Logging In With SSH

CSE Login Servers

CSE run a number of login servers, allowing you to make use of CSE computing resources away from the CSE network.


You can connect to these servers to access your home directory and run programs in the CSE environment.

There are several servers, designed for different purposes:

login.cse.unsw.edu.au
General-purpose computing
williams.cse.unsw.edu.au
Simulations and long-running processes
grieg.cse.unsw.edu.au
Databases, appservers, etc.

All CSE login servers use your UNSW zID and zPass for authentication.

Using SSH

Secure Shell (SSH) is a network protocol for remote login to computer systems by users.

From Windows

Windows does not include an SSH client by default, so you will need to install one. We recommend PuTTY, a very popular free client.

To connect: run PuTTY, enter the appropriate server (for instance login.cse.unsw.edu.au) into the 'Host Name' box, and click Open.

Log in with your username and password when prompted, and you will be presented with a terminal screen that you can use, just the same as the terminal on a lab computer.

From OSX or Linux

OSX and Linux both include built-in SSH clients, so there's no need to install extra software.

To connect, simply open a Terminal window and run ssh z1234567@login.cse.unsw.edu.au, substituting your own zID and the server name as appropriate.

Running graphical (GUI) programs over SSH

By default, SSH clients only support text-mode programs; anything that needs to open its own window on your desktop (such as Gedit) will not work.

However, there is a way to enable this. Depending on your operating system, this may take a little setting up.

Note that running graphical programs over SSH can be fairly slow (especially over a slow internet connection), so we recommend that you don't use this as your main workflow.

From Windows

To run graphical programs on Windows, you will need to download an X server - we recommend XMing.

Once you've installed XMing, you will need to configure PuTTY to use it:

  • In the Settings screen, go to Connection -> SSH -> X11, and tick the box labelled 'Enable X11 forwarding'.
  • Then return to the 'Session' tab and click 'Save' to save this as the default.
  • Now connect to CSE, and you should be able to run programs such as Gedit remotely.

From OSX

OSX also needs an X-server installed; we recommend XQuartz.

Once it's installed, just add the -Y parameter to your SSH command, eg. ssh -Y z1234567@login.cse.unsw.edu.au

From Linux

Linux is the simplest of all, as an X server is installed by default on most distributions.

Just add the -Y parameter, as for OSX: ssh -Y z1234567@login.cse.unsw.edu.au

Persistent logins

Normally, when you close your SSH client (or lose your network connection), any programs running in your shell will also be closed.

This is what you want most of the time, but sometimes it's useful to be able to disconnect and reconnect to the same session.

For text-mode programs, the easiest way to do this is with the screen command. See this tutorial for details.

If you're working with graphical programs, the easiest way to do this is to use VNC instead.

Last edited by jbc 13/06/2017