How to use bash without installing bash (get a free shell account)

last updated in Categories Links, Linux, Shell scripting, UNIX

Recently I received an email that read as follows:


I would like to try out a bash shell scripting on a system but I don’t have time to install Linux or buy new computer and install bash. How do I use bash?

If you would like to try bash under Windows use Cygwin.

If you don’t have time or resources, get a free shell account from HP or another provider.

A shell account is a personal account that gives a user access to a Unix shell on another machine, usually through ssh or telnet.

HP testdrive

HP offers free shell account under
=> *BSD
=> HP-UX
=> Debian Linux
=> Mandriva Linux
=> Red Hat Linux
=> SuSE Linux
=> OpenVMS
=> Tru64 UNIX.

Register free account here


Polarhome almost offer free shell account with $2 one time fee.

More providers

=> See the complete list of UNIX/Linux shell providers list @ Open Directory Project

Live CD

If you don’t want to remove your Windows try out Linux Live CD. Contact your local Linux User group members to get free (as in freedom) Live CD.

This is the only way to try out a shell/shell scripting on a system for free.

Note: Most free shell providers do not allow IRC bots. If you need IRC bot buy a shell from a commercial provider (usually cost from US $3/month+).


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

6 comment

  1. Wow, I didn’t know people still offer free shell accounts. 😛

    I would recommend ordering a free CD from Ubuntu (if they still offer them). I got bunch of CD’s from them last year for absolutely no charge. They are all bootable, and let you try out a fully featured Ubuntu system without the need of installing it.

  2. Luck,

    Many people still use shell account; just see unix shell usenet group.

    I forgot about Ubuntu Live CD. They ship it free.

    Appreciate your post.

  3. Oh, I know – I’m just surprised that there are still places that provide free shell accounts. I thought that the era of free shell accounts has ended due to low legitimate user to script kiddie/botnet operator ratio, rampant abuse and low profitability.

    Personally I think that shell access is absolutely crucial to get anything done on the web these days.As a rule of thumb, I would not use a hosting company that would not let me ssh into the box and screw around with my files using a fully featured unix shell.

  4. Just remember, free shells are usually not very secure or stable. Paying a little extra for a quality, reliable provider is the best option.

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