloud Server. Ensure the Connection Type is set to SSH. In the Saved Sessions field, you can assign a name for this connection. Feel free to save it to whatever name you want: it simply saves time next time you use Putty. You can have a different name for each of your Cloud Servers


Accept key

If this is the first time you have used Putty to SSH into your Cloud Server, a warning similar to the one below will be shown. If you are sure that you have entered the correct details (IP address, etc) then click 'yes'. Subsequent connections will not show this warning as the the host key will now be cached in the registry of your local machine. You can expect to see that warning again if you connect to your Cloud Server from a different machine.


Username and Password

Once you have accepted the warning, the terminal will ask for your username and password:

If this is the first time logging in to the server, you must log in as the user: root

When prompted for the password for the user: root - enter the current root password for this server. When you enter this password at the prompt, it will not echo to the screen.  

If you have entered the correct root password and hit the Enter key, the prompt will respond with a shell prompt as seen below:

[root@yourservername ~]#

From here you can go about operating on your server with all permissions. We recommend that the first thing you do is to change the root password to something personalized. You can easily do this using the passwd command.

From the shell prompt, enter the command: passwd

Enter the new password you would like to set for your server. Again, you will not see the password echo to the screen.

Re-Enter the new password and Enter.

If the passwords match, you will receive a confirmation that all authentication tokens have been updated successfully.

You will now use this password with the root user whenever connecting to your server.

Connecting from Windows to Linux required that you install a separate SSH client.  If you are a Mac user, you can read the next article to learn how to connect to a Linux server using Terminal, a console program included with the operating system.

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