Many of the cool things in Linux Journal require the use of the command line. For us Linux users, that's generally not a big deal, because we have a terminal window readily available. Some of the time, however, it's helpful to have a shell account on an Internet host somewhere.

If your Web-hosting service provides shell access, you might be able to use it for rudimentary command-line procedures. (In fact, Dreamhost in particular allows SSH tunneling through its servers for clients.) If you want to use particular programs like screen or irssi though, it will require something a little more robust.

Some free shell services are available (like, but they often are very restrictive, and it can be challenging to get an account with them. Thankfully, if you don't mind spending a few dollars a month, shell accounts are fairly common and relatively inexpensive. The Eggdrop folks have compiled a great list here:

Figure 1. Sometimes, you just need a shell.

Of course, if you want to have a full-blown server on the Internet, it's hard to beat a colocated Raspberry Pi server like the one Kyle Rankin talked about last month. However you manage it, it's hard to be a geek without access to a terminal!

Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.

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