SSH clients, Telnet programs and command lines

Good SSH clients, telnet programs and command lines make your work as a network administrator easier. With these tools you can easily transmit commands.

Remote access to servers and computers in remote locations is possible from almost any device thanks to SSH clients and Telnet terminals, if you have the right software. Command lines serve a similar purpose, but are limited to local use. Either way, these tools give administrators and system administrators the tools they need to access essential system functions, encrypted or unencrypted.

Here we explain the most important programs of this kind, reveal our insider tips and inform you about the most important tricks in using the software.

PuTTY

PuTTY belongs to the free SSH and Telnet clients and is run as an open source project. You can install it on your Windows or Linux PC. After installation, you can access remote servers and devices with the program in encrypted form, sending commands via the command line. Even more security awaits you thanks to the essential user verification.

As free software, PuTTY offers a simple interface and essential remote functions.
PuTTY as free software offers a simple interface and essential remote functions.

As the corresponding text commands require a certain amount of technical know-how, as is the case with most SSH clients and Telnet terminals, software such as PuTTY is mainly used by system administrators and network administrators. Although PuTTY is one of the less complex programs – not least because of its structured user interface – you should bring along IT knowledge accordingly.

PuTTY is compatible with 3DES, AES, Arcfour, Blowfish, DES and IPv6 interfaces. A big advantage of PuTTY is, besides its user-friendliness, its price. Since this is an open source project, you can download the application for free. Regular updates ensure that the application can be adapted to changing system standards in a timely manner. If this hasn’t convinced you yet, the speed and the economical file size speak in favor of taking a look inside the program.
Windows PowerShell Core: More modules and possibilities

Another practical application is Windows PowerShell Core, often abbreviated as Windows PowerShell or PowerShell Core. Although the name suggests it, you can not only install this tool for free on Windows PCs, but also use it on Mac and Linux PCs. With Windows PowerShell Core you can send single commands or entire scripts to external systems. Here the similarity to PuTTY becomes clear.

PuTTY and PowerShell have been popular with many users for many years. Nevertheless, due to their age, both programs are kept quite simple and limited to the essentials. A contemporary alternative and for many a new star in the SSH client sky is MobaXterm. The program is available for download for Windows, also as portable version.

MobaXterm

You can easily drag and drop commands into the input window of MobaXterm. Commands can be easily dragged and dropped into the input window of MobaXterm. (Source: Mobatek)

MobaXterm includes a wealth of the most important remote network tools (SSH, X11, RDP, VNC, MOSH, FTP) and Unix commands (Is, cat, sed, rsync, bash, grep, awk and many more). This makes MobaXterm an all-in-one application with much more content than the competition. The operation is intuitive and a clearly arranged and designable interface with clear symbols, names and tabs makes it convenient for experienced network administrators.

The comprehensive Session Manager helps you keep track of your connected servers and devices, and if you’re too comfortable typing commands in the graphical SFTP browser, you can also drag and drop them from a pop-up command list into the input window. If you wish, you can send a single command to multiple servers simultaneously. Security is promised by the comprehensive password manager with master password. MobaXterm offers a nicely designed user menu with unique icons and tabs.

On top of that you can extend MobaXterm with various free plug-ins and tools, configure macro commands and get a better overview of your input line by using color codes. MobaXterm leaves nothing to be desired in the area of SSH clients and Telnet terminals and has completely convinced us. However, this quality is not quite good value for money with a mid-range two-digit Euro price per user, at least if you want to use the Professional Edition to its full extent. Otherwise you get the most important functions already with the free Home Edition and are only limited in the number of sessions, SSH tunnels and macros.

From free SSH clients to expensive terminals

Standard functions such as the actual command transmission or the creation of entire scripts for external systems are often already included in free applications like PuTTY or Microsoft PowerShell Core. In general, you can download most SSH clients and Telnet terminals for free, many programs of this kind are private projects or open source products after all.

Downloading and using such programs is only useful for you if you want to use them for network administration or similar tasks. Especially if you do this professionally, you should think about buying an all-in-one solution like MobaXterm Professional. This will make your work much more pleasant and comfortable.

A special feature of PowerShell is the input itself. You don’t have to write individual commands (commandlets) in a .NET language for them to be recognized and implemented correctly. Instead, PowerShell even works with real objects, thanks to the .NET framework and the corresponding Base Class Library (BCL). For experienced system administrators, this gives them more options when entering commands, but it also makes the program more complicated for inexperienced users.

Therefore, especially experienced administrators and IT specialists should use Windows PowerShell Core. The software is fast and reliable, but could be improved in terms of security and encryption. Apart from that, we have few negative comments to make and since the download is free of charge, it’s best to try it out yourself to see if you like the program.

If you are a private user and want to access other devices, PCs or other systems for other reasons, we rather recommend downloading a remote desktop program, of which we have listed the best ones under this link.

If you want to pass on specific commands locally to your Windows 10 computer, you can activate the command prompt under Windows without additional software.

Activate NAS: To access the network storage

SSH clients offer a further possible application beyond all this. You can reach your NAS via SSH. The NAS is a very practical network storage device. What advantage does it offer you? We give you 20 reasons why you need a NAS system.