Enabling SSH access

Acquia Cloud creates a Unix user account for each application called the site user. The application's Drupal/PHP code runs as this user, and all of an application's environments (Development, Staging, and Production) use the same Unix user. If there are multiple applications on a single web server, Unix security permissions keep them isolated from each other, because each application runs as a different Unix user.

To use SSH to sign into your web server as the site user, register SSH public keys for your Acquia user profile. SSH keys provide a more secure way of signing in to a virtual private server with SSH than using a password alone. You can add as many SSH keys as you want, each with its own nickname to help you keep track of them. However, you always sign in to the server as the site user's Unix username. The SSH key nickname is not a Unix username; it is just for your convenience in identifying your SSH keys.

When you SSH in to your Acquia Cloud server, always SSH to the full DNS name of your server and not to your application or website URL host name. To view your web servers, sign in to the Acquia Cloud interface, select your application and environment, and then go to the Servers page. The following list provides sample host names:

  • srv-1.devcloud.hosting.acquia.com (Acquia Cloud Professional)
  • ded-1.prod.hosting.acquia.com (Acquia Cloud Enterprise, single-tier)
  • web-1.prod.hosting.acquia.com (Acquia Cloud Enterprise, multitier)

Enabling SSH access to your server

To use SSH to access your server, you must both:

  • 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.

Note that it may take a few minutes after you add the key until you can use it to access your server.

Accessing your server using SSH

After you enable SSH access, you can access your application's web servers using a command in this form:

ssh [SSH address]

You can find the SSH address for an environment in the Acquia Cloud interface, on the Servers page of the environment. 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 thus will be the default in your SSH session.

For example, this command accesses the Staging environment of a website named example on the server named srv-456.devcloud.hosting.acquia.com:

ssh example.test@srv-456.devcloud.hosting.acquia.com

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.

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

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.
  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.

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