For Unix, what are ssh-agent and ssh-add, and how do I use them?
ssh-agent is a background program
that handles passwords for SSH private keys. The
ssh-add command prompts the user for a private key password
and adds it to the list maintained by
you add a password to
ssh-agent, you will not be
prompted for it when using SSH or scp to connect to hosts
with your public key.
Note: The public part of the key loaded into the
agent must be put on the target system in
~/.ssh/authorized_keys ; see In SSH and SSH2 for Unix, how do I set up public key authentication?
ssh-add, follow the steps below:
- At the Unix prompt, enter:
Note: Make sure you use the backquote
`), located under the tilde (
~), rather than the single quote (
- Enter the command: ssh-add
- Enter your private key password.
- When you log out, enter the command:
To run this command automatically when you log out, place it in your
.logoutfile (if you are using
tcsh) or your
.bash_logoutfile (if you are using
Note: The versions of these programs for
are the same as outlined above. To use them, follow the instructions
above, replacing all
ssh-agent2 , and
ssh-add2 . The SSH2 versions will only work if both
your computer and the remote host are running SSH2.
At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see At IU, how do I get support for Linux or Unix?
Last modified on February 01, 2013.