EWS is shorthand for University of Illinois' engineering workstations. Classes and clubs use these for developing and testing projects. Unfortunately, connecting is annoying – typing in my credentials after every ssh [server] is tedious. I shortened my workflow so that I am now able to type a single command - ews - to login and connect to my EWS server.

Connecting to EWS through SSH
Connecting to EWS through SSH

SSH Public Key

I added an SSH public key onto the EWS server, so that it would recognize me and skip the user authentication step (entering credentials).

First, move into the ssh directory with cd ~/.ssh.

Then, if you don’t already have an SSH key, you can create one with ssh-keygen -t ecdsa -b 521. This will create a public SSH key and put it in your SSH folder.

After, copy the public key onto the server. You can do this with

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_ecdsa.pub [username]@[server]

Once done, whenever you run the ssh command, the server will recognize you and won’t ask for your credentials.

Aliasing the Command

Now, instead of running the lofty command of ssh [server], we can shorten this command to ews. In your shell configuration file (typically .bashrc or .zshrc), add the following line

alias ews="ssh [email protected]"

This is a simple command alias, so that behind the scenes the prompt will run the longer prompt. To connect to EWS now, just run the ews command!