SSH and SCP - Department of Computer Science - Purdue University Skip to main content


What Are SSH and SCP?



SSH is a remote method to connect to CS Labs.

The instructions here diverge a little bit depending on your operating system. Please read below the heading for your appropriate operating system.

Windows - using PuTTY

To access the UNIX system, we are going to use the same software (PuTTY) that we use in lab.

You can download PuTTY from its official website. (The link provided links directly to the .exe you need to download.)

Double-click on the file you just downloaded, and enter under Host Name (or IP address). Then, hit Open.

You may get a window that looks like the one below when connecting to the server. If you do, just press Yes.

Type your Purdue login name and password when prompted. Note that PuTTY will not show any characters when you are typing in your password, so make sure to type it very carefully.

Now, you should be in somewhat more familiar territory. You can refer to the UNIX tutorial and to the older labs to turn in your work.

Mac OS X - using the terminal

If you are using a Mac, access a Terminal window (under Applications -> Utilities). We will be using a UNIX program called ssh (secure shell) to remotely connect to the UNIX machine, just like we used PuTTY on the Windows machines to do so.

Once you are at your Terminal prompt, enter the following command (if this example doesn't make sense to you, please read the UNIX tutorial). Remember to not type the dollar sign:

$ ssh

Replace your_purdue_login with your actual Purdue login.

You may receive a prompt which asks you something along the lines of:

The authenticity of the host '' cannot be established.
RSA key fingerprint is ... (some set of letters and numbers)
Are you sure you wish to continue connecting? (yes/no):

If so, type yes and hit Enter.

The program should prompt you for your password. Once you enter it, you will be remotely connected to the UNIX machine.

At this point, you should see a terminal interface which is virtually identical to the PuTTY interface you saw in lab, and you can follow general turn-in instructions.



SCP is a secure method to transfer files to/from CS Labs.

Command-line usage:

(to a remote system from local)
$ scp sourcefilename

(from a remote system to local)
$ scp destinationfilename

(recursive directory copy to a remote system from local)
$ scp -r sourcedirectory/

Linux / Solaris / AIX / HP-UX / Unix:

  • The "scp" command-line program should already be installed.

Microsoft Windows:

  • WinSCP
    Free, full-featured, graphical Windows SSH, SCP, and SFTP client.

Mac OS X:

  • You should have already installed the "scp" command-line program. You may start a local terminal window from "Applications->Utilities".
  • Cyberduck is a full-featured and free graphical SFTP and SCP client.
Last Updated: Feb 6, 2024 10:56 AM

Department of Computer Science, 305 N. University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907

Phone: (765) 494-6010 • Fax: (765) 494-0739

Copyright © 2024 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact the College of Science.