Access SSH Server From the Browser With FireSSH

When it comes to SSH, it always involves the terminal or a SSH client (like Putty for Windows). This tends to scare people off. In fact, anything that needs to be done in the terminal always give people the scare. Now, what if you can access SSH server from the browser, and with a user-friendly interface? Will that be more attractive to you?

FireSSH is a browser extension for both Firefox and Google Chrome that allows you to access your SSH server directly in the browser. It is written entirely in Javascript and it comes with a simple user interface for you to manage your account.

If you are a Firefox user, you can find the FireSSH extension here. Once installed (and browser restarted), you can go to “Tools -> Web Developer -> FireSSH” to launch the app.

firessh-launch-app-in-firefox

This will open the Account Manager where you can select the SSH server to connect to, or create a new SSH connection profile. The good thing is that you only need to enter your login credential once and it will save them to the record.

firessh-account-manager-in-firefox

Alternatively, you can also type “ssh://ip-address” into the address bar to quickly connect to any remote server.

This is what you will see after you have connected.

firessh-running-ssh-session

Once you are connected to your SSH server, you can proceed to run commands like you usually do in the terminal.

Copy/Paste feature is also supported by FireSSH and can be accessed by right-clicking the mouse.

In the Account Manger, if you go to the Options menu (accessible from the Tools button), there are several things that you can customize. You can configure whether it should run in a new window, new Tab or window grouping. At the Interface tab, you can configure the look and feel of the text and background. The connection tab is the one that provides the most useful option. You can set it to keep connection alive while idle (this is something we mentioned before, but it works by default here) and if it disconnected, it will attempt to reconnect again. FireSSH will also work even if you are behind a proxy. You just need to provide the Proxy information and it can tunnel itself through.

firessh-connection-options

Last, but not least, there is an Import/Export tool where you can export your settings from one Firefox browser and import to another Firefox browser.

You can install FireSSH for Google Chrome here. This is a Web app for Google Chrome, so if you are using Ubuntu, you can easily pin it to the Unity Launcher.

While the functionality of FireSSH for Chrome is similar to the Firefox version, there are some features that are lacking in this Chrome version. First of all, Google Chrome omnibar doesn’t support the “ssh://” protocol, so you can’t type in the omnibar a command like this “ssh://ip-address” to quickly connect to the SSH server.

Secondly, it doesn’t support the Import/Export feature. If you are running Chrome on several machine, you won’t be able to export FireSSH data from one and import to another.

Thirdly, as of this post, it doesn’t seem to have a “Paste” feature. You can only copy, but not paste.

The good thing about FireSSH is that it is cross platforms compatible. You can use it in Mac, Windows or Linux if you have Firefox or Google Chrome installed. The Firefox version is a more capable extension than the Chrome version. If you are using both Firefox and Chrome, I would advise you to use the Firefox version instead.