Remote Access to Linux Computers

Linux computing resources can be accessed from off-campus locations (as well as different locations on-campus).


Please email to request access to external SSH. If we detect that you haven’t used your external SSH in 3 months, we’ll disable your external SSH access. You’ll still be able to login locally and SSH from your workstation in the Lab to others systems that we manage for you.

SSH can be used for remote command-line access to your laboratory computers from home and other sites, as well as for running graphical programs (depending on your local operating system).

An SSH gateway is an externally accessible computer that can be accessed by ssh (see table below); once connected to the gateway you can use ssh to connect to other workstations in your laboratory.

Data processing should not be done on the gateway, for computational jobs connect through gateway to another workstation and run your jobs there (for exceptions see Table I).

ssh to:


You should only use if you have told to do so by SBGrid staff. If you need access please email

Example syntax for connecting to SSH gateway for Harvard Medical School groups:

  • Non-GUI connection: 


  • GUI (connecting to a linux system): 

ssh -Y;

ssh -Y abacus (replace abacus with the name of your workstation.)

  • GUI (slower network connection): 

ssh -Y -C;

ssh -Y -C abacus; (replace abacus with the name of your workstation.)

ssh is usually installed by default on linux and OS X systems. Terminal App can be found in your Applications/Utilities folder (when connecting with ssh -Y on OS X systems, X11 will start on its own if necessary).

Please note that external SSH access is deactivated by default. Please contact to request remote access for your account.

Table I

SSH Gateways are enabled in some of the CMCD laboratories. That means if you are outside of the Lab you can SSH to your lab's network using the SSH hosts listed below:

If your site is not included on this list please contact us for further info about remote access.

HMS, CHB, & DFCI Labs: ssh to You cannot run jobs on the gateway host and must ssh to your computer nodes to run jobs. MCB Lab: ssh to You can run jobs on the gateway or on orthus.

MCB: You cannot ssh to if you are inside the MCB or Harvard University network. Instead ssh directly to the system you need to access.

Tufts systems use Tufts VPN instead of a SSH gateway for SSH access.