SSH Keys

  • Generate a key pair locally
  • Give the public key to the remote server
  • Keep the private key yourself

Generate key

ssh-keygen -t rsa

Copy .pub file to remote

scp user@remoteserver:location

On linux you can do

ssh-copy-id user@123.456.789.123


The remote server doesn’t like the authorizated_keys file having too many permissions. For better security, change the authorizated_keys file to 600 and the ssh folder to 700. The permissions on .ssh can not be any higher than 755.

chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
chmod 700 ~/.ssh

You might even have to change permissions for the /home directory

chmod go-w ~/


The config file for the ssh daemon is at:


You can also use the find command to find the file location:

find / -name sshd_config

Make a copy of the config file if you are afraid of messing it up

cp /etc/ssh/sshd_config /etc/ssh/sshd_config.bak

Restart SSH

service sshd restart

If you don’t know what the service name for ssh is, you can list all of the services to find out:

service --status-all


To avoid having to type the ssh command everytime, you can create an alias

alias se3='ssh root@remoteServer'

The alias goes in you ~/.bash_profile file.

Start the ssh-agent and load your keys

See if ssh-agent is running:

ps -e | grep [s]sh-agent

Run ssh-agent:

ssh-agent /bin/bash


ssh-agent bash

Load ssh key:

ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa 

List loaded ssh keys:

ssh-add -l

Copy key to clipboard

Copy your key to your clipboard with (Linux only):

cat ~/.ssh/ | pbcopy


Simple as that. Though troubleshooting might be needed.

  • make sure the .pub key has been copied to the authorized_keys file, on remote server, in the ~/.ssh folder. If it doesn’t exist, create one.
  • make sure that the path you copied to is the path specifies in the ssh config file. The ssh config file is at: `sshd_config
  • if the error doesn’t make sense try ssh with verbose mode -v.
  • make sure you have no extra white space at the end when you copy the key, because that can throw it in a loop.

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YouTube: Setting Up an SSH Key