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Secure ShellFish might be the best GUI SSH client for MacOS


Security locks in a row

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ZDNET Key Takeaways

  • Secure ShellFish can be installed now from the Apple App Store.
  • Very easy to use, includes SSH key authentication, port forwarding and other features that are sure to please those new to SSH and those who have been using it for years.
  • The free version is limited to the number of servers that can be added and contains advertisements in the terminal.

I do regularly SSH in various Linux servers and desktop computers. If I only had to work with one remote machine, using the built-in terminal application would be a good solution. However, when you need to access many machines on your home or office network, having to remember all those IP addresses can be a real chore.

Fortunately, there are many GUI SSH clients for MacOS. Recently, I came across one that quickly became my favorite. The app in question is called Secure ShellFish. Technically speaking, the name of the application is SSH Files or Secure ShellFish – SSH Files.

Also: 5 Tips for Securing SSH on Your Linux Server or Desktop

If you use iOS (and need to work with SSH), you may have heard of this name. In 2022, the developer of this application decided to port it to MacOS, which includes even more features.

Secure ShellFish includes features such as:

  • An integrated terminal.
  • Text selection.
  • Server configuration.
  • Cloud support (including Digital Ocean Droplets).
  • SSH key authentication (with built-in key generator).
  • Support for 2FA.
  • Support for iCloud Keychain.
  • Theme setup.
  • Aware of the file name.
  • Snippets (which are basically commands that you can automate).
  • Shell integration.
  • Port forwarding.
  • And more.

And that’s just the free version. The Pro version ($15 per year or $3 per month) adds downloading from the menu and service finder, fast media playback, unlimited servers, ad-free SSH terminal (although I haven’t yet seen advertising on the free version) and groups. .

You can install Secure ShellFish from the Apple App Store on your MacOS device, and as soon as you open it, you’ll find it as user-friendly as any app of its ilk.

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One of the features I like more than any other is the integration of SSH key authentication. You can either use the built-in key generator or use a key created from SSH. I prefer to use the latter option because I have already generated my own keys from the command line. Regardless, using SSH key authentication is quite simple with Secure ShellFish.

The Secure ShellFish key management pane.

Creating a new key in Secure ShellFish is very simple.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Adding a server is simple. Simply click + at the top right of the left pane and fill in the necessary information.

The Add Secure ShellFish Server window.

The add server window in Secure ShellFish is very intuitive.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

One thing to keep in mind is that if you plan to use SSH key authentication, you must first either generate a key or configure Secure ShellFish to use the keys found in / Users/USERNAME/.ssh (where USERNAME is your MacOS). username).

Once you have an SSH key ready, you can add it to the configuration by clicking SSH Key and then selecting the desired key from the drop-down list.

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With a server configured, click the small keyboard icon to the right of the server’s IP address to open the terminal. Depending on how you have configured authentication, you will be prompted for a user password, your key passphrase, or biometric authentication. After successful authentication, you will find yourself in the terminal window, where you can do everything you need to do.

If you click the gear icon at the top right of the Terminal window, you’ll find a drop-down menu where you can create a theme for the Terminal, select or add a snippet, configure port forwarding, and more.

The context menu of the Secure ShellFish terminal.

Some of these configurations (such as port forwarding) are quite advanced, so you need to make sure you know what you’re doing with them.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Secure ShellFish checks all the right boxes for an SSH GUI on MacOS. Anyone who uses SSH regularly will find this application indispensable. So what are you waiting for? Open the Apple App Store, install Secure ShellFish now and start adding your servers.


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