Getting Connected

All interaction with gruffalo is handled via an encrypted communication channel, using the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol which enables a terminal prompt on gruffalo from which you can run commands, transfer files, submit jobs, or even run some graphical programs when used in conjunction with an X client.

If using Linux or macOS, then you’ll already have an SSH client installed that you can access via a local terminal.

If using Windows, then good options include WSL (Windows 10 only), Cygwin/mintty, or MobaXterm, all of which will enable a local terminal (and SSH client) and give you an experience identical to Linux/macOS users. You can also use PuTTY but the instructions below assume a local terminal and you’ll need to adapt the information yourself for PuTTy.

Connection information

To connect to the system, you first need to be onsite at one of our Supported Organisations. Remote Access works too, but you’ll need to connect normally first to enable it.

Fire up your local terminal application and then connect to gruffalo by issuing the following command:

$ ssh <username>

Remembering to replace <username> with the actual username you have been assigned.


Always provide your username in lowercase characters.

If you are connecting for the first time with your current laptop or PC, then you’ll need to accept gruffalo's public SSH host key, which should match one of the six fingerprint values shown below:

RSA     SHA256 : 27bXQAwDYqyvNIMujn9d5bE9elgk+KF3UJMNjRAuNKA
ECDSA   SHA256 : ORFcun5bSbLPQ8uCW/R1yqvXbfvhHGuDWkSzRhHARzY
ED25519 SHA256 : x9XTBSIWPynrVFRcK1HGokuUTxXHgMFhijKoD6ptNuo
ECDSA   MD5    : 97:49:1a:57:65:ac:3a:3b:07:5d:2b:d7:c3:f6:61:e3
ED25519 MD5    : e0:95:5e:1d:3f:74:67:82:86:a0:be:9a:70:52:5c:f1
RSA     MD5    : 71:ec:9c:2c:fb:60:7c:a7:76:33:a3:3a:4b:cc:e7:04


Do not connect if the host key is different as it could be a sign that the server has been compromised or that your connection is being interfered with. You should Contact Us before proceeding.

If all is well, then accept the key by typing yes.

You’ll then be asked for your password. Enter it to continue, noting that Linux will not echo what you type to the screen.

If you’re connecting for the very first time, you’ll also have to change your password. The system will ask you to enter your current password again, before prompting you to enter a new password twice.


Our password policy requires passwords with a length of 12 or greater, containing at least 3 of the following 5 classes: lowercase characters; uppercase characters; digits; special characters, such as comma (,), period (.), asterisk (*); other UTF-8 characters.

You can make subsequent connections faster, by editing your local ~/.ssh/config file to include the following lines:

Host gruffalo
  User <username>

You’ll then be able to connect using just ssh gruffalo.