Getting connected
  1. What you'll need
  2. Connecting to The WELL
  3. If your login was unsuccessful
  4. Disconnecting from The WELL
  5. Costs
  6. The old WELL user's manual (Big Blue)
  7. Getting help

What you'll need

In addition to your computer, to connect to The WELL you need:

  • a connection to the Internet via an Internet Service Provider.
  • a Web browser and/or a SSH application.
Connecting to The WELL

There are two ways to connect to The WELL.

Use your Web browser to go to The WELL. Enter your username and password in the login box in the upper right corner, and click on the log in button.

The second method is called "ssh." Whenever you have an Internet connection, you may be able to use SSH to access The WELL. The WELL address is ""

  1. Connect to the Internet as usual.
  2. Use SSH to jump to The WELL. Typically, you will use a desktop SSH application to connect to

When you're connected, you'll see The WELL's login prompt, which looks something like this:

SunOS 5.6

This is The WELL

Find membership information at
Forgot your password?  Go to

If you already have a WELL account, type your username.


Logging in with SSH:

  1. Type the login you chose when you registered and press Return. (The Return key on your computer is sometimes called the Enter key.) Be sure to type your login with lower-case letters only.

  2. The WELL displays the password prompt. Type the password you chose when you registered and press Return.

    The WELL does not display the password as you type it, for security purposes.

    Your password is case sensitive, so type it exactly as you entered it during registration.

  3. The WELL displays a few messages, including the banner of the first conference on your list, and then offers you the OK prompt. Press the Return key to begin.

The menu system starts and your screen shows the Main menu.


 THE WELL: MAIN MENU                             .  Menu name : main
                                                 .  Conference: wellcome
  1  Tutorial                                    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2  Conferencing basics...                      .
                                                 .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
  3  Conferencing...                             .
  4  People online...                            .   40  Definitions
  5  The muse                                    .   41  Notes
                                                 .   42  Quick Commands
  6  Email...                                    .
                                                 .   43  Explain a specific
  7  Internet and Web publishing...              .   44  Help from a real
                                                 .  GETTING AROUND
  9  File management...                          .
 10  Settings...                                 .   66  Go back one menu
                                                 .   77  Go to the Main menu
 11  Accounting...                               .   88  Go to a menu by
                                                 .   99  Turn off these
 PicoSpan Copyright 1985-2006, The WELL          .  100  Exit from the WELL
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK (type a number or command):

You can now operate The WELL using the menu system. For instructions about using the menu system, see Menu basics.

If your login was unsuccessful

If you make a typing mistake while entering your login or password, The WELL lets you know with this message:

	Login incorrect

If you see this message, you must reenter both your login and your password. Remember that there are no spaces in your login, and it is made up of lower-case letters and numbers.

Be sure you type your password exactly as you set it up when you registered, including the capital letter(s), numbers, and special characters.

If you have forgotten your password and the email address in your billing records is correct, you can go to The WELL's Password Change Page to change your password. If you've forgotten your login or the email address in your records is not up to date, you can get help from our support staff.

  • To speak to a person, call The WELL at (415) 343-5731.
Disconnecting from The WELL

Always be sure to disconnect from The WELL. You can disconnect from The WELL at any time.

At the OK prompt, type 100 or quit and press Return.

The WELL compiles storage charges (if any) for your account and displays them for your information. Be sure to wait until you see the end of the logout message. If you disconnect before The WELL is finished, you may experience problems in later sessions.

compiling data...

       login, your current disk usage and charges are:

                    Current home directory usage:       24 Kbytes
                     Current web directory usage:       24 Kbytes
                           Current webmail usage:      268 Kbytes (*)
                                     Total usage:      316 Kbytes
           Estimated charge for today's disk use: $   0.00
         Disk charges incurred since start of Mo: $   0.00

        (*) Based on nightly collection.  Your current usage may differ.

             Elapsed time for this session:  1 minute

You are currently enrolled in the Complete Membership Plan.

                        Thanks for using The WELL!

When you registered on The WELL, you became a WELL member, and an account was set up in your name.

You are billed each month for these separate charges:

  • The WELL monthly fee.
  • The WELL disk storage space fee (above 100 megabytes).
  • The Invoice Fee (if applicable).

Your monthly bill may be charged to your debit or credit card. If you wish to pay by check or money order an invoice fee will apply.

You may use your home directory on The WELL to store files. The first 100 megabytes of disk space you use are free. Additional storage is charged to your account each month. For information about managing your storage space, see Managing files on The WELL.

Prices for your membership in and use of The WELL change from time to time. For information about how to see current prices, see Accounting and billing.

The old WELL user's manual (Big Blue)

Long ago, The WELL provided a user's manual, sometimes called "the big blue book," that describes the elaborate system of programs and commands that operate The WELL. Many users still refer to it, so we have kept it available online.

You can read or download The WELL User's Manual by entering the word manual at the OK prompt and selecting option number 2. For information about downloading, see Managing files on The WELL. Note that downloading the file can take a long time.

Getting help

The WELL is dedicated to providing the best possible customer service and support. While we cannot offer unlimited support for every feature to which we provide access, we offer a broad spectrum of help services including:

  • Voice phone support.
  • Online help.
  • Online introduction to the menu system.
  • Online user manuals.
  • Conferences dedicated to providing information and help for various WELL features.

Each Menu offers definitions of terms, suggestions, shortcuts and help in depth. If you have any problem that is not answered by this manual or by the online information, please do not hesitate to call our experts at The WELL Help Desk at (415) 343-5731. If you reach the voicemail message, leave your name, your telephone number, and your username, and we'll call you back.


WELL policies and etiquette
Getting connected
Menu basics
Getting and sending email
Starting out in WELL conferences
Working with WELL conferences
People online
Accessing Other Internet Sites
The muse
Managing files on The WELL
Checking and changing settings
Accounting and billing
PicoSpan Command Summary

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