Bridges User Guide: Connecting to Bridges

Before you can connect to Bridges, you must create your PSC password.  Depending on your preferences, you may want to change your login shell once you are logged in.

We take security very seriously! Be sure to read and comply with PSC policies on passwords, security guidelines, resource use, and privacy.

If you have questions at any time, you can send email to

Content of this document

This document will tell you how to

Create or change your PSC password

If you do not already have an active PSC account, you must create a PSC password (also called a PSC Kerberos password) before you can connect to Bridges.  Your PSC password is the same on all PSC systems, so if you have an active account on another PSC system, you do not need to reset it before connecting to Bridges.

Your PSC password is separate from your XSEDE Portal password. Resetting one password does not change the other password.

PSC password policies

Computer security depends heavily on maintaining secrecy of passwords.

PSC uses Kerberos authentication on all its production systems, and your PSC password (also known as your Kerberos password) is the same on all PSC machines.

Set your initial PSC password

When you receive a PSC account, go to the web-based PSC password change utility to set your password.  For security, you should use a unique password for your PSC account, not one that you use for other sites.

Change your PSC password

Changing your password changes it on all PSC systems. To change your Kerberos password, use the web-based PSC password change utility .

Please note that changing your password on the XSEDE Portal does not change it on PSC systems and will not prevent your PSC password from expiring.

PSC password requirements

Your password must:

  • be at least eight characters long
  • contain characters from at least three of the following groups:
    • lower-case letters
    • upper-case letters
    • digits
    • special characters, excluding apostrophes (') and quotes (")
  • be different from the last three PSC passwords you have used
  • be changed at least once per year

Password safety

Under NO circumstances does PSC reveal any passwords over the telephone, FAX them to any location, send them through email, set them to a requested string, or perform any other action that could reveal a password.

If someone claiming to represent PSC contacts you and requests information that in any manner would reveal a password, be assured that the request is invalid and do NOT comply.

Connect to Bridges

When you connect to Bridges, you are connecting to one of Bridges’ login nodes.   The login nodes are used for managing files, submitting batch jobs and launching interactive sessions.  They are not suited for production computing.

See the Running Jobs section of this User Guide for information on production computing on Bridges.

There are several methods you can use to connect to Bridges.

  • You can access Bridges through a web browser by using the OnDemand software.  You will still need to understand Bridges’ partition structure and the options which specify job limits like time and memory use, but OnDemand provides a more modern, graphical interface to Bridges.See the OnDemand section of this User Guide for more information.
  • You can connect to a traditional command line interface by logging in via one of these:
    • ssh, using either XSEDE or PSC credentials.  If you are registered with XSEDE for DUO Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), you can use this security feature in connecting to Bridges. See the XSEDE instructions to set up DUO for MFA.
    • XSEDE Single Sign On, including using Multi-Factor authentication if you are an XSEDE user

    This document explains how to use ssh or XSEDE Single Sign On to access Bridges.


You can use an ssh client from your local machine to connect to Bridges using either your PSC or XSEDE credentials.

SSH  is a program that enables secure logins over an unsecure network.  It encrypts the data passing both ways so that if it is intercepted it cannot be read.

SSH is client-server software, which means that both the user’s local computer and the remote computer must have it installed.  SSH server software is installed on all the PSC machines. You must install SSH client software on your local machine.

Free ssh clients for  Macs, Windows machines and many versions of Unix are available.  Popular ssh clients (GUI) include PuTTY for Windows and Cyberduck for Macs.   A command line version of ssh is installed on Macs  by default; if you prefer that, you can use it in the Terminal application.  You can also check with your university to see if there is an ssh client that they recommend.

Once you have an ssh client installed, you can use either your PSC credentials or XSEDE credentials (optionally with DUO MFA) to connect to Bridges.    Note that you must have created your PSC password before you can use ssh to connect to Bridges.

Use ssh to connect to Bridges using XSEDE credentials and (optionally) DUO MFA:

  1. Using your ssh client, connect to hostname  or  using port 2222.
    Either hostname will connect you to Bridges, but you must specify port 2222.
  2. Enter your XSEDE username and password when prompted.
  3. (Optional) If you are registered with XSEDE DUO, you will receive a prompt on your phone.  Once you have answered it, you will be logged in.

Use ssh to connect to Bridges using PSC credentials:

  1. Using your ssh client, connect to hostname  or  using the default port (22).
    Either hostname will connect you to Bridges. You do not have to specify the port.
  2. Enter your PSC username and password when prompted.

Read more about using SSH to connect to PSC systems

Public-private keys

You can also use public-private key pairs to connect to Bridges. To do so, you must first fill out this form to register your keys with PSC.

XSEDE single sign on

XSEDE users can use their XSEDE usernames and passwords in the XSEDE User Portal Single Sign On Login Hub (SSO Hub) to access  or

You must use DUO Multi-Factor Authentication in the SSO Hub.

See the XSEDE instructions to set up DUO for Multi-Factor Authentication.