Setting Up Passwordless SSH

How to set up ssh so you can log in to a remote server without a password using public key encryption.

Posted by Kirk on 4 January 2016

Setting up passwordless SSH logins is a great way to speed up your workflow when regularly connecting to a remote host like using rsync over ssh. OS X does not include the ssh-copy-id command and so we will have to find another way. This is how to do it and it doesn't take very long.

Generate a Key

Skip this step if you already have done this previously. you can check by issuing the following command in the terminal:

cat ~/.ssh/

If you see some thing like:

ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQAB.....iQ== username@hostname

You already have a key and you can move on to the next step, other wise you can generate a key as follows:


That's it you have generated your key.

Transfer the Public Key to the Remote Host

The first thing you need to do is logon to the remote host and check whether is has a .ssh directory for the user you are logging in as so in the terminal:

ssh username@remotehost

Enter the password and you are logged in as long as the user has an account and you got the password correct. check for the directory by:

cd .ssh

If that works you can logout otherwise you need to create the directory:

mkdir .ssh

Now logout using the exit command and now we can transfer the key we made earlier by:

cat ~/.ssh/ | ssh user@remotehost 'cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys'

you will need to enter your password again. Now try logging in to the remote server again to confirm it's worked:

ssh username@remotehost

If all went well you didn't need to enter a password.

Posted in:
OSX   Linux  
Tagged with:
ssh   server   development  

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