How to use the KDE Plasma Konsole SSH plugin


Looking for an incredibly simple tool to manage your SSH connections? KDE’s terminal application has a handy trick up its sleeve.

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Truth be told, using SSH isn’t difficult at all. But when you have a large number of servers to maintain, remembering their IP addresses, assigned ports, SSH authentication keys, and passwords can be a real headache.

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This is why you will find a good amount of GUI tools on the market to help you manage these connections. One of these tools is hidden in plain sight, within the confines of KDE’s Konsole application.

For those who don’t know, Konsole is KDE’s default terminal window application. It’s one of the most flexible and powerful terminal apps on the Linux market, and it has a rather pleasant SSH-centric surprise in store for you… an SSH Manager plugin.

Let me show you how it works.

What you will need

To follow this, you will only need a running instance of Linux with KDE Plasma as your desktop environment. I will demonstrate on KDE Neon. Of course, you’ll also need a server or two that allows SSH connections.

With these things ready, let’s get to work.

How to activate the SSH Manager plugin

Log in to KDE and open the Konsole application. In the menu bar, click Plugins, then click the Show SSH Handler check box (Figure A).

Figure A

Enabled KDE Plasma Konsole SSH handler.
Enabled KDE Plasma Konsole SSH handler.

Enabling the SSH manager will open a sidebar, where you can start adding hosts (Figure B).

Figure B

The KDE Konsole SSH handler has been enabled.
The KDE Konsole SSH handler has been enabled.

How to use the SSH Manager plugin

The first thing to do is add a host. Click + at the bottom of the sidebar, then fill in the necessary information for the new host (Figure C).

Figure C

Added a new host in Konsole's SSH manager.
Added a new host in Konsole’s SSH manager.

You must fill in an identifier (a readable name for the host), the SSH host name (IP address or domain of the remote server), the SHH port on the remote server and a user name (for the remote server) .

If you are using SSH key authentication (which you should), click on the folder icon and locate your public SSH key (probably /home/USER/.ssh/id_rsa – where USER is your local username ) or just type the exact location of the file in the SSH Key section.

Once you’ve filled everything in, click Add and the host will be saved.

Add as many hosts as needed. Once you’re done, you should see your hosts listed in the sidebar (Figure D).

Figure D

Our hosts have been added and are ready to use.
Our hosts have been added and are ready to use.

To connect to one of the hosts, simply double-click it and when prompted in the Konsole window (Figure E), enter the password associated with the remote user account or SSH authentication key.

Figure E

The SSH prompt for a user password, when using the SSH manager.
The SSH prompt for a user password, when using the SSH manager.

You can leave the SSH handler pinned to Konsol or, if you prefer your terminal windows to be separate entities, you can click the little diamond (next to the X in the top right corner of the SSH handler) to unpin the sidebar and use as a floating tool (Figure F).

Figure F

Konsol's detached SSH handler.
Konsol’s detached SSH handler.

And that, my dear friends, is the KDE Plasma Konsol SSH Manager plugin in all its simplistic beauty. If you administer many remote Linux servers and KDE is your desktop of choice, you should use this efficient SSH login manager.

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