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What can I do with Telnet?

 5:08 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I logged onto my website for the first time using Telnet. Before, I've only accessed my website with a browser and with dreamweaver.

What can I do? Anything exciting out there?

So far I've managed to navigate my directory structure, but I'm sure theres more than that.

Anybody know of any websites that talk about this?




 5:30 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sure, plenty. But, please, please, DISABLE telnet ASAP! It is quite insecure. You should be using SSH to do the same thing. I would never expose Telnet on the Internet, and frankly, any web hosting company that does so is irresponsible, and you should be shopping for a new web host pronto!

This gives you a Linux (or whatever-nix) "shell prompt". You have a wide range of command-line tools available to monitor and change your site. Think DOS command-prompt, if you've been using computers that long.

In addition to a command shell, SSH (but not Telnet) normally will give you SFTP, a secure means of transfering files back and forth. Using additional software installed on your PC, you can even "mount" your web server's filesystem as a drive letter on your PC, making things very convenient.

Most modern FTP clients also support SFTP. And you can get free or inexpensive SSH clients for access to the command shell. (Putty is one free, open-source option.)

If you run Linux at your home or office, you can even write shell scripts on your local machine that do things on your server or with your server's data. On a Linux system, scp is a convenient alternative to SFTP. For example, you could write a script on your local computer that makes backup copies of critical files onto your local machine.


 11:28 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Putty rocks. :-) Yes by all means turn telnet off. Another good use for command line access via SSH is to run your scripts in the server environment as opposed to your local computer, it's a great debugging tool. Create and modify htpasswd, configure cron and crontab, edit files as root so no other user can edit them, and all the programs jtara mentioned.


 2:09 pm on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks for you replies.

Let me see if I'm saying this correctly.

What I'm doing is on my windows machine, I'm clicking on "Run" and typing in "telnet".

At the prompt I type "o www.example.com", then I get a second prompt for a username and a password.

Is this what you two are thinking I should turn off (and how would I turn it off)?

Does anyone know how I can access SSH? At the Run prompt, if I had SSH installed, would it load by typing "ssh"?



 3:12 pm on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is this what you two are thinking I should turn off (and how would I turn it off)?

Yes. You should turn off the Telnet server on your web site. There's no danger having a Telnet client on your PC, though.

The problem with it is that the password is sent across the net "in the clear", and could be snooped. SSH is a much better solution.

How you turn this off varies. If you have a control panel for controlling your website, you will probably find a check-box there. Otherwise, you'd turn it off by modifying a configuration file, which might vary from one system to another.

Do make sure you SSH installed and enabled first before turning off Telnet. :)

Does anyone know how I can access SSH? At the Run prompt, if I had SSH installed, would it load by typing "ssh"?

Depends on your SSH client. If you are running a Linux system at home, you almost certainly have an SSH command-line client already. Just type:

ssh user@example.com

If you are running Windows, you will have to download an SSH client, and/or an SFTP client. Most of these will be GUI programs, so you start them by clicking an icon.

Putty is a popular choice, and it is free.


 6:27 pm on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

OK, I'm on my way.

I'm no longer using telnet but an SSH program.

I'm becoming aware of things like CRON, and I have some things I remember from DOS.

Does anybody know of any good websites with walkthroughs or introductions to doing things on the website at a command prompt level.

I just pinged myself, and set a cron file (I think).


 11:56 pm on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

dont use cron just to play ..your host wont like it ..and may suspend your service ( if I was on your server with you I would hope they would )..then again normally it's written into the host TOS ..no cron jobs that are not necessary unless by prior arrangement ..

as for telnet ..there was a time when hosting didnt let just anybody have telnet ..used to be "prove you know how to use it" .."and can keep it halfway safe" ..or "you cant have it" ..If a host offered me telnet from the get go ..no questions asked ..I'd change hosts instantly ..in case they were doing the same to everyone else ..like apparently your host is ..

[edited by: Leosghost at 11:58 pm (utc) on Jan. 26, 2007]

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