Connecting and Access

Command-line interface

Access the command-line using ssh for full functional use of the kestrel, starling, owl, or phoenix clusters.

From Windows

  • Download an SSH client program such as PuTTY.
  • Run PuTTY or an alternative SSH client of your choice and enter into the hostname box and connect.

From Mac or Linux

  • Run the Terminal program.
  • type ssh at the prompt and push enter.

You will need to be connected to the wired network in the Chemistry building or connected to the WiscVPN in order to connect via ssh to use the command-line.

Graphical programs

Please run programs requiring a graphical interface on your local machine.

Some non-computational software may be run on phoenix with a graphical interface and requires a local X server to be installed on your computer.

Instructions to download, install, and run an X server for your OS are below.


  • Download and install Xming
  • Run Xming which will serve as a local X server
  • Configure PuTTY
    • Run PuTTY
    • Choose Connection–>SSH–>X11 from the column on the right
    • Click the checkbox labeled Enable X11 forwarding


  • Download and install XQuartz.
  • Add the -Y argument to your ssh command. E.g. ssh -Y

Web access

Web access is possible on owl and phoenix using WebMO. Log into the appropriate cluster using the links below:


Only a limited number of software packages can be run using this interface.

WebMO Links:

Remote file access

Need to transfer files to and from one of the clusters? Use Secure Copy (SCP). There are several graphical clients available but CyberDuck seems to work for most people.