I like to be able to access files on my desktop computer from my laptop while I’m on the road. Luckily Linux has this feature built in. In this tutorial I’ll be using the SSH protocol because it provides far more security than FTP. I strongly advise using SSH because it transmits user names, passwords, and all data through an encrypted tunnel whereas FTP is highly susceptible to third party snooping.
This tutorial also applies to any Linux distribution using Gnome as the Desktop Manager.
- In the Gnome desktop, simply click the Places menu and choose Connect to Server…
- By default the system wants you to use FTP. The first thing you need to do is change the Service type to SSH.
- My laptop’s /etc/hosts file has an entry for my home computer in it so I don’t have to try and remember it’s IP address. In the Server field I entered the friendly name from my /etc/hosts. You could also type the fully qualified domain name or the IP address of the remote computer.
Leave the Port field blank.
In the Folder field I chose to enter my home directory. If this field is left blank you will be dumped into the root directory on the remote computer and have to navigate to your home directory manually.
In the User Name field I entered my user name on the remote computer.
I also chose to check the Add Bookmark checkbox so the next time I connect to my home computer I don’t have to go through all of these steps again.
Because I chose to add a bookmark for this connection, I also had to give it a name. In the Bookmark Name field I simple typed the same friendly name as in my /etc/hosts file.
Now click Connect.
- Since this is the first time I have connected to my home computer this way from my laptop, I was presented with the remote computer’s SSH Fingerprint so I could verify that I am in fact attempting to connect to the correct computer. Click Log In Anyway.
- Next I was prompted for my password for the remote computer. I also chose to allow Gnome to remember this password for the duration of my current login session.
- After authenticating successfully, up pops a window displaying the contents of my home directory on my home computer. For all intents and purposes this filesystem now acts as if it were another local hard drive attached to my laptop. You will also notice there is now an additional icon on the desktop called ‘sftp on bromine’.
- If you also chose to add a bookmark for this connection, you will be able to find it in the Bookmarks menu. This is very handy for the next time you want to connect to this remote computer.
- Once you are finished using the remote filesystem, unmount it by right-clicking on its desktop icon and selecting Unmount Volume.
- The next time you choose to connect to this remote filesystem, assuming you chose to bookmark the connection, you can simply select it from its bookmark in the Places menu.
- The above procedures are almost identical for connecting via FTP. Only connect via FTP if you absolutely must and preferably only if both the remote computer and your laptop or workstation are on a secure internal network with no access from outside.