PuTTY SSH meaning

PuTTY is a free SSH, Telnet and Rlogin client for 32-bit Windows systems.

1.1 What are SSH, Telnet and Rlogin?

If you already know what SSH, Telnet and Rlogin are, you can safely skip on to the next section.

SSH, Telnet and Rlogin are three ways of doing the same thing: logging in to a multi-user computer from another computer, over a network.

Multi-user operating systems, such as Unix and VMS, usually present a command-line interface to the user, much like the ‘Command Prompt’ or ‘MS-DOS Prompt’ in Windows. The system prints a prompt, and you type commands which the system will obey.

Using this type of interface, there is no need for you to be sitting at the same machine you are typing commands to. The commands, and responses, can be sent over a network, so you can sit at one computer and give commands to another one, or even to more than one.

SSH, Telnet and Rlogin are network protocols that allow you to do this. On the computer you sit at, you run a client, which makes a network connection to the other computer (the server). The network connection carries your keystrokes and commands from the client to the server, and carries the server's responses back to you.

These protocols can also be used for other types of keyboard-based interactive session. In particular, there are a lot of bulletin boards, talker systems and MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons) which support access using Telnet. There are even a few that support SSH.

You might want to use SSH, Telnet or Rlogin if:

  • you have an account on a Unix or VMS system which you want to be able to access from somewhere else
  • your Internet Service Provider provides you with a login account on a web server. (This might also be known as a shell account. A shell is the program that runs on the server and interprets your commands for you.)
  • you want to use a bulletin board system, talker or MUD which can be accessed using Telnet.

You probably do not want to use SSH, Telnet or Rlogin if:

  • you only use Windows. Windows computers have their own ways of networking between themselves, and unless you are doing something fairly unusual, you will not need to use any of these remote login protocols.

1.2 How do SSH, Telnet and Rlogin differ?

This list summarises some of the differences between SSH, Telnet and Rlogin.

PuTTY SSH public key

PuTTY SSH Windows

PuTTY SSH server

PuTTY SSH Manager

PuTTY SSH manual