What in Gods name does a shell account do ?
Hello i have recently found my self being offered free shells from a wide variety of websites, even though i am not really sure what a shell account really is and what it is used for.
i would be gratefull if one of you fine people would explain to me like i was a 2 year old the use of a shell account.
And the advantages of having a shell A/C
Free Shells: The Nitty Gritty
A shell lets you access an operating system. In the case of internet based shells it's usually via telnet/ssh connection. A good example of a shell is windows explorer, another good example of a shell is bash (a unix based command line shell which is a pretty common on shell providers).
Some ISP's will give you a free shell when you buy from them, generally this doesn't happen anymore. Shells attract script kiddies, which is a huge risk for providers, due to the fact that providers give people access to the internet through theirr local networks.
A little bit of paranoia goes a long way, and you have should have a unique password for every service you use. Of course we're all "human", none of us want to keep track of a gazillion passwords. Just be careful and pick secure passwords, and always use encrypted connections.
For increased security you can use public key authentication, it is really quite wonderful. The biggest drawback of it is that when it comes to shells generally the point of a shell is that you can access it anywhere! Most of us don't have a USB key to carry around our personal key ;). It can be a pain if your somewhere else and you want to hop on your shell for a minute and you don't have your public key handy.