Setting Up Your Environment

Make sure you are aware of the things you must know!

Obtaining an Environment

Your environment is usually created when you take a class that requires work on the server. This is a type of remote connection but normally only uses a command line text interface. Ask the instructor to set up an account for you. Your environment is identified with your Point Park username.

Connecting to Your Environment

Tip: Connecting to your environment is very similar to setting up a remote desktop connection, but then without the graphical user interface.
Because your environment runs remotely you need software to connect (through the SSH protocol). On Windows one of the best programs is PuTTY. On Mac OS X one could use the ssh program from the Terminal (go to the Launchpad and type Terminal). When running PuTTY you have to set the server you are connecting to, so simply enter as Host Name

where you replace username with your actual account name. When using ssh from the terminal you simply type


In both cases you will be prompted for your password. Your initial password is the same as your username initially, but you will be forced to change it immediately.
Note: You should pick a password that is hard to guess and you do not use anywhere else!

Below are screen shots of both PuTTY (left) and a terminal window (right) with the required information filled out (click on them for a larger version). Note that you have to replace all occurrences of mvoortman with your username.

Changing the Timezone

When you enter


it will display the time for the wrong timezone (unless this has already been fixed). To address this issue first change to the root user


then enter the timezone setup utility


Select No for the first dialog, then America, and scroll down almost all the way to the bottom for the United States. Next select Eastern Time (or whatever is appropriate) and confirm by selecting Yes. After running date again it should show the correct timezone.
Finally, exit the root account



The steps above are also captured in the following video:

What’s Next?

It is recommended that you create your homepage by following this tutorial. Also make sure to check out the command line tips.

31 comments on “Setting Up Your Environment”

  1. E Hubbard Reply


    The video states I should use my seven character username,@username in Putty. This is not working for my account. Do you have other putty settings, or can someone check my username and pass. I will be unable to complete my assignment with this resolved.

    • Mark Voortman Reply

      Ah, it looks like your environment/jail was never created (perhaps you joined late and this was an oversight?). I’ve just created it for you and it should work now. Please try.

      • E Hubbard Reply

        Thank you. Your correct I was a late addition to the class. I can now logon properly and perform the setup tasks. Thanks again.

  2. Justina Mikalik Reply

    My password isn’t working. I must not remember it correctly from my class in the fall. Because my username and what I thought was my password both aren’t working.

  3. James Leary Reply

    I am receiving an error that the Host Name does not exist. I do not even get to the password prompt. I’m using the PuTTY GUI and not the command line.

        • Mark Voortman Reply

          Both the long and short version should work. The difference is that the short version will ask for your username and password, and the long version will only ask for your password (since the username is already provided before the @).

  4. Brannon Dixon Reply

    I had set up my terminal a few semesters back and now do not remember my password. Anyway you could reset if for me?

  5. Chante Johnson Reply

    I’m having issues logging into Putty. It’s not taking my username and password.

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