One of the drawbacks of DreamHost services is lack of zip/unzip tool in its file manager. You can extract files, but it is too slow. Fast way to compress files in DReamHost. Using FileZilla, a kind of SFTP client, requires a lot of time to download all your site files.

DreamHost provides two ways to access your WordPress files. You can use both SFTP and SSH. The first one is easy to handle. But you need to know some commands and technical knowledge to apply the second one.

But once you get the hang of it, you can apply the tip to more sites. The learning curve is a little hard in the initial stages. But if you have multiple WordPress installations with different user accounts, the dreamhost SSH access method can be fruitful.

In this tutorial we are going to learn how to compress/uncompress files in DreamHost using a SSH client.

How to Edit Access Settings of DreamHost User?

The normal recommendation by DreamHost customer support is to add a separate user for each site. In this way, faster performance and less lag can be had on the server. You still can add multiple WordPress sites to the same user. Whichever way you prefer, to access the user account using SSH, you need to first edit access settings.

  1. Go to Websites > FTP Users & Files in the DreamHost panel.
  2. Under File Management, you can see all the users of your account.
  3. Click on Show Info. The protocol is either SFTP or SSH. If it’s the former you need to change it to SSH to compress files in DreamHost.edit dreamhost ssh access settings
  4. Click on Edit Access Settings at the bottom right hand side.
  5. Under Protocol, click the drop-down and select SSH.  Click on Save Changes. You can select the shell type. Keep the default one of /bin/bash. It will take some time to update user permissions.change sftp access to ssh dreamhost
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Install and Use Putty on Windows 10/11 for DreamHost SSH Access

Putty is a free and open source platform. It is an SSH and telnet client developed initially for Windows platform. Download Putty.

putty ssh client windows download
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You should see a .msi file to download. Run that file and download all files to C:/Program Files/PuTTY. Go to the directory where all the putty files are present. Click on putty.exe file to open.

Create a shortcut to this file on Windows desktop, if required. The configuration screen of putty opens and you need to set some settings.

how to compress files in dreamhost
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Under Session enter the following details.

Host Name (or IP address)Enter your DreamHost hostname. For example, if your server is named pallabush, this hostname is You could also use your website:
Connection TypeSSH
Saved SessionsEnter a name for this connection. For example <sitename>.
putty saved configuration
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Click Save to save the configuration. You will now see in the list of saved sessions. Click the saved configuration name. Click the Load button. It will open the SSH client terminal. It looks like a traditional command prompt screen.

If your idle connections are dropping, then you can troubleshoot by doing the following. It is important as the default timing is very low. The screen will become invalid within few seconds. So you need to set the waiting period to 30s to 120s, to enter the username and password.

In the configuration screen, select Connection on the left.

  1. In the field ‘Seconds between keepalives (0 to turn off)‘, enter 15.
  2. Check the box for ‘Enable TCP keepalives (SO_KEEPALIVE option)‘.
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idle connection error fix putty dreamhost
How to Compress Files in DreamHost - Quick Way using SSH 11

Enter the user account login and password. When you enter the password, nothing would be seen on the screen. Even no asterisks. But if you are successful, then you can see the server login screen.

Enter the dir command beside the $ symbol. You should find all the files and directories in the root folder.

dreamhost ssh shell
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How to Zip/Unzip WordPress Site files in DreamHost?

Enter the following command to zip the entire WordPress site folder.

zip -r <site folder name>.zip <site folder name>

It will start compressing all files/folders of  the WordPress site folder and save it as <site folder name>.zip.

The time taken is only seconds. Compared to the FTP client FileZilla, it is the fastest way to transfer files to your local computer.

You can then download the file using FileZilla. Then, upload to another root directory and decompress it.

To unzip the file on DreamHost you can enter the following command.

unzip <site folder name>.zip.

It will decompress all files to the location where you saved the zip file. 

In this way you can compress/decompress files in DreamHost using SSH client putty.

If you go through my DreamHost review, you will get to know more facts about this web hosting.

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