Methods to view your SSH keys in Linux, macOS, and Home windows

When you’re unsure easy methods to view your SSH certificates, Jack Wallen walks you thru the steps on Linux, macOS, and Home windows.

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There will probably be instances when you might want to really view your SSH certificates in Linux. Why? Say, for instance, you might want to add a certificates for authentication in GitHub (or some other on-line service that requires SSH authentication). You already know you’ve got created these SSH certificates, however how do you view them?

For individuals who are conversant in SSH, you most likely already know the reply to that query. In any case, that is fairly primary SSH stuff. For individuals who are new to the methods of SSH (or Linux, macOS, or Home windows for that matter), the duty would possibly stump you.

By no means concern, that is why I am right here. 

I wish to present you simply how simple it’s to view these SSH keys, so you need to use them for third-party providers.

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What you may want

The one factor you may want for that is entry to a server or desktop (Linux, macOS, or Home windows) and an SSH key created. When you’ve not already created your SSH key pair, you are able to do so with the command:


That command will generate a key pair, each private and non-private keys. The general public secret’s that which you ship to servers for SSH key authentication. While you try and log in to that server, SSH will evaluate the private and non-private keys. If these keys are a match, you may be allowed entry. Easy sufficient. You are prepared to maneuver on.

Methods to view your SSH public key on Linux

There are two simple methods to view your SSH public key in Linux. The primary methodology is a bit difficult, as a result of it makes use of each ssh-agent and ssh-add instructions. That is most likely overkill for what you want, nevertheless it’s a great way to view the important thing, whereas requiring your SSH keypair password. The command is:

ssh-agent sh -c 'ssh-add; ssh-add -L'

Upon profitable authentication, your SSH public key will print out within the terminal. You’ll be able to then copy that and paste it the place you want. In fact, that is plenty of instructions to recollect, particularly whenever you simply must view the contents of the general public key.

When you do not wish to should memorize yet one more command, you may merely use the cat command like so:

cat ~/.ssh/

The above command will print out your SSH key in your Linux machine, with out prompting you in your key authentication password.

Methods to view your SSH public key on macOS

Viewing your keys on macOS will be finished in comparable style as Linux. Open your terminal window and situation the command:

cat ~/.ssh/


cat /Customers/USERNAME/.ssh/

The place USERNAME is your macOS username.

The above instructions will print out your SSH public key. 

macOS additionally has another nifty trick up its sleeve. You’ll be able to copy the contents of the SSH key on to the clipboard, with out displaying the important thing, utilizing the pbcopy instrument. This command could be:

cat ~/.ssh/ | pbcopy

As soon as you’ve got copied the important thing to your clipboard, you’ll be able to paste it wherever you want it.

Methods to view your SSH public key on Home windows

On Home windows, you may use the sort command to view your SSH public key like so:


The place USERNAME is the identify of your person.

The above command will show your SSH public key. You’ll be able to then use the Ctrl+c keyboard shortcut to repeat the contents of the file.

You too can do one thing just like what we did on macOS (copying the SSH public key on to the clipboard) utilizing the sort and clip instructions like so:

sort | clip

The place USERNAME is your username.

Now you can paste that key wherever you want it.

Methods to view your personal key

Likelihood is you are not ever going to should view your personal key. In any case, that is the key within the sauce that is by no means on show for anybody to see. However, on the off likelihood you do must view that key, you’ll be able to observe the identical steps as above, however take away the .pub from the file identify (in any occasion). Keep in mind id_rsa is the personal key and is the general public key.

And that is all there may be to viewing your SSH private and non-private keys on Linux, macOS, and Home windows. 

Simply bear in mind, deal with these keys with the care and safety they deserve. Though your public key will probably be handed out to different customers and providers, that non-public key must be tucked away and by no means proven to the general public. When you do unintentionally launch that non-public key, you may must take away the general public key from the authorized_keys file from each server that makes use of the keypair, delete the private and non-private keys on the host, generate a brand new keypair, and ship it to the servers you might want to log in to with SSH key authentication. When you go away any hint of that compromised key pair on any server or desktop, you run the chance of permitting somebody entry. 

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Anil Kumar

Anil Kumar Gadgets writes for Review Tech smartphones, wearables, headphones and speakers based in Delhi for 360 Tech News. Anil Gadgets is a reviewer for 360 Tech News and has written in detail about smartphones, software updates and upcoming devices.

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