Content for people that build.

MacOS How to Set up SSH Keys

OpenSSH server supports various authentication schema. The two most popular are as follows:

  • Passwords based authentication
  • Public key based authentication. It is an alternative security method to using passwords. This method is recommended on a VPS, cloud, dedicated or even home based server.

The Steps

  1. Create the SSH keys public/private pair
  2. Copy and install the public SSH key on the remote host.
  3. Test & getting rid of the passphrase

Generate the SSH Keys

ssh-keygen -t rsa

You need to set the Key Pair location and name. I recommend you use the default location if you do not yet have another key there, for example: $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa. You will be prompted to supply a passphrase (password) for your private key. I suggest that you setup a passphrase when prompted, but this can be left blank. You should see two new files in $HOME/.ssh/ directory:

$HOME/.ssh/idrsa– contains your private key. $HOME/.ssh/ – contain your public key.

Copy the public key on the remote host

Use scp or ssh-copy-id command to copy your public key file (e.g., $HOME/.ssh/ to your account on the remote server/host.

ssh-copy-id -i $HOME/.ssh/
scp $HOME/.ssh/


Now, try connecting using the command below.

ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa

It might prompt you for a password. After the set up is complete, you should now be able to ssh directly, and if you configured a passphrase, that's what's going to be required. If no passphrase was configured for the SSH keys pair, it will login directly.

Getting rid of the passphrase

To get rid of a passphrase for the current session, add a passphrase to ssh-agent and you will not be prompted for it when using ssh or scp/sftp/rsync to connect to hosts with your public key.


Published on 2020-02-20 11:05:00 +0000

Tagged with: