Top 7 uses for a shell account

1. Always-on IRC client



#Control+A D

Using screen (a back-groundable terminal that can be easily resumed at any time) and irssi you can stay connected to IRC at all times, quietly sitting there… logging everything. 🙂

2. Website

Apart from everything else you can do with a shell account, having a personal website on the same machine as the programs and services you run can be very nifty.

Accessing your IRC logs via your website (so even at work/school/etc. you can check IRC quickly and easily) is one example.

3. Anonymous Browsing

Want a secure, anonymous way to browse? On Linux:

ssh user@server -D 9050

Will create a SOCKS port (9050) on your local machine. Point firefox/whatever at localhost:9050 (SOCKS) and browse away!

Windows clients support this too.

4. File Storage

Obviously I’m not saying you should back up your home harddrive to a shell, but doing minor backups can be very useful.

Got a few MBs of source code you want to have backed-up offsite? Why not put it on your shell?

Been writing some papers that are more important than a dead hard drive? Why not back them up every now and then?

scp -r /path/to/folder [email protected]:~

Will copy all files/folders in /path/to/folder to your home directory on Using ssh keys for password-less authentication allows you to have a simple, one-line backup script.

5. E-Mail, FTP and other network services

Behind a restrictive connection? If you have outbound access to port 22 (you can always request other ssh ports be used on ;)) you can access any port on that machine.

Check email, use ftp/etc, and choose whether it stays on the shell or if you download it for your machine.

6. Encryption

How can we not mention encryption?

How would you like to be able to store sensitive information remotely and encrypted? Keeping a list of passwords or financial information encrypted with gpg is easy and effective.

gpg –gen-key

#Fill out info, accept defaults.

#Select (O)kay instead of (Q)uit to enter your passphrase

#This can take some time. A lot.

gpg -e file-to-encrypt

#enter your name from the step above.

#push enter again to exit

gpg -d file-to-encrypt.gpg

#contents will be displayed on the screen

gpg -d file-to-encrypt.gpg > file-to-encrypt

#will put the contents in a file

Google will give you some more advanced stuff with gpg, have faith the above is the hardest part. 😛

7. Scheduled Tasks

Cron is a powerful tool. With it, you can run commands at pre-determined re-occurring intervals.

For example, want to email yourself a reminder a week in advance for certain people’s birthdays? Easy!

crontab -e

0 0 11 3 * mutt -s “Birthday Reminder!” [email protected] < ~/reminders/julie.txt
0 0 26 1 * mutt -s “Birthday Reminder!” [email protected] < ~/reminders/sarah.txt

mkdir ~/reminders

echo “Julie’s birthday is on 3-11-`date +%Y`” > ~/reminders/julie.txt

echo “Sarah’s birthday is on 1-26-`date +%Y`” > ~/reminders/sarah.txt

Already use the shell for screen+irssi? Why not email yourself a daily log of what was said (or lines containing your name)?

58 23 * * * cat ~/irclogs/*`date +%F`* | grep nickname > ~/daily.log

59 23 * * * mutt -s “IRC Log” [email protected] -i ~/daily.log

10 thoughts on “Top 7 uses for a shell account”

  1. i was beginning to think i may end up being the sole young woman which cared about this, at the very least currently i understand im not odd 🙂 i am going to be sure to have a look at various various threads after i get a little caffeine in me, it is stressful to read with out my coffee, I was until the wee hours of the morning last evening enjoying facebook poker and after polishing off a few ales i ended up getting rid of all my zynga poker chips adios for now 🙂

  2. hey there and thank you to your info ? I?ve definitely picked up something new from right here. I did then again expertise some technical issues the usage of this website, as I skilled to reload the site a lot of instances previous to I may just get it to load correctly. I had been brooding about if your web host is OK? Now not that I’m complaining, however slow loading circumstances times will sometimes impact your placement in google and can damage your high-quality rating if ads and ***********

  3. Whats the path to access my site here on St0rage?

    I placed test.html in ~/public_html but dunno what url to hit. Also do I need to request for an http server ?

    Thanks for the account

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.