What is Telnet?

telnet protocolThe Telnet protocol is a standard used on local area networks or on the Internet to provide users with access to a remote system via TCP/IP. The connection is via terminal (console) but has several disadvantages such as no encryption of the connection by default meaning that any data send or received via telnet protocol can be intercepted by malicious user and also there are no authentication methods for most of the implementations used in the Telnet protocol. Telnet was developed back in 1969 so it was mainly used in private academic or government networks. Due to the fact that Internet did not exist yet those security holes didn’t matter back then. Today the use of the Telnet protocol is rare because the Secure Shell (SSH protocol) is a more reliable alternative.

SSH protocol and its purpose

ssh clientThe SSH protocol is advanced networking protocol used for encrypted transmission of data and a replacement of the Telnet protocol when a remote connection over the Internet is required. By using SSH you can remotely administrate any computer or server with SSH client installed on it and just like the Telnet it is done via console in text mode. However this time all sent or received data, including passwords are encrypted. SSH protocol is also used for tunneling or port forwarding which means that it can be used as a VPN alternative. In this case an unsecured TCP/IP connection is redirected to the SSH client that redirects the connection to the end client. The redirected connection is encrypted. SSH can also be combined with SFTP as an alternative of the regular FTP connection if you need to use an encrypted protocol to transfer FTP data to your web server.

Telnet/SSH Clients

telnet clientIf you have a VPS or semi-dedicated server then in order to access and administrate your server as a root then you will need a SSH or Telnet client. We recommend PuTTY as it is free open-source SSH and Telnet client with many features and tools to help you customize your web server the way you want. If you are new to web hosting you may want to check our free web hosting plan to get started with creating your first website.

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