Difference between revisions of "SSH public keys"

(Add a description how to set up public/private keys)
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Revision as of 10:56, 21 June 2008

Often, it is inconvenient to input your password all the time when you push/pull via ssh (not using the contrib user).

For such case, you can set up a public/private key pair. Create them with


Usually, it is a good idea to create a public/private key pair for specific purposes, so that a single compromised key (see an example how that can happen even if you did not do anything wrong) does not affect all of your machines. So, change the default name id_rsa to something like id_rsa.pacific before hitting Return.

You can password-protect your private key, in which case you have to use the program ssh-agent, but is is usually more convenient to leave the password empty, in which case you are not even asked for it anymore.

Now you should have a file id_rsa.pacific.pub (the public key) in addition to id_rsa.pacific (the private key).

Add the public key to the file $HOME/.ssh/authorized_keys on the remote computer, i.e. the computer you want to connect to without a password.

For convenience, you should now add a section like this to the file $HOME/.ssh/config on the local computer, i.e. the computer with the private key:

Host pacific.mpi-cbg.de
    User hacker
    IdentityFile /home/hacker/.ssh/id_rsa.pacific

Without this section, you would have to specify both the identity file as well as the user everytime you connect. For even further convenience, you can add a nick name:

Host pacific
    HostName pacific.mpi-cbg.de
    User hacker
    IdentityFile /home/hacker/.ssh/id_rsa.pacific

With this, you can connect to the remote machine with

ssh pacific