Remote Access to Your Application

OpenShift allows remote access to your application via the Secure Shell protocol (SSH). SSH provides direct access to the command line of your application or gear on the remote server. After you are logged in on the remote server you can use the command line to directly manage the server, check logs and test quick changes.

SSH is recommended for advanced users who need to debug their applications - for more routine tasks use the OpenShift client tools (rhc).

To remotely access your application you need to:

  • Set up your identity keys
  • Install SSH on platforms which do not already have an SSH client
  • Connect to a remote application

Some useful SSH commands are also described on this page.

Setting up SSH Keys

Each SSH key is a pair - a public key that you share with others, and a private key that you keep secret. The client encrypts some data using both the private key and the public key and sends that to the server - the server can then verify that the data is valid because it has a copy of the public key. SSH is how both remote access and the Git version control system are able to prevent tampering and ensure security.

If you already have an SSH key locally, you can log into the management console and upload the contents of the public key. Any machine which is properly configured with that key will then be able to use SSH and Git to access applications belonging to your account.

If you're less familiar with SSH keys and you aren't sure whether you have generated keys yet, the OpenShift client tools can generate and upload a key for you through an easy to use wizard.

  • Install the OpenShift client tools, if you haven't already done so.
  • From a command line terminal type

    rhc setup

    This will launch the the setup wizard to configure your OpenShift account. Enter your user name and password.

  • Type yes when the wizard asks if you want to upload your public key. Your public key will be uploaded and stored on the server.

You can now log into your applications remotely from your computer, or connect and download the application source code via Git. If you have multiple computers, repeat the above procedure so that each computer has access to the application.

Installing an SSH Client

Most UNIX like platforms such as Mac OS X and Linux have SSH installed by default. However, Windows does not. There are a number of third party SSH clients for windows, however we prefer PuTTY, which is free to use.

Connecting to Your Application from Windows

Once you have an application up and running and your keys are uploaded to the server you can now SSH into the remote server from your computer. The PuTTY installation document has instructions on creating a profile for your application which makes it easy to connect to with a simple mouse click. Create your profile as described, and connect with a single click to connect, as in Step Three below.

Connecting to Your Application from Other Platforms

Once you have an application up and running and your keys are uploaded to the server you can now SSH into the remote server from your computer. For all platforms, the easiest way to find the specific SSH command that you will need to connect to your application is to go to the applications list page in the web console and click on your application to go to the Details page.

Application Details SSH info

To connect to your application:
  1. On the Details page click on the **Want to log in to your application?** link to expand the text. This is the command that you need to connect to your application.
  2. Copy and paste that command to a command line terminal.
  3. If you have setup and uploaded your keys correctly a prompt similar to this displays:
        Welcome to OpenShift shell
        This shell will assist you in managing OpenShift applications.
        Shell access is quite powerful and it is possible for you to
        accidentally damage your application.  Proceed with care!
        If worse comes to worst, destroy your application with 'rhc app destroy'
        and recreate it
        Type "help" for more info.

You are now connected to your application and can start debugging or monitoring it. SSH access is only recommended for advanced users.

Common Commands


This section describes a list of common commands that can help you to manage and debug your applications.


control your application

ctl_app start
ctl_app stop
ctl_app restart
ctl_app status


Similar to ctl_app but controls application and dependencies like mysql in one command

ctl_all start
ctl_all stop
ctl_all restart
ctl_all status


Prints out all available environment variables and their current values which you may use in your application


Removes a file or directory

Use this with care

Remove a file:

rm file

Remove a directory and all files and directories under it

rm -rf <dir>


Displays the last entries in your log files as they are written to

You can hit <ctrl>-c to exit this command


List files and directories


List running applications


Kill running applications using the process id found by calling ps

Be careful when using this command as it should only be used to kill runaway processes, otherwise it is preferable to stop them using the appropriate command such as ctl_app stop


Opens an interactive MySQL shell


Opens an interactive MongoDB shell


Lists your application's current disk usage