Secure shell (SSH) is a protocol for securely accessing remote terminals. It can be used to log into our remote servers, which are also called virtual servers, and access them as if we were sitting in front of them locally. So that nobody else can login with our username and password, we have to use authentication methods like username and password combinations or private/public key authentication. When using the public/private key authentication method, we create a pair of keys on our local computer and upload the public key to the server that we want to connect to remotely using SSH. The private key stays on your computer, while the public key is uploaded to the server so that you can login using that key when you need to. Through this article, you’ll learn about what an SSH Key is, how you can generate an SSH Key and upload it onto your server so you can use it for secure remote access. Let’s begin…
What is SSH Key Authentication? #
SSH key authentication is a way to log into a remote server, or virtual server, without needing to type a password. Even though you don’t have to type in a password, the login process is secure because you’re logging in with a special type of cryptographic key. This key is created on your computer, but it’s designed to only work with the server you want to log into. This means that, even if someone gets access to your computer and logs into your account, they won’t be able to connect to the server because they won’t have that key.
There are two ways to create the cryptographic key: You can either use a tool built into your computer’s operating system or you can use a cloud-based service. Although the method is different, the result is the same. You’ll get a file called a private key that’s unique to you and one that you must keep secret to prevent others from logging into your servers. In addition, you’ll create a public key that can be used to log into your servers. You can send your public key to the server’s administrator so that they can log into your account using your key.
Generate an SSH Key #
There are many tools available to create an SSH key on a computer. You can use any of them to create a key pair and we will be discussing some of the best tools below.
Putty – This is a program used for remote logins and to create key pairs for SSH. It is a free and open source software that you can use on Windows computers.
Linux – If you are a Linux user, you can create a key pair using the command line. Just open your terminal window and type in “ssh-keygen -t rsa” to begin.
Mac – For Mac users, the easiest way to create an SSH key pair is to open your terminal window and type in “ssh-keygen -t rsa”.
Upload the SSH Key to your server #
First, log into your server using SSH and navigate to your “~/.ssh” directory. This is where all your SSH keys will be stored. If this directory doesn’t exist, then you should create it. Once inside this directory, create a new “authorized_keys” file and open it in a text editor. Now simply paste the public key that you created on your computer into this file and save the file. Now you are done with the SSH key authentication setup and you can use it to log into your server remotely whenever you want.
SSH is an essential tool for developers and anyone who works with remote servers. It can be a much faster way to log into a server than setting up an IP address or installing an application on a computer. Key authentication can be a secure way to log into a server without needing a password. However, you have to take a few steps to set up key authentication on your servers. First, you have to create an SSH key on your computer. Next, you have to upload the public key to your server so you can log in with the key. Once you’ve done this, you can use the key to log into your server remotely whenever you want and without needing a password.