SSH Passwordless Login Using SSH Keygen in 5 Easy Steps

SSH (Secure SHELL) is an open source and most trusted network protocol that is used to login into remote servers for execution of commands and programs. It is also used to transfer files from one computer to another computer over the network using secure copy (SCP) Protocol.

In this article we will show you how to setup password-less login on RHEL/CentOS 7.x/6.x/5.x and Fedora using ssh keys to connect to remote Linux servers without entering password. Using Password-less login with SSH keys will increase the trust between two Linux servers for easy file synchronization or transfer.

SSH Passwordless Login

Setup SSH Passwordless Login

My Setup Environment
SSH Client : 192.168.0.12 ( Fedora 21 )
SSH Remote Host : 192.168.0.11 ( CentOS 7 )

If you are dealing with number of Linux remote servers, then SSH Password-less login is one of the best way to automate tasks such as automatic backups with scripts, synchronization files using scp and remote command execution.

In this example we will setup SSH password-less automatic login from server 192.168.0.12 as user tecmint to 192.168.0.11 with user sheena.

Step 1: Create Authentication SSH-Kegen Keys on – (192.168.0.12)

First login into server 192.168.0.12 with user tecmint and generate a pair of public keys using following command.

[tecmint@tecmint.com ~]$ ssh-keygen -t rsa

Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/tecmint/.ssh/id_rsa): [Press enter key]
Created directory '/home/tecmint/.ssh'.
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): [Press enter key]
Enter same passphrase again: [Press enter key]
Your identification has been saved in /home/tecmint/.ssh/id_rsa.
Your public key has been saved in /home/tecmint/.ssh/id_rsa.pub.
The key fingerprint is:
5f:ad:40:00:8a:d1:9b:99:b3:b0:f8:08:99:c3:ed:d3 [email protected]
The key's randomart image is:
+--[ RSA 2048]----+
|        ..oooE.++|
|         o. o.o  |
|          ..   . |
|         o  . . o|
|        S .  . + |
|       . .    . o|
|      . o o    ..|
|       + +       |
|        +.       |
+-----------------+
Create SSH RSA Key

Create SSH RSA Key

Step 2: Create .ssh Directory on – 192.168.0.11

Use SSH from server 192.168.0.12 to connect server 192.168.0.11 using sheena as user and create .ssh directory under it, using following command.

[tecmint@tecmint ~]$ ssh sheena@192.168.0.11 mkdir -p .ssh

The authenticity of host '192.168.0.11 (192.168.0.11)' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is 45:0e:28:11:d6:81:62:16:04:3f:db:38:02:la:22:4e.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added '192.168.0.11' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.
sheena@192.168.0.11's password: [Enter Your Password Here]
Create SSH Directory Under User Home

Create SSH Directory Under User Home

Step 3: Upload Generated Public Keys to – 192.168.0.11

Use SSH from server 192.168.0.12 and upload new generated public key (id_rsa.pub) on server 192.168.0.11 under sheena‘s .ssh directory as a file name authorized_keys.

[tecmint@tecmint ~]$ cat .ssh/id_rsa.pub | ssh sheena@192.168.0.11 'cat >> .ssh/authorized_keys'

sheena@192.168.1.2's password: [Enter Your Password Here]
Upload RSA Key

Upload RSA Key

Step 4: Set Permissions on – 192.168.0.11

Due to different SSH versions on servers, we need to set permissions on .ssh directory and authorized_keys file.

[tecmint@tecmint ~]$ ssh sheena@192.168.0.11 "chmod 700 .ssh; chmod 640 .ssh/authorized_keys"

sheena@192.168.0.11's password: [Enter Your Password Here]
Set Permission on SSH Key

Set Permission on SSH Key

Step 5: Login from 192.168.0.12 to 192.168.0.11 Server without Password

From now onwards you can log into 192.168.0.11 as sheena user from server 192.168.0.12 as tecmint user without password.

[tecmint@tecmint ~]$ ssh sheena@192.168.0.11
SSH Remote Passwordless Login

SSH Remote Passwordless Login

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Ravi Saive

I am Ravi Saive, creator of TecMint. A Computer Geek and Linux Guru who loves to share tricks and tips on Internet. Most Of My Servers runs on Open Source Platform called Linux. Follow Me: Twitter, Facebook and Google+

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246 Responses

  1. Joy says:

    Hi,

    I have tried passwordless login and working fine from server A to server B. But reverse side it is not working and asking for password.

  2. Lambert Tran says:

    After this is done, can we login the client from the server w/o using password? What about doing this for multiple servers and clients?

    Thank you!

    • Ravi Saive says:

      @Lambert,

      If you have followed instructions correctly, yes you will able to login to remote server without password. For multiple SSH passwordless logins, follow the same instructions on each server.

  3. Ravikumar Wagh says:

    Hello Ravi,

    This is because, if you check ssh config file.

    Default path for ssh authorized keys are in .ssh directory at you home directory.

    ————————————————————————–
    AuthorizedKeysFile .ssh/authorized_keys
    ————————————————————————–

    You can change path if you wish :)

  4. ravi says:

    why we are going to create a .ssh directory on client server?

  5. Yasir says:

    After following above steps i’m unable to login for local host

  6. Sai K says:

    After step 2, when I enter my password, I’ve been getting an error.

    stty: standard input: invalid argument

    Any comments on how to solve this?

  7. dexter says:

    Any way to disable the typing animations? Even ebooks don’t have this. It in no way assists, just distracts & irritates.

    Oh – the info is great btw, worked a treat.

  8. Alexander says:

    It would really be much easier to read your article if you used “source server” and “destination server” instead of IP addresses.

  9. Sowjanya says:

    Great One!!!

  10. Nan Xiao says:

    In step 1: “generate a pair of public keys”, it should be “generate a pair of public/private keys”.

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