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What Happened With the Free Shell Accounts?

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Posted on June 1st, 2010 by Victoria Pal in Tech

The last time I used a decent free shell account was back in 2002. Back then a friend told me about a free shell accounts provider zippy.shellyeah.org. They gave me everything I needed – lynx, web space, email, IRC and even ICQ. IRC access via shell was quite popular amongst friends, who wished to have some fun with people they know, while remaining anonymous. Probably this was one of the reasons for Zippy to close down. Well, that and lack of donations I guess, regular hack attempts, and general abuse as well. The main problem with free services is that when they get exploited, they get exploited a lot.

shell account example

image courtesy of: emailman.com

Since then, it seems, the only good place to offer free shell remains sdf-eu.org. Again, they provide email, web hosting, limited CGI free IRC on Sundays, as well as a few very handy tools, such as ping, traceroute and whois tests. It’s enough to run a basic remote check on any website or server. You can check if your target is online and what is the connectivity. To go one step further you can try and write a few basic shell scripts.

The default working shell is KSH. There are a couple of nice guides online. If you prefer, you can always switch to bash. You can semi-automate multiple tasks and export their output to HTML files. You can later on view these reports on your subdomain.

Free access does not allow you to run background process, but you can always upgrade for a modest monthly or annual fee.

It’s an interesting little hobby, and you will gain some useful skills while playing around with shell scripts. We have a few pretty good monitoring tools of our own, and you are welcome to try them out without obligation. We’ve grown our hobby into profession. If stable online presence is a crucial factor for your business, check what we can do for you.

Victoria Pal

Doesn't like queuing (particularly at Wimbledon). Likes travelling, tennis and reading. Loves working as a Project Manager at WebSitePulse.

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