• A key pair file contains a private key and public key. You keep the private key on your computer and provide the public key every time you launch an instance. To create key pairs, you can use a third-party tool such as OpenSSH on UNIX-style systems (including Linux, Solaris, BSD, and OS X) or PuTTY Key Generator on Windows. Before You Begin.
  • To generate an RSA key pair for version 1 of the SSH protocol, follow these steps: Generate an RSA key pair by typing the following at a shell prompt: $ ssh-keygen -t rsa1 Generating public/private rsa1 key pair.
  • SiteGround uses key pairs for SSH authentication purposes, as opposed to plain username and password. More information on SSH keys is available here. You can generate an SSH key pair in Mac OS following these steps: Open up the Terminal by going to Applications - Utilities.
  • Setup SSH keys – macOS. The following outlines the process of setting up key-based SSH login on Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server. To set up key-based SSH, you must generate the keys the two computers will use to establish and validate the identity of each other.

With a secure shell (SSH) key pair, you can create virtual machines (VMs) in Azure that use SSH keys for authentication, eliminating the need for passwords to sign in. This article shows you how to quickly generate and use an SSH public-private key file pair for Linux VMs. You can complete these steps with the Azure Cloud Shell, a macOS or Linux host, the Windows Subsystem for Linux, and other tools that support OpenSSH.


VMs created using SSH keys are by default configured with passwords disabled, which greatly increases the difficulty of brute-force guessing attacks.

For more background and examples, see Detailed steps to create SSH key pairs.

For additional ways to generate and use SSH keys on a Windows computer, see How to use SSH keys with Windows on Azure.

Jun 22, 2012  SSH keys provide a more secure way of logging into a virtual private server with SSH than using a password alone. With SSH keys, users can log into a server without a password. This tutorial explains how to generate, use, and upload an SSH Key Pair.

Supported SSH key formats

Azure currently supports SSH protocol 2 (SSH-2) RSA public-private key pairs with a minimum length of 2048 bits. Other key formats such as ED25519 and ECDSA are not supported.

Create an SSH key pair

Use the ssh-keygen command to generate SSH public and private key files. By default, these files are created in the ~/.ssh directory. You can specify a different location, and an optional password (passphrase) to access the private key file. If an SSH key pair with the same name exists in the given location, those files are overwritten.

The following command creates an SSH key pair using RSA encryption and a bit length of 4096:

If you use the Azure CLI to create your VM with the az vm create command, you can optionally generate SSH public and private key files using the --generate-ssh-keys option. The key files are stored in the ~/.ssh directory unless specified otherwise with the --ssh-dest-key-path option. The --generate-ssh-keys option will not overwrite existing key files, instead returning an error. In the following command, replace VMname and RGname with your own values:

Provide an SSH public key when deploying a VM

To create a Linux VM that uses SSH keys for authentication, specify your SSH public key when creating the VM using the Azure portal, Azure CLI, Azure Resource Manager templates, or other methods:

If you're not familiar with the format of an SSH public key, you can display your public key with the following cat command, replacing ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub with the path and filename of your own public key file if needed:

A typical public key value looks like this example:

If you copy and paste the contents of the public key file to use in the Azure portal or a Resource Manager template, make sure you don't copy any trailing whitespace. To copy a public key in macOS, you can pipe the public key file to pbcopy. Similarly in Linux, you can pipe the public key file to programs such as xclip.

The public key that you place on your Linux VM in Azure is by default stored in ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub, unless you specified a different location when you created the key pair. To use the Azure CLI 2.0 to create your VM with an existing public key, specify the value and optionally the location of this public key using the az vm create command with the --ssh-key-values option. In the following command, replace VMname, RGname, and keyFile with your own values:

If you want to use multiple SSH keys with your VM, you can enter them in a space-separated list, like this --ssh-key-values sshkey-desktop.pub sshkey-laptop.pub.

SSH into your VM

With the public key deployed on your Azure VM, and the private key on your local system, SSH into your VM using the IP address or DNS name of your VM. In the following command, replace azureuser and myvm.westus.cloudapp.azure.com with the administrator user name and the fully qualified domain name (or IP address):

If you specified a passphrase when you created your key pair, enter that passphrase when prompted during the login process. The VM is added to your ~/.ssh/known_hosts file, and you won't be asked to connect again until either the public key on your Azure VM changes or the server name is removed from ~/.ssh/known_hosts.

Generate ssh key windows

If the VM is using the just-in-time access policy, you need to request access before you can connect to the VM. For more information about the just-in-time policy, see Manage virtual machine access using the just in time policy.

Next steps

  • For more information on working with SSH key pairs, see Detailed steps to create and manage SSH key pairs.

  • If you have difficulties with SSH connections to Azure VMs, see Troubleshoot SSH connections to an Azure Linux VM.


SSH keys have numerous advantages over passwords

  • Increased security: they are nearly impossible to brute force or guess
  • Ease of management: Need access to a friend’s computer? Just send them yourpublic key. No more creating and changing random passwords.
  • Type less passwords: You can use ssh-agent to cache your key, so you can usessh without typing your password every time
  • Automated scripts: Because you don’t need to type your password every time,its easier to automate tasks that require ssh


Linux/OS X (Short Version)¶

  • Run this command:

  • Accept the default location, and enter a secure passphrase that you (and onlyyou) will remember.

  • Email us the contents of ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

Linux/OS X (Detailed)¶

  • Use the ssh-keygen utility to create your key. For a 2048 bit RSA key do:

For increased security you can make an even larger key with the -b option. Forexample, for 4096 bits do:

The OSL recommends using RSA over DSA because DSA keys are required to be only1024 bits.

  • When prompted, you can press Enter to use the default location(/home/your_username/.ssh/id_rsa on Linux, or/Users/your_username/.ssh/id_rsa on Mac) if you don’t already have a keyinstalled, or specify a custom location if you are creating a second key (orjust want to for whatever reason).
  • Enter a passphrase at the prompt. All people connecting to OSL servers mustuse a passphrase. This is just a password used to unlock your key. Ifsomeone else gets a copy of your private key they will be able to log in asyou on any account that uses that key, unless you specify a passphrase. If youspecify a passphrase they would need to know both your private key andyour passphrase to log in as you.
  • After you re-enter your passphrase, ssh-keygen may print a little picturerepresenting your key ((you don’t need to worry about this now, but it ismeant as an easily recognizeable fingerprint of your key, so you could know ifit is changed without your knowledge - but it doesn’t seem to be widely used))then exit.
  • Your private key should now be in the location you specified, and your publickey will be at that same location but with ‘.pub’ tacked onto the filename.


If you are creating this key for use with an OSL SSH account, copy and pastethe public key into your ticket. If we didn’t ask you for a public key but youwant one added to your account email it to support@osuosl.org, being sure tospecify who you are and what project(s) you are associated with.

  • Or, to use the public key on a computer under your control, add it to~/.ssh/authorized_keys (you can specify multiple public keys, one perline).
  • Never share your private key file, only the public key file.

Windows (using putty)¶

Great guide on setting up Filezilla with ssh keysDownload and start theputtygen.exe generator.

  • In the “Key” section choose SSH-2 RSA and press Generate.
  • Move your mouse randomly in the small screen in order to generate the keypairs.
  • Enter a key comment, which will identify the key (useful when you use severalSSH keys).
  • Type in the passphrase and confirm it. The passphrase is used to protect yourkey. You will be asked for it when you connect via SSH.
  • Click “Save private key” to save your private key.
  • Click “Save public key” to save your public key.


Generate Ssh Key Putty

If you are creating this key for use with an OSL SSH account, copy and pastethe public key into your ticket. If we didn’t ask you for a public key but youwant one added to your account email it to support@osuosl.org, being sure tospecify who you are and what project(s) you are associated with.

Os X Generate Ssh Key Pair In Linux

  • keep your private key in a safe place
  • when using putty go to connection->SSH->Auth and Browse to your private key
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