Review: JuiceSSH For Android

JuiceLogoAs my readers know, I am a techie and one of my hobbies is monkeying with Linux. My basement contains multiple Linux servers including a Raspberry Pi model B, and I also have a couple of Linux webhosting accounts. I am an anti-GUI kind of guy and so I manage and operate all of these systems through SSH. The process has historically worked really well until a few months ago.

Recently, my company updated their firewall to block SSH and so my remote access functionality ceased operation. This was a problem especially since I was in the process of migrating webhosts. As a result, I had to look for other SSH access options. My first thought was to use my smartphone and so I headed to the Android AppStore to look for a client.  My initial search yielded ConnectBot which was highly rated; however, I ran into problems.

One of the big challenges with the Linux shell is that it uses specific keys like, tab, cursor arrows or CTRL combinations that are not readily accessible on the Android keyboard.  ConnectBot did not make it easy to access these keys and so I decided to go another direction. (To be fair, there may be a way to enter these commands in, but it was unclear.)

JuiceSSH was also highly rated and I was hopeful that it would work better and in fact, I was not disappointed. First, JuiceSSH has a convenient method to save both server IP’s and credentials which dramatically simplifies system logins. This was a refreshing because it can be hard to re-type complex passwords. (You do use complex passwords, right?)

JuiceScreenshotJuiceSSH’s best feature in my experience is the keyboard add-on. As seen in the attached screenshot, JuiceSSH provides a mini keyboard that appears above the active Android keyboard and includes frequently used keys such as CTRL, Tab and arrows. A simple tap on the screen will show or hide this valuable add-on and so it is extremely easy to access .  Its simplicity and power are brilliant and it massively simplifies the process of inputting critical key combinations. For me this feature is a winner and it cemented my feeling that JuiceSSH is the best SSH option for me.

From a real world usage standpoint, the product is stellar. It connects consistently and has no issue with the sometimes sketchy cellular phone signal I have in my office. The one challenge is that my phone’s screen is relatively small and so the resulting display font is also small (as shown in the screenshot) although it is still readable. I am sure that there is a way to increase the size, but I have not explored that option because I am okay with the small font. Finally and best of all, there is a free version and a Pro version and all of the great features described above are in the free version!

In short, I highly recommend JuiceSSH. It is a powerful, consistent and reliable SSH client for Android. It will live on my phone for years to come.

Update: The JuiceSSH guys responded and indicated that you can easily change font size using the volume keys.  Nice!

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