Secure shell (SSH) is a powerful tool for remote administration, but it lacks some niceties. Writing a full-fledged remote administration console sounds like it would be a lot of work. Surely, someone in the open source community has already written something?
They have, and its name is Jupyter. You might think Jupyter is one of those tools data scientists use to analyze trends in ad clicks over a week or something. This is not wrong—they do, and it is a great tool for that. But that is just scratching its surface.
About SSH port forwarding
Sometimes, there is a server that you can SSH into over port 22. There is no reason to assume you can connect to any other port. Maybe you are SSHing through another "jumpbox" server that has more access or there are host or network firewalls that restrict ports. There are good reasons to restrict IP ranges for access, of course. SSH is a secure protocol for remote management, but allowing anyone to connect to any port is quite unnecessary.
Here is an alternative: Run a simple SSH command with port forwarding to forward a local port to a remote local connection. When you run an SSH port-forwarding command like
-L 8111:127.0.0.1:8888, you are telling SSH to forward your local port
8111 to what the remote host thinks
127.0.0.1:8888 is. The remote host thinks
127.0.0.1 is itself.
Just like on Sesame Street, "here" is a subtle word.
127.0.0.1 is how you spell "here" to the network.
Learn by doing
This might sound confusing, but running this is less complicated than explaining it:
$ ssh -L 8111:127.0.0.1:8888 firstname.lastname@example.org
Linux 6ad096502e48 5.4.0-40-generic #44-Ubuntu SMP Tue Jun 23 00:01:04 UTC 2020 x86_64
The programs included with the Debian GNU/Linux system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.
Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.
Last login: Wed Aug 5 22:03:25 2020 from 172.17.0.1
$ jupyter/bin/jupyter lab --ip=127.0.0.1
[I 22:04:29.771 LabApp] JupyterLab application directory is /home/moshez/jupyter/share/jupyter/lab
[I 22:04:29.773 LabApp] Serving notebooks from local directory: /home/moshez
[I 22:04:29.773 LabApp] Jupyter Notebook 6.1.1 is running at:
[I 22:04:29.773 LabApp] http://127.0.0.1:8888/?token=df91012a36dd26a10b4724d618b2e78cb99013b36bb6a0d1
<MORE STUFF SNIPPED>
127.0.0.1 and start Jupyter on the remote host that's listening on
Now you need to understand that Jupyter is lying. It thinks you need to connect to port
8888, but you forwarded that to port
8111. So, after you copy the URL to your browser, but before clicking Enter, modify the port from
There it is: your remote management console. As you can see, there is a "Terminal" icon at the bottom. Click it to get a terminal:
You can run a command. Creating a file will show it in the file browser on the side. You can click on that file to open it in an editor that is running locally:
You can also download, rename, or delete files:
Clicking on the little Up arrow will let you upload files. Why not upload the screenshot above?
As a nice final tidbit, Jupyter lets you view the remote images directly by double-clicking on them.
Oh, right, and if you want to do systems automation using Python, you can also use Jupyter to open a notebook.
So the next time you need to remotely manage a firewalled environment, why not use Jupyter?