Using SSH to Manage Your EVBackup Accounts

This page covers a variety of commands revolving around the Secure Shell (SSH). SSH is the best way to login and manage your Open Remote Backup Account.

SSH Clients and Logging In

To use SSH, you'll need an SSH client:

Unix, Linux, BSD, MacOS X, and other *nix
If you're using a flavor of *nix that was installed within the last 10 years or so, chances are you have an SSH client. You need only to open a terminal and login.
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MS Windows
Windows doesn't have a native SSH client, so you'll need to download and install one.
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PuTTY is a very commonly used SSH client for Windows. What's neat about PuTTY is that there really is no installation: just download the executables. There are two notable differences between PuTTY and a Unix system.

First, the command used to invoke an SSH session is different. Instead of:

ssh'll enter:


Second, the SSH keys generated by PuTTYgen are not compatible with our system. Unfortunately, PuTTYgen cannot produce RFC 4716 compliant keys at this time. However, Pageant (PuTTY's SSH agent) is capable of importing RFC 4716 compliant keys. Therefore, if someone has created a keypair for you then PuTTY is a great choice.
To enable access to PuTTY directly from the command line, you'll need to add PuTTY's directory to the Windows path. Assuming you've downloaded the PuTTY executables to c:\program files\putty, In a command prompt window, enter the following:

set PATH=%programfiles%\putty;%PATH%

Download PuTTY »

Opening a Terminal in Windows and Mac

To open a terminal (command prompt) in Windows:

  1. Open the Run prompt by holding down the Window key on your keyboard and pressing R.
  2. In the run box, enter CMD and click the OK button.

To open a terminal in Mac:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Click: Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

Creating an SSH Keypair with ssh-keygen

This step is optional: if you want to connect to your space without having to enter a password, or you want to script SSH commands, you should set up a keypair.

  • Each of the following commands are entered as a single line.
  • You'll want to run all of the commands here as the 'super-user' (using sudo), so that you have full access to all the files on your machine.
1. Create an SSH key pair with ssh-keygen
sudo ssh-keygen -f /backup/ssh_key -t rsa -N ''
Note the command ends with two single quote characters.
  • Why do I need an SSH keypair? »
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An SSH key pair allows you to securely log in to your backup server without entering a password each time.

2. Upload and activate the public key to your EVBackup account
sudo rsync -e ssh /backup/
ssh addkeys
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Successful SSH key pair generation in Linux

Successful SSH key pair generation in Linux

  • Notes about uploading »
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  • Substitute user with your EVBackup account name.
  • When you enter this command, you might see a message indicating that your computer doesn't recognize the server. Just enter yes when prompted and you'll never be bothered again.
  • You'll be asked to enter the password for your EVBackup account. Once the key is uploaded and activated, this won't be necessary again.
  • If Terminal simply returns (looking as though nothing has happened), then you have successfully uploaded your key!
3. Test that you can login without a password
sudo ssh -i /backup/ssh_key
  • How do I know if it worked? »
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If you were successful, then something very similar to the following will appear in Terminal:

Last login: Thu Jul 15 16:16:44 2010 from c-28-26-13-101.
Copyright (c) 1983, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

[your-account@quark ~]$

Invoking an SSH Session

To start an SSH session, open a terminal and enter the following:


To open an SSH session without being prompted for a password:

ssh -i /path/to/private/key

To run a command on the remote server with SSH:

ssh [command] [command-args]

To redirect the results of a command from the remote server to a file (e.g. a log):

ssh [command] [command-args] >> /local/file

To navigate to a remote directory when you log in to the remote server:

ssh cd remote/directory

Common Account Management Tasks

Here are some of the more common tasks that you can do with your EVBackup account.

To check your account quota:

ssh -i /path/to/private/key du -sh

To obtain a list of the directory sizes on your account:

ssh -i /path/to/private/key du -hd1

To obtain an MD5 checksum of a file on your account:

ssh -i /path/to/private/key md5 [remote-file]

To obtain a recursive directory listing — with human readable file sizes, group / owner lists, file timestamps, and hidden files shown:

ssh -i /path/to/private/key ls -AlhpR

To obtain the current time from the EV server (GMT):

ssh -i /path/to/private/key date

To zip up a directory on your account:

ssh tar -cvzf zip-file.tgz directory/to/zip