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This article complements and extends a video I’ve created on using SSH and tmux for managing my Cloudways servers. In the video, you can watch me use tmux to manage SSH connections to multiple Cloudways servers and use the command-line tool htop to analyze the server load.
You can watch the full video here:
Since there is a lot more to this conversation than just what I covered in the video, I wanted to write this complimentary article and give more insights on why I’m using tmux and why I rely on SSH for server administration.
To give you a bit of background, I am no server administrator by training – not even a trained web developer. Everything I do is self-taught. For me, learning by doing is my favorite approach to acquire skills or tackle the challenges I’m facing. I’m not a friend of formal education anymore (I quit a master’s degree in IT Security) and instead believe in getting involved with technology to gain an understanding of how it works.
Please keep this approach in mind while watching the video and reading through this article. As you will see, I’ve divided the article into two sections. Each could be a really long article or probably multiple articles on their own, but I thought they go nicely together in this context.
Managing Your Server via SSH
One of the advantages of using Cloudways for hosting is that you have command-line access to your servers and your applications. While it’s not root access, you can do a lot of things on the command-line.
From my perspective, it’s reasonable that I don’t get root access to my Cloudways servers. Imagine what maintaining 20k servers look like if every server admin installs their own tools and packages. That is an impossible feat to achieve. With this being said, Cloudways gives us access to WP-CLI and many other standard tools. And that’s plenty to work with in maintaining your servers and staying informed of what the servers are doing.
It took me a while to understand the benefits of managing my servers via SSH but now I don’t see any other way of handling this matter. My main reasons to go onto the command-line are:
- I don’t have to wait on a web application to load to see what I want to see.
- The login is managed via SSH keys, so I don’t have to enter my password unnecessarily.
- I can keep SSH sessions running and don’t have to worry about logging in and logging out.
- I have access to WP-CLI and can do things that I cannot do in the regular WP Admin dashboard.
- I can automate task execution using cron jobs and scripts.
- I don’t have to move my hands away from the keyboard to use the mouse and can keep them relaxed.
Please note that as prerequisites, you should have some form of SSH client installed. If you’re on Linux or Mac, you can simply use the pre-installed Terminal applications. If you’re a Windows user like
This article was written by Jan Koch and originally published on The Official Cloudways Blog.