Working With Wing's Built-In SSH Implementation

Index of All Documentation » Wing Pro Reference Manual » Remote Development » SSH Setup Details »


If you don't have OpenSSH or PuTTY on your system, you can still set up remote access using Wing's built-in SSH implementation. You will be able to authenticate using either SSH keys or login passwords. SSH keys can be used by loading them into an SSH agent, by specifying a key in your remote host configuration, or by letting Wing search for keys.

If you plan to use SSH public/private key pairs for authentication (rather than login passwords), then you will need to generate those keys outside of Wing first. Wing does not provide a way to create new SSH keys.

Configuration

If you do not have OpenSSH or PuTTY on your system, Wing should automatically fall back onto its own SSH implementation. Otherwise, if you want to force Wing to use its built-in SSH implementation, you will need to set Wing's Remote Development > SSH Implementation preference to Built In.

Then open the Remote Hosts dialog from the Project menu and create a new remote host configuration. Give it a name in the Identifier field, enter the Hostname as either the ip address, hostname, or host specification in username@remotehost form.

Using Login Passwords

If you wish to authenticate using your password on the remote system, you should now already be able to connect to the remote system. When you save your remote configuration, Wing will attempt to connect to the remote system, prompting you for the login password as needed. As part of this process, Wing will install its remote agent on the remote host.

You can retry this connection from the Remote Hosts dialog by right-clicking on your remote host configuration and selecting Probe Remote Agent.

Using SSH Key Pairs

Wing's built-in SSH implementation can also use SSH key pairs to authenticate with the remote host. You'll be able to access keys stored in an SSH agent, specify a particular key to use, or allow Wing to search for keys.

However you store and access your SSH private key, you will first need to move the corresponding public key to the remote host, if you have not already done so. This is described in detail in Moving the SSH Public Key to the Remote Host in Working with OpenSSH.

Once this is done, you should be able to save your remote host configuration in Wing and it will attempt to connect to the remote system, prompting you for the private key passphrase, if is is encrypted. As part of this process, Wing will install its remote agent onto the remote host.

You can retry this connection from the Remote Hosts dialog by right-clicking on your remote host configuration and selecting Probe Remote Agent.

Using an SSH Agent

Before trying any other keys, Wing will try to access OpenSSH's ssh-agent or PuTTY's pageant, if either is running and has private keys loaded into it. This is done before trying to use a specific SSH private key, before searching for keys, and and before falling back on password authentication.

You can prevent Wing from trying to use any SSH agent by unchecking the Remote Development > Allow Access to SSH User Agent preference.

Specifying or Searching for Keys

You can specify a particular SSH key to use by setting Private Key under the Options tab of your remote host configuration to the full path of the private key.

If no key is specified there, Wing looks for SSH keys in ~.ssh (and on Windows in ssh) in your home directory. The following default key names are supported: id_rsa, id_dsa, id_ecdsa, and id_ed25519. Wing tries to use all the private keys that it finds in that list.

Host Keys

Wing's builtin SSH implementation stores host keys in .ssh/known_hosts below your home directory. The first time you connect to a host that is not the same host as where the IDE is running, you will be prompted to accept its host key.

An exception is made for any IP address that belongs to the local host. For those, Wing stores the host key automatically without prompting.

If the host key for any host (including local IP addresses) changes at a later date so that it no longer matches the stored key, then Wing will warn and refuse to connect to that host until you remove the old host key from .ssh/known_hosts. This is a security measure aimed at making "man in the middle" network security attacks more difficult.

Note that Wing's builtin SSH implementation ignores any more permissive OpenSSH configuration you may have with respect to host keys and instead always prompts to accept non-local keys and always blocks connections when a host key fails to match.

Limitations

Wing's built-in SSH implementation has some limitations:

(1) There is no way to generate an SSH key pair from Wing. You will need to do this outside of Wing using OpenSSH.

(2) Forwarding X11 is not supported. If you need to forward X11 connections from the remote host, you will need to use OpenSSH or PuTTY as your SSH implementation.

If any of these are a problem for you, please email support@wingware.com.