Friday, December 18, 2015

Using SSH keys to access remote servers and git repositories

An SSH key can be used to access a virtual private server or a remote git repository without the need to enter a password every time. By sharing your public key with the remote server, your compter is authenticated as a trusted access point.

Creating SSH keys 

In Debian GNU Linux, using the Gnome desktop, you can create a private and public SSH key pair with for example the seahorse key manager. Under File / New / Secure Shell Key.

Created keys will be visible under ~/.ssh/ the private key is called id_rsa and the public key You should only share the public key.

At the command line, you can create keys with
ssh-keygen -t rsa -C ""

Virtual Private Server

I bought a virtual private server with Debian pre-installed. A public key can be added in the file ~/.ssh/authorized_keys. When connected to the server, edit the file:
vim ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
You might need to change access permission to that file as explained in this gist.


Your public key can be added to your bitbucket account under manage account / security / SSH keys. This page explains how to use the SSH protocol with Bitbucket in more details.


Your public key can be added to your Github account under profile / settings / SSH key. More details on how to generate and use SSH keys for github.

Then at the top of your Github repository you should see the "clone URL". Copy the SSH URL, in the form:
Add it as a remote origin:
git remote add origin
If there was already a remote repository you might need to delete it first with git remote remove origin.

The push and set the remote repository as an upstream repository:
git push --set-upstream origin master
Subsequent push can be simply made with
git push

See also

See also my other blog posts on the bash shell commands and on git commands.

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