Secure Shell App Profiles – Setup Tutorial

I recently purchased a new Chromebook and needed to set up an SSH environment to communicate with my servers. After testing a bunch I settled on this app. For me, it ticks all my boxes, it’s both configurable but simple, lightweight and user-friendly. One aspect though, namely saving new connection profiles was less intuitive to me. I thought I’d document my findings in the form of a short tutorial.

Command-Line-Linux

Two versions of Secure Shell App

First though, there are two versions of this software. One is a conventional app, the other a Chrome Extension. For Chrome OS users the recommendation is to install the app. For other platforms you’ll need to install the extension. 

Conflicting keyboard shortcuts with Chrome OS – the fix

Unfortunately some commands will conflict with Chromebook’s standard keyboard shortcuts. An example would be when using the Nano text editor command to search the document. This command will result in a dialogue box asking if you’d like to close the terminal window completely. Fortunately there’s a quick workaround. Right click on the Secure Shell App icon and choose “Open as window”. Problem solved.

Connection Profiles – Overview

It was not obvious to me how do achieve this straight away. I found little help on the web and forums, instead I just messed with it till I worked it out. It may not be the conventional way to create, edit and remove profiles but it worked for me.

Firstly, the app requires three credentials to connect via SSH. A username, a hostname or ip address and a descriptive text to name the profile. The port can be left empty as it defaults to port 22, change this accordingly if your server uses another port.

Take a look at the image below.

Secure Shell App showing profiles
Secure Shell App showing profiles

In the top section, under the [New Connection] button you’ll see four different profiles I have created for this tutorial:

  1. PIW-username@192.168.1.37
  2. PI-username@192.168.1.30:2223
  3. PIA-username@192.168.1.38
  4. SIN-username@192.168.1.15

Note that the second item contains a specified port number. So how do you create and manage connection profiles? Let’s create one…

Creating a profile

Start by clicking on the [New Connection] button, top right. This will clear the boxes.
Enter a descriptive text title in the box marked “username@hostname or free form text”. This is simply a text that best describes the connection. I.e. PIA-username@192.168.1.38. Next fill in the username and hostname text boxes and hit the ENTER button. Log in and log out again. Press ‘C’ to return to the Secure Shell App interface. You should now see your new connection listed in the top section of the interface.

Edit a profile

Simply click on the profile in the list to select it, make your changes, log in and out again as described above.

Delete a profile

Select the profile you wish to delete and press the [DEL] Delete button in the lower left of the interface.

Save or backup your profiles

Clicking the ‘Options’ button (lower left of interface) will open a new page in your browser. Here you have the ability to save your entire set of profiles as a text file that you can save and load should you need to.

In the top left of the screen you will see two links:

  • Save backup
  • Restore backup

Pressing the ‘Save backup’ link will open your ‘Files’ app where you can choose where you’d like to save the backup file. Your choice.

The file is saved, by default with this name:

Secure Shell Preferences Backup.json

Hope this was of use, cheers.

HTERM - Secure - Shell App on Chrome Webstore
HTERM – Secure – Shell App on Chrome Webstore

Secure Shell FAQ here: https://goo.gl/muppJj

The Chromium-hterm mailing list here: https://goo.gl/RYHiK