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How do I get an SSH Public Key on Mac?

So you have been to asked for your Public SSH Key? We are here with a quick guide into getting hold of one on your Mac!

Step 1 – Open Terminal

There are many options of running the SSH on Macs, however we recommend running this from the terminal command line as this is the easiest.

To get started, you need to open the Terminal application which is found in Applications > Utilities > Directory, but you can also launch this by hitting cmd+spacebar and typing “Terminal” into the search box and then return.

Once open you will be greeted with a window where your cursor is just after a $ symbol. This means you are ready to go!

Step 2 – Generate Your SSH Keys

Now you are ready to type, enter the following command and hit enter:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096

If this works, you will be asked where to save your keys, the default location is fine so you can just hit enter again. Please be aware that if you enter a location other than default then the code in Step 3 will change to the location you specified.

Next you will be prompted to enter a passphrase, this can be anything you wish but please remember it as you will need to confirm it immediately after.

That’s it! Your keys have been generated, now how to you get hold of them? You’ll still need this Terminal window, so keep it open for now.

Step 3 – Save your Private Key, send your Public Key

Your Private Key will live forever at location you specified in Step 2. You should NEVER share your Private Key, so keep it a secret!

Your Public Key needs to be sent over to us so we can set you up with access. In order to copy your Public Key so you can paste it into an email, simply enter the following command in your Terminal window and hit enter:

pbcopy < ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

You should now have your Public Key on your clipboard. Now head over to your email client, paste into the email content and send it over.

Once we’ve received your Public Key, our server technicians can set you up with access to the server and talk you through how to connect.

If you need any further assistance, please contact your account manager by raising a support ticket or calling the office on 01785 279920.


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