Before you panic over all these different bundles, realize one very important
and comforting thing: the command-line shell, bash , works the same on each
and every one of these distributions. All the commands we've used in this
topic, such as ls , cp , and cd , all work exactly the same no matter which Linux
flavor you choose.
Ubuntu and CentOS seem to be the most common server distributions at the
moment. Most VPS services will let you choose which distribution you want
from a small selection of offerings.
The biggest difference you'll run into from one distribution to another is their
package management: what tool you use to install software packages, and
what packages are included by default.
To log in to your remote server's command-line shell, you need to use a set
of programs known as SSH (which stands for “secure shell”). ssh is the com-
mand you run to connect to the server; it's the client. The server is running
sshd (for “ssh daemon”), and that's what you connect to. Your server might
already be running an sshd . We'll get to that shortly.
You can use ssh to connect to a server, and its companion program, scp , to
copy files to the server ( scp works a lot like plain cp ).
ssh just needs to know the user name and server name or IP address you're
connecting to, which you can specify like an email address, using the “@”
$ ssh email@example.com
Or if you don't have a name yet, you can connect using the IP address:
$ ssh firstname.lastname@example.org
You may have been given an account name to use already, or you may need
to make one using the web interface from your VPS provider.
You use the same sort of notation with scp to copy a file. Here we're copying
a local text file named myfile.txt up to the server example.com , logging in as andy ,
and copying the file to my home directory (“ ~/ ”).
$ scp myfile.txt email@example.com:~/myfile.txt
(Again, you could also just use the IP, as in firstname.lastname@example.org.)