Hands-on labs: FAQ

Tags: ACG

Do hands-on labs cost extra?

If you’re a part of a premium membership, you’ll have full access to the hands-on labs with no additional fees.

How many times can I go through a hands-on lab?

You can take hands-on labs as many times as you want. To take a lab again, revisit the page and start again.

Are hands-on labs scenario-based?

Yes. Our hands-on labs will typically come with a scenario to resolve, and include downloadable lab guides, and video lessons. This lets you follow along at your own pace and with your preferred learning method.

You'll be guided through the lab by an expert so you can see how they do it. Once you’re comfortable, you can try the lab again on your own to check your understanding.

Note: Lightsail is not currently supported with hands-on labs.

Do labs have restrictions?

Some labs have restrictions to cloud services outside our standard cloud restrictions. You can still complete these labs, but you may receive an abuse notification if you attempt to complete other tasks outside of those outlined in the lab guide or objectives. If you feel you’ve received an abuse notification in error, contact Pluralsight Support.

What is Guided Mode?

Some of our most popular labs allow you to check your progress (Guided Mode) and test your skills (Challenge Mode).

Guided mode gives you access to instructional videos, guides, and diagrams. It also gives you the ability to Run Progress Check to see if you’ve completed the objectives correctly during a lab.

You can check your work an unlimited number of times, giving you the opportunity to retry any failed objectives. No score is provided at the end of a hands-on lab taken in Guided Mode.

Note: Run Progress Check is exclusive to Personal Plus and Business memberships.

What is Challenge Mode?

Challenge Mode allows you to test your knowledge and your ability to apply your skills in hands-on labs without instructional videos or guides. You can't check your work until you submit the lab.

Once you submit the lab, you'll see a results page showing your score overall as well as your pass/fail status by objective. Click Show Explanation for any failed objectives to see a brief explanation of why the objective wasn’t passed. Challenge Mode is currently available for our most popular labs, and we continue to add more to our library.

Note: Challenge Mode is exclusive to Personal Plus and Business memberships. Challenge Mode is only available for most popular labs.

Why doesn't my hands-on lab have a lab guide?

Most hands-on labs are standalone and intended to be used to perform a specific exercise or task. However, some are intended to be completed while following along with a course video.

If you come across a hands-on lab with no lab guide, read the description. Return to the course to see if there are videos that are meant to be followed instead of a lab guide.

Note: Hands-on labs that are being updated won't have a lab guide.

How long do hands-on labs last?

Hands-on labs have a built-in timer. You can use the lab for as long as the timer lasts, ranging from one to four hours. After the timer expires or when you complete the lab, the lab will close and the resources will be cleared. You can restart the lab from the beginning at any time by returning to the hands-on lab page.

How do I resume a hands-on labs?

All hands-on labs have a timer that starts to counting down immediately after starting the lab. If you don't complete the lab before the timer reaches zero, you'll need to restart the hands-on lab from the beginning.

If the lab has time remaining and you navigate away from the lab, the hands-on lab will still be active. You can continue where you left off by clicking Resume Lab. The timer won’t pause while you are away from the lab.

Why does my hands-on lab time out immediately?

This happens when your local system time is out of sync with the network time. If you force a re-sync, you'll be able to log back into the site and successfully complete the hands-on lab.

To re-sync, follow these steps:

Windows 10

  1. Click your computer's clock and select Adjust date/time.
  2. Toggle on/off for Set Time Automatically.


  1. Open up your local terminal application
  2. Execute this command: "sudo ntpdate -u time.apple.com"

How do I prevent my terminal from timing out?

If you're connected to one of the cloud servers and your terminal session ends, you may receive the following message: "Write Failed: broken pipe".

This can occur when the server doesn’t receive a KeepAlive message after a period of non-use (approximately five minutes).

To correct this problem:

Windows Users

Note: You’ll need PuTTY installed to complete the following steps.

Manual set the "KeepAlive" message by:

  1. Open PuTTY.
  2. Type your hostname or IP address in the field provided.
  3. Click Connection from the list of configuration options.
  4. Type 10 into the Seconds between keepalives.

macOS/Linux Terminals

Update the `~/etc/ssh/ssh_config` file to include:


*ServerAliveInterval 120

If you don't want to modify your `ssh_config` file, you can append your ssh command:

ssh -o ServerAliveInterval=120 user@ip.address

How do I connect to a network in the OpenStack lab?

When you log into the Horizon web GUI in an OpenStack Lab, you won't automatically see a network. You'll need to select the correct tenant at the top after logging in.

When you log in, a project called invisible_to_admin is automatically selected. Click the dropdown menu and select demo. Demo has access to the networks needed for the lab.

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If you need help, please contact Pluralsight Support.