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Free Linux shell accounts, now known as Tildes
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Free Linux shell accounts, now known as Tildes

ValdikSSValdikSS Member
edited October 2019 in General

If you were actively using internet in the end of 90s/beginning of 00s, you may remember websites with tildes in the URL, like this one:

This is a Putty software page, hosted on shared hosting by sgtatham account.

That setup was fairly common in that days shared hostings, due to web server configuration simplicity: tilde in Unix means the home directory of the user that goes after tilde. In the URL above, ~sgtatham refers to sgtatham user home directory path. All shared hosting needed to do is to create new user, which will automatically result in shell and/or FTP access and web hosting access, no additional configuration needed.

You can try tilde on your Linux box: cd ~root is an equivalent for cd /root; cd ~mysql will do cd /var/lib/mysql.

If you were interested in Linux, VPS or web hosting that days, you may remember free shell account offers, which gave you non-root SSH access to Linux or FreeBSD box, to learn the OS, its commands and software.

Nowadays, these two ideas reincarnated under the tilde name, which usually means Linux shell account access and a web hosting under your /~username.

Tilde is not a type of an access or something, it's just the name of original server, created by Paul Ford in 2014. Read the story of its creation.

So, if you want Linux shell account and a web hosting for free, here are some tildes:

Some servers apply rather limiting configuration on number of background processes, memory and CPU consumption, some are pretty lax.

Tilde is not only about technologies, it's also about community: many Tilde servers are joined into one large Tildeverse, with their IRC chat, wikis, educational information, blogging and microblogging services, etc.

Wikis on Tildas are the storehouse of useful information. Check Command Line Shell, for Absolute Beginners article on, it's the link I give to people with no experience with the shell, and they ask me no questions after it.

Even if don't really need shell access, apply for some of it to see the user profile/bashrc configuration. Some of the servers have really convenient setup which you can re-use on your servers.


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