PuTTY is my top choice for a Windows SSH client. You can create multiple connections to several servers and it has many nice features. Here I'll cover how to setup a connection.
First, you need to get PuTTY. Go to the downloads page to get the appropriate client for your system.
Set it up
You'll need the following information in order to setup a connection:
- hostname/IP address
Fill in the hostname and port with that information and give this connection a name in the "Saved Sessions" box. In the left pane, click on the Connection -> Data menu and enter your username in the "Auto-login username" box.
If your connection supports (or requires) SSH keys then you may need to generate PuTTY formatted keys from the SSH keys that you already have.
Open the PuTTYgen program that was installed alongside PuTTY. Click the "Load" button and locate your private SSH key (it may be named id_rsa). Enter the password for the key if necessary. Lastly, click on "Save private key" to save a PuTTY readable version of your private key.
Go back to PuTTY and click on the Connection -> SSH -> Auth menu and look for the "Browse" button on the right-hand side. Locate your PuTTY-formatted keys (it will be a .ppk file) and go back to the main "Session" menu and click on "Save". Now you've got your connection all set up!
One extra step you can do is use Pageant to load and hold your keys open while you're on your machine. This way you don't need to manually enter a password every time you make a connection; you'll only have to do it once.
Open Pageant (it came with PuTTY) and click on the "Add Key" button to locate the appropriate .ppk file representing your private key then enter your password for that key. Pageant allows you to open multiple keys at once if you need to. Now click on "Close" and you're all done. In your system tray you'll see a little computer icon with a hat on it; that's Pageant chillin' in the background.
Any time you open PuTTY you can simply double-click on the connection name in the "Saved Sessions" list and PuTTY will attempt to make a connection using the information for that session. You may have to enter a password for your user or for your key file (if you didn't load the key into Pageant). Now you're all set to quickly make SSH connections from your machine.