Set up PuTTY to SSH into Dreamhost accounts

I am working on a new page and needed to install the XML_RSS PEAR script yesterday on my Dreamhost Account. I tried the customer support and went to their twiki. Dreamhost supplies a basic set of PEAR functions and you have to create a new folder and upload any extras that you’d like to use. Normally, I’d quit at this point and try something else. I hate the command line. It gives me heeby jeebies. If I can’t do something with a mouse, I’m quitting.

But, in the spirit of learning new things, I persevered. I installed PuTTY ( on my desktop and began the effort of logging in and updating the server. (PuTTY is a simple program that allows you to establish SSH connections with a server) Alas, it was a no-go. I couldn’t establish a connection. At this point, I do what is normal for a front-end engineer. I fired up the Yahoo! messenger and sent plaintive cries to the back-end engineers that seemed to be online for help. Unfortunately, they had just left their computers running and were nowhere to be seen.

So, back to the Dreamhost twiki. Luckily, their SSH documentation links to a really great blogpost by Phile Planet. This tutorial on How to setup SSH on Windows XP walks you through the process step-by-step. It even predicted that one step may not work for me and offered the workaround.

Logging in

I was able to login at this point by going to the command prompt, typing plink and entering my username and password (Dreamhost people: it’s the FTP username/password). I don’t know why the original tutorial went further to do something else but if it doesn’t work for you, try doing the extra step

  • Go back to the command prompt and type pageant. Double-click on the computer wearing a hat when it pops up in your system tray
  • Click Add Key and go to where you stored that private key. Double-click it and enter your password for the key if you made one earlier
  • Now go to the command prompt and type plink
  • Enter your username and it should just login from there

That’s about it. Here are a few links with stuff you can do in the Shell

Take a look at this tutorial if you are using Dreamhost, or any host for that matter, and Windows XP. It will take you about 15 minutes to set up PuTTY on your machine and hook it into the Dreamhost servers. You’ll never know when you need something like this and it’s nice to know that you’ve already got it setup ahead of time.

Published by Ted

Accessibility is more than making sure images have alternate text. I work with engineers, product managers, and designers to understand how accessibility impacts the users, set realistic deadlines, and create the solutions to provide a delightful experience to all users, regardless of their physical, sensory, or cognitive ability.

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1 Comment

  1. It would be great if there was an active link to the tutorial but unfortunately it has gone. Do you not have the original instructions? It would be a great help.

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