How To Set Up SSH Keys

Introduction

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The Secure Shell Protocol (or SSH) is a cryptographic network protocol that allows users to securely access a remote computer over an unsecured network.

Though SSH supports password-based authentication, it is generally recommended that you use SSH keys instead. SSH keys are a more secure method of logging into an SSH server, because they are not vulnerable to common brute-force password hacking attacks.

Generating an SSH key pair creates two long strings of characters: a public and a private key. You can place the public key on any server, and then connect to the server using an SSH client that has access to the private key.

When the public and private keys match up, the SSH server grants access without the need for a password. You can increase the security of your key pair even more by protecting the private key with an optional (but highly encouraged) passphrase.

Step 1 — Creating the Key Pair

The first step is to create a key pair on the client machine. This will likely be your local computer. Type the following command into your local command line:

  • ssh-keygen -t ed25519
  • Copy
Output
Generating public/private ed25519 key pair.

You will see a confirmation that the key generation process has begun, and you will be prompted for some information, which we will discuss in the next step.