What is SSH?


SSH, or Secure Shell, is a cryptographic network protocol that enables secure communication between a client and a server over an unsecured network.


Think of SSH like a secure phone line between two people. In a world where everyone's phone calls can be easily intercepted and listened to, SSH is a private phone line that scrambles the conversation so that only the intended recipient can understand it.

In other words

SSH is a secure way to communicate and exchange data between a client and a server over an unsecured network.

Why is SSH important?

It's one thing to know what SSH is, but that is worthless if you don't know why you should know what a code repository is in the first place. Let's break down the importance of this tech term based on two high level categories. We'll walk through an explanation as well as provide a score, 1-10, that shows you how much you should care about SSH.

Pre-Product: 3/10

If you do not have a product yet, SSH may not be as important for you. However, as you start building your product and setting up your infrastructure, SSH will become more relevant. It is essential for securely accessing and managing your servers, which will be crucial as your startup grows.

Live Product: 4/10

If you have a live product, SSH is more important. Ensuring secure communication between your servers and clients is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your product and protecting sensitive data. SSH helps you achieve this by encrypting data and providing secure authentication methods.

Examples of SSH

So you know what SSH is, by definition. You know if you should care about it or not depending on your situation as a business/company/product. To dig in deeper, we will walk through some tools and processes so we can make sure you really have a solid grasp on SSH.

SSH Key Pair Generation

A common use of SSH is generating a public and private key pair. The public key is shared with the server, while the private key is kept secret by the client. When a client wants to connect to the server, the server uses the public key to encrypt a message, which can only be decrypted by the client using the private key. This ensures secure communication between the two parties.

SSH File Transfer

SSH can be used to securely transfer files between a client and a server. This is done using a protocol called SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol). SFTP encrypts both the data and commands, ensuring that sensitive information is not exposed during the file transfer process.

SSH Tunneling

SSH tunneling is a method of forwarding network traffic through an encrypted SSH connection. This can be useful for securely accessing remote resources, such as databases or web applications, without exposing them to the public internet. SSH tunneling can also be used to bypass network restrictions, such as firewalls or content filters.

Key Takeaways:

  1. SSH is a secure way to communicate and exchange data between a client and a server over an unsecured network.
  2. If you do not yet have a product, SSH is less important, but will become more relevant as you build your product and infrastructure.
  3. If you have a live product, SSH is important for maintaining secure communication and protecting sensitive data.
  4. Examples of SSH include key pair generation, file transfer, and tunneling.
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