Muon, formerly known as Snowflake, is a really powerful and very complete SSH and SFTP client, compatible with Windows operating systems, Debian family, with other Linux-based operating systems and even with MacOS. The main characteristic of this program is that it has a really complete graphical user interface, very intuitive and it will allow us to have a large number of configuration and customization options. Today in RedesZone we are going to teach you all the secrets of this great SSH and SFTP client completely free.
This Muon program was previously called Snowflake, the name change is due to the fact that there is a very popular product that uses the same name, and users could get confused when looking for it on the Internet. Muon is an SSH client with a graphical user interface, we can use the SFTP protocol based on SSH to transfer files from a local to a remote computer and vice versa, thanks to the built-in file browser, we can easily and quickly manage all files both local and remote.
Other important features are that it incorporates an SSH terminal emulator, so we can execute different commands on demand, in addition, it also incorporates a remote process and resource manager, a remote server disk space analyzer, a text editor, viewer remote logs and many other very useful tools for system and network administrators, which will greatly facilitate our work with remote servers.
Muon is capable of providing a functionality similar to the control panels via the web, but this program does it locally, without the need to install anything else. This program is multiplatform, it works both on Windows and Linux operating systems, as well as on other Linux-based computers and even Unix. We recommend you access the official Muon project on GitHub, where you will find the direct download links depending on the operating system you are using. In the case of Windows-based operating systems, we must download the MSI file, in the case that you use a Debian-based operating system such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint, you must download the DEB file, and if you use Linux or another, the files that the developer will tell you.
Installation and commissioning
If you use the Windows operating system, you just have to run the MSI file, give it administrator permissions, and it will automatically install on our PC without us having to do anything else, the whole process is completely transparent to the user. Once it has been installed, it will run automatically and we can start to establish a new SSH connection.
One detail that has caught our attention is that, if we want to search for the program in our operating system, we will have to search for “Snowflake”, it seems that in the latest version the name has not yet been changed to “Muon”, therefore , we will find it with this name.
Connecting to an SSH or SFTP server
This program has a very simple graphical user interface. At the top left we will have the «New Connection» button, it will show us a new panel with all the necessary data to launch the SSH connection to the server. We can also see in the upper right part some action buttons that we will explain in detail later. In this menu, which is mostly blank, all we have to do is click on the green button to start a new connection.
In the «New connection» section we can see the different «Sites» that we have registered. We can see and configure the name of the site, put the IP address or domain, the port, the username and password, the local folder, load the SSH private key to authenticate on the server, and also the necessary proxy settings if we go to the Internet through a proxy server.
At the bottom we can see the buttons “New site”, “New site folder”, duplicate a configuration, delete the site, export it and import it from other programs.
In the upper right we can see the buttons to disconnect the session, this is present at all times when we establish a new session by SSH. We can also see the main options of the program and that will affect the sessions that we open in the program against an SSH server. Some of the options we have in this section with the following:
- Confirm before deleting files
- Confirm before moving or copying files
- Show hidden files by default
- Run as sudo if there are permission issues
- Show current folder at the top of the bar.
- Confirm before logging out.
- Use a dark theme
- Use PuTTY copy and paste
- Show terminal messages
Other available options are: number of simultaneous background connections to transfer files, change the type and color of the terminal by commands, and the default panel that we have available (files). If we click on the “Info” button we will be able to see the program’s logo, and we will have different buttons to go to the web on GitHub, to help and also to check if there is a new software update.
In the «New Connection» section we can give the profile the name we want, and fill in all the available configuration options.
If the authentication to the SSH server is through the SSH key, we will have to load it in the profile of the Site, otherwise, we will not be able to connect correctly. Once we click on «Connect», it will indicate the RSA fingerprint of the SSH server, we will have to confirm or deny the connection. If this fingerprint is the same as always from the SSH server, it means that everything is correct and we can connect, if the fingerprint is different, it is possible that we are facing a Man in the Middle attack.
At first, all fingerprints are “untrustworthy”, but as soon as we trust it, in the next connection it will detect it and we will not get any warnings, as is usual in all SSH programs.
As soon as we connect to the SSH server, we can see a total of four tabs:
- Files : the files will appear, it will use the SFTP protocol to exchange the files between local and remote.
- Text Editor : we can edit any text file directly from this program, without running programs like vim or nano through the console.
- Log viewer : this will allow us to see any text file, including the plaintext logs of the operating system. We will have to choose which log we want to read and it will open it for us.
- Search : we will be able to carry out searches within the SSH server, complete the search requirements and proceed to click on «Search».
In the “File browser” section we can see the remote server on the left side, and the local computer on the right side. As you can see, just dragging or double-clicking will be enough to transfer files between the different computers. If we click on any file on the remote server with the right click, we will get a context menu with different configuration options:
- To open
- To open with
- Run in terminal
- Run in terminal with background
- Cut off
- Copy the path to the file (to use it later)
- Download selected file
- Get rid of
- Create new file
- Upload files here
- Create link
If we click on “Open with” and then choose “Text editor” it will take us directly to the text editor, and if we select “Log viewer” we can see it as if it were a log.
On the left side we will have different menus with more possibilities, if we click on «Terminal» it will show us the SSH command terminal as if it were PuTTY, we can execute any command and perform any action, it is an SSH console like the one we have in PuTTY or other similar programs.
Something that has caught our attention is that, if we connect to Linux servers such as Debian and other distributions, we will be able to see in real time and with graphs the consumption of CPU, RAM memory and also SWAP, in this way, no We will have to execute different commands to see all this, Muon or Snowflake will show it to us directly.
The same happens for all the processes that are currently running in the operating system, as if we executed a “ps aux” command to see all the processes in real time. Other possibilities of the program are to show us all the hard disks of the server, the total size, the size that is used and available, as well as the percentage of used disk and also the mounting point. We also have the “Active Transfers” section where all active transfers will appear, here we can see how they are going and their speed.
In the part of “Linux Tools” we can see the information of the operating system, the services with systemd that are running, and also the processes and ports that we currently have in the operating system. The SSH Keys section is where we can generate new SSH keys and even import them, to later use them on this same computer. Let’s imagine that we connect with user / password authentication and we want to generate SSH keys, from here we can generate them to later use them in the encrypted connection.
Finally, this program also integrates different tools that are very useful for any system and network administrator, such as “ping”, an integrated port scanner, a “traceroute” and also the DNS lookup tool.
As you have seen, the Muon or Snowflake tool is very complete and will be really useful to manage our server via SSH, and to transfer files via SFTP with the best possible security. The added possibilities of being able to edit files, view logs, and even the complete console that we have and also the management of SSH keys in a really intuitive way, make this tool highly recommended for use in different compatible operating systems.
Finally, the integrated tools to see the status of CPU, RAM, Swap, disk usage, processes etc. They will also allow us to have everything under control quickly and easily, without having to execute different commands ourselves through the console, something ideal to have everything under control.