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Creating an SSH Key in Linux
Creating an SSH Key in Linux

How to create an SSH key in Linux to use with your BitLaunch VPS

Written by BL
Updated over a week ago

When you create a VPS, you'll be asked if you'd like to add an SSH key to the server. While a little more cumbersome to set up than the usual password, this will ultimately greatly increase the security of your server with little inconvenience.

What is my SSH key?

The natural reaction when being asked to add an SSH key to a server is to wonder "what is my SSH key and where can I find it in my control panel?". However, for technical and security reasons, BitLaunch does not set up SSH for our users. Instead, you need to generate an SSH key yourself with a few simple commands.

For the unfamiliar, SSH keys are a set of 4069-bit matching cryptographic values which you can use to prove your identity to your server. They consist of two parts: a public SSH key and private SSH key, with the public key able to be shared with anyone and the private one kept firmly to yourself.

The public SSH key is used by the server to create and encrypt a random string that can only be unlocked by the private SSH key, which is saved on your local PC. If the client (your PC) is able to correctly decrypt this key, the server knows it's you and will therefore give access. Due to the sheer length of a private key, it's essentially impossible to brute force with current technology.

With that said, let's jump into how to create a private key and public key in the command line.

How to generate SSH keys

The first step is to create an SSH key on your local machine with:

ssh-keygen -t rsa

This will create a private key and public key, but first you will be asked a few questions:

Enter file in which to save the key (/Users/bitlaunchio/.ssh/id_rsa):

Designate where you want to store the key. Pressing enter will use the default home directory shown.

Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):

You can designate a passphrase when you set up SSH if you wish. This adds an extra layer of security at the cost of inconvenience for you, as you will need to use this password whenever you use your SSH key to login to a server.

Once you create the private key and public key, the latter is stored at the file path you designated earlier. As an example, if we used the default file path, the public key will be stored at Users/bitlaunchio/.ssh/

This is the public key that you add to your account to access your servers. If you'd prefer to use a third-party tool, you can make your SSH key with PuTTY and then use its client to connect to your server. The private key will be at ~/.ssh/id_rsa. It's important that you don't share this with anyone.

How to add an SSH key to a server

To add a public SSH key to BitLaunch, login to your account and click the face icon to open your account settings. Click the Security tab and then Add SSH key.

An SSH key pop-up will surface. Paste your public SSH key into this box and give it a recognizable name.

Click Add SSH key to add the SSH key to the server.

That's it! You've successfully generated an SSH key for use with your BitLaunch account. You can now select it during your server setup.

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