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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Generate Public/Private RSA Key Pair for SFTP

To access an SFTP server, an SSH public key must be created and shared with the SFTP host.  To generate a public/private key pair the ssh-keygen utility in UNIX can be used.  This program will calculate a key pair for you by following these steps:

(1) At the UNIX prompt, type ssh-keygen.  A message will appear indicating the application is generating the public/private rsa key pair.

(2) You will next be prompted to enter the location where you want to save the key.  You can specify a filename or just leave the space blank and press Enter.

(3) Afterwards you will be prompted to enter a passphrase to use as a password.  Enter your passphrase here or you can opt to leave the space blank.  It is acceptable to simply hit Enter to proceed without specifying a passphrase.

(4) Finally, you will be prompted to re-enter your passphrase.

That is all there is to creating a public and private key pair.  To access the remote SFTP server the administrator will need you to forward a copy of your public key to set up your account.  The public key will be a file with one line that includes "ssh-rsa", a long key code, followed by your account name and host name (ex: user@host.school.edu).  The file extension will be .pub.

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