The UNIX operating system uses a shell as the primary environment for performing administrative tasks. The text based shells, similar to DOS, allow you to navigate the file system and execute programs or commands in a powerful, flexible environment.

Accessing a Shell on your VPS

SSH is a secure protocol for connecting to your server shell. For help obtaining and configuring an SSH client, see Getting Started: Connecting via SSH.

Once you have connected to your server, you can use a number of Basic UNIX shell commands to navigate and perform administrative tasks on your Virtual Private Server. Because the shell is the primary method for performing administrative functions on your VPS, we strongly recommend you spend some time becoming familiar with basic shell functions if you are not already familiar with them.

In addition to the standard UNIX shell commands, we have designed a few VPS specific shell commands to help you with some basic administration tasks common in the VPS environment.

Different Shell Environments

UNIX has a number of different shells that you can use. Although most of these shells share many commands, there are different advantages to different shells. The default shell on a VPS is tcsh, although you can select from a number of others, including the popular bash shell. Please consult a UNIX manual for more information about the different shells and how you can change your default shell.

Configuring your Shell

Every UNIX shell can be configured for each individual user by using a configuration file. In addition to the .login file which is read every time a user logs in, each shell environment has a specific configuration file which is used by shell programs run by the user, as well as when a user is logged in using that shell. Because every shell uses a different file and has different configuration directives, we advise you to consult a UNIX manual for more information about customizing your shell settings.

Scheduled Shell Commands

The UNIX shell allows you to run shell commands at scheduled times using the Cron Program Scheduler. You can also Run Commands at startup.

Your VPS v2 uses GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) as the default timezone. You can change your server timezone if you want cron, your logs, and E-mail to use a different time.

Please note: the information on this page applies to ITS web hosting plans. It may or may not apply to other environments. If you are looking for a feature described here, or better support from your hosting provider, please consider hosting your site with ITS!

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