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Secure Shell

An encrypted protocol for a remote shell login.

See wikipedia:Secure shell

Generating ssh key pair

Create a new key for your machine

ssh-keygen -t rsa

CHOOSE A STRONG PASSPHRASE, EMPY PASSPHRASE == BAD. If someone has access to your machine via social engineering or tech exploit, your key can be stolen and used to login in all the machines and services without password.

Install your key on the machines where you need to log in

Handy function to put in your shell config

In your shell resource file (~/.zhrc, ~/.bashrc,...) add the following function:

ssh-install-key() {
    cat ~/.ssh/ | ssh ${1} "cat - >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys"

Now you can install your main key,, directly to a target machine:


Using your keys

With Gnome Keyring

Note: It is probably possible for Gnome users to not use keychain and instead have the Gnome-keyring to store and handle all the ssh keys, but I don't use Gnome, so if you figure out how, please add a section for Gnome-keyring here :)

With keychain

Keychain is a software that will keep track of which keys are available in your system and will only ask your passphrase once per session instead. It is a front-end to ssh-add and ssh-agent.

Add the following in your shell resource file:

if [ -e ~/.ssh/id_rsa ]
    keychain --quiet --nogui ~/.ssh/id_rsa
    . ~/.keychain/${HOSTNAME}-sh

Now restart your session and you will be prompted, once for your passphrase. After that you can directly ssh/scp to the machines where your installed your key and you will not be prompted for any passwords!


Using aliases for your ssh connections

To make your life even easier you can edit (create if non existant) the ~/.ssh/config file to create Host ssh aliases for the machines you need to connect to. You can also pass all the ssh options you might want to add, for instance:

Host super
    User username

Host super2
    User anotherusername
    Port 12345
    ForwardAgent yes

Now when you want to ssh/scp to your server you can just do the following:

ssh super

ssh configuration file

The ssh configuration file makes it a lot simpler to ssh scp or sshfs.

It is especially convenient when you have keys for different servers. It helps you to keep them organized and to ssh into servers with easy to remember shortcuts.

Rather than typing

scp myfile username@host:/path/to/copy/file/to

We can simply do with

scp myfile hostname:/path/to/copy/file/to

location of the .ssh directory

On Linux based distros: /home/<your username>/.ssh

On Mac: Users/<your username>/.ssh on MacOS.

create ssh configuration file ~/.ssh/config/

Create the file:

touch ~/.ssh/config

Open the file in your favorite text editor


Host hostname // name for the shortcut you use to ssh into the server
User usename // ssh user
Hostname // hostname of the server
Port 22
Identityfile ~/.ssh/id_rsa // change and make sure this is the path to the location of your keys
Serveraliveinterval 30

Now you can use the short cut to ssh/scp/sshfs to that and any other host in in .ssh/config

using only

ssh username@hostname

or even

ssh hostname


SSHFS (SSH Filesystem) is a filesystem client for mounting remote directories on your machine, using an SSH connection.

By using it you can access, read, edit files from a remote machine on your local machine, as long as you have an account in the remote machine.


on Debian/Ubuntu

sudo apt update
sudo apt install sshfs

on mac

Use homebrew: If homebrew is not installed run the installation command:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Once brew is installed, run:

brew cask install osxfuse
brew install sshfs

Mounting the Remote File System with sshfs

sshfs command essential parameters:

sshfs user@host:remote_directory local_mount_directory  

How to mount:

Create a directory in your local machine, to be use as a mount point

mkdir ~/remote

Mount host remote directory onto the ~/remote directory

ssh user@host:/full/path/to/remote/dir ~/remote

That's it

How to unmount

To unmount the remote dir from the local directory we use the umount NOT unmount, BUT umount

umount ~/remote