Generate a Key Pair for SSH

This page describes how to use ssh-keygen to generate a public/private RSA key pair that can be used with SSH. (Note: ssh-keygen is found on most Linux and Unix-like operating systems; if you’re using Windows, then you’ll have to use another tool, such as PuTTYgen.)

By convention, SSH key pairs get stored in the ~/.ssh/ directory. Check what keys you already have there:

ls -1 ~/.ssh/

Next, make up a new key pair name (called <name> below). Here are some ideas:

  • aws-bdb-2

  • tim-bdb-azure

  • chris-bcdb-key

Next, generate a public/private RSA key pair with that name:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -C "<name>" -f ~/.ssh/<name>

It will ask you for a passphrase. You can use whatever passphrase you like, but don’t lose it. Two keys (files) will be created in ~/.ssh/:

  1. ~/.ssh/<name>.pub is the public key

  2. ~/.ssh/<name> is the private key