Information for: DEVELOPERS   PARTNERS

Enabling SSH access

For each application, Acquia Cloud creates a Unix user account called the site user. An application’s Drupal or PHP code runs as a site user, and all of the application’s environments, including the Development, Staging, and Production environments, use this same account. If there are multiple applications on a single web server, Unix security permissions keep the applications isolated from one another because each application runs as a different Unix user.

To use SSH to sign in to your web server as the website user, you must register SSH public keys for your Acquia user profile which provides a more secure way of signing in to a virtual private server than using a password alone. You can add as many SSH keys as you want, all of which have their own nicknames to help you keep track of them. It is important to note that the SSH key nickname is not a Unix username; it only serves to help you identify your SSH keys. You must sign in to the server using the website user’s Unix username.


If you use Git to manage your Drupal code, you must enable SSH to access your server.


To use SSH to access your server, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have the appropriate permissions. This means you must be a member of a team assigned to the application, and have a role that includes accessing the server with SSH.

  • Register an SSH public key in your Acquia profile, as described in Adding a public key.


    The ssh-ed25519 key is not supported on Acquia Cloud because it is not FIPS compliant.

After you add the SSH key, it may take a few minutes until you can use it to access your server.

Accessing your server using SSH

When you connect to an environment with SSH, your PATH and other environment variables are set up in exactly the same way as they are for web processes, cron jobs, and Cloud hooks. In particular, whichever version of PHP you have configured will be the first in the PATH, and therefore will be the default in your SSH browser session.

To use SSH to access your servers, use one of the following methods:

Using SSH with the command line

After you enable SSH access, you can access your application’s web servers using a command in the following form:

ssh [SSH address]

where [SSH address] is your environment’s server name. To determine your environment’s server name, complete the following steps:

  1. Sign in to Acquia Cloud
  2. Select your application and environment.
  3. In the menu to the left, click Servers.

The following list provides sample host names based on your subscription type:

  • (Acquia Cloud Professional)
  • (Acquia Cloud Enterprise, single-tier)
  • (Acquia Cloud Enterprise, multitier)
  • web-1.[realm] (Acquia Cloud Site Factory, replacing [realm] with your realm)

As an example, the following command accesses the Staging environment of a website named example on the server named


You can SSH into multi-tier web servers or single-tier servers; however, you can’t SSH directly into Acquia Cloud Enterprise database servers. Database servers generally have a server name that starts with fsdb or fsdbmesh. For Acquia Cloud Enterprise applications, you can check the Servers page in the Acquia Cloud interface to check the server type. If the service for a server is listed as “Database”, you can’t SSH directly into it.

Using SSH on Windows with PuTTY

Windows users can use PuTTY, a free Telnet/SSH client for Windows, to open a window that allows command-line access to your files.

To install PuTTY on your computer, complete the following steps:

  1. Download PuTTY to your computer.

  2. To run the application, double-click the PuTTY icon.


    When you run PuTTY, enter the connection information for the server, or load a browser session previously configured to connect to your web server), and then click Open.

  3. In Category > Session, in the Host Name (or IP address) field, enter the SSH address of the environment. You can find the SSH address for an environment in the Acquia Cloud interface, on the Servers page of the environment.

  4. In Category > Connection > SSH > Auth, in the Private key file for authentication field, browse for the private SSH key file you saved on your computer.

  5. In Category > Session, in the Saved Sessions field, enter a name for the server connection, and then click Save.

Use the session you created to connect securely to Acquia Cloud.


If you receive the following warning: WARNING: REMOTE HOST IDENTIFICATION HAS CHANGED!, it may mean that your server has been relaunched. For information about how to handle this warning message, see SSH and RSA key warnings after a server relaunch.