So basically I was looking on the Internet for free SSH server as I wanted to exercise some Linux commands and I only have Windows installed on my laptop.

I saw so many Free SSH servers on the result pages that I started to wonder if there are any risks associated with using one?

  • Re Windows: If you have W10 and turn on developer mode, you can use the new Ubuntu subsystem to do your Linux commands. – Julian Knight Dec 15 '16 at 20:20
  • The part about why there are so many and how they pay the bills isnt really about security so I would say it is off topic here. I took the liberty of editing it out - feel free to roll back if you disagree. – Anders Dec 15 '16 at 21:17
  • @Anders: I agree with you with the *off topic / on topic*/ part. But the original question seemed to be about free operators running ssh servers, while the edited one seems to be about ssh server softwares. IMHO OP should clearly say which is his question. – Serge Ballesta Dec 16 '16 at 7:38
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    Note that installing an SSH server doesn't imply you'll get a Linux shell if you connect to it. If you install such a server on Windows you'll get the Windows CMD. If you want to play around with Linux you actually have to install Linux, possibly in a virtual machine. – André Borie Dec 16 '16 at 10:34
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    Acces 3rd party server from my computer which will be ssh client – yoyo_fun Dec 16 '16 at 13:59

OpenSSH is one of the implementations of SSH (like Dropbear for example).

SSH is a protocol to securely connect to servers.

Now, I just searched for "free ssh servers" and the results you are seeing are rather VPN services.

If you want to mess with SSH, just get a Linux distro and play with it (really nothing to do though)

  • But how is Open SSH different from other implementations ? Should both the client and the server have the same implementation of SSH installed or SSH is just concerned with the way the messaged are passed between the server and the client ? – yoyo_fun Dec 15 '16 at 19:50
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    It is Open Source and was the first so acquired the name! ;-) It isn't really all that different other than being probably the most commonly used of all. Client and server are independent, SSH is a well defined standard and interoperability is high. SSH defines the protocol and provides a set of standardised interfaces that allow remote shells and file transfers. Check out Wikipedia and the IETF for details. – Julian Knight Dec 15 '16 at 20:23
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    OpenSSH is probably the most publicly audited bit of code in the world. There are at least two books about its architecture and development processes. The code itself is actually readable (and everyone can read it). I have seen a study suggesting it has over 80% of the ssh market share (with about 15% of servers unidentified). Spin up a vm and enjoy all the benefits of a real operating system! – symcbean Dec 15 '16 at 22:50
  • To clarify: OpenSSH is on the server side. It will work with PuTTY, FileZilla, etc. No need to change anything on the client side. – SDsolar Dec 16 '16 at 19:11

To answer the OP directly, the risk is that the operator of that server will be able to see your IP Address and everything you do there. Plus, most free systems require some kind of registration, which likely exposes your email address.

Disclosing your email address might invite spear phishing emails which can result in what happened to the Democrats and Colin Powell. In both cases, Podesta and Powell clicked on links that were in messages that appeared to be from their email provider, and presto change-o they were pwned.

A side issue: I completely agree with the comments that you would be a lot safer downloading Virtualbox and a Linux distro and just keep all your business at home, if all you want to do is explore Linux. But that gets old real quickly unless you have a project in mind.

Please allow me to suggest you sign up with a reputable hosting provider like Bluehost or someone like that. Once you have that you can explore many things, like SSH, PuTTY for terminal access, FileZilla for ftp transfers, Python, PHP, MySQL, creating web pages, etc. You can choose what to keep private and what to publish. And the best thing is that they keep backups for you.


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