Use SSH keys

Connecting to your account using a SSH password is quite ok, but using keys is the preferred way of authentication. To do so you will need to create a pair of keys on your local system and copy the public part to your Uberspace. That way you can login there without re-entering your password each time and you have a much more convenient and secure way of managing your account(s).


It’s best practice to generate a separate key pair for every device you’re using; you can allow as many SSH keys to access your account as you like, and using different keys makes it easy to e.g. remove a single key if one of your devices gets lost.

Generate the key on your local system

We will again use OpenSSH to generate the pair of keys, open your local shell and enter the following command:

localuser@localhost ~ $ ssh-keygen -t ed25519 -a 100
Generating public/private ed25519 key pair.

At first you will be asked for a filename, here you can just press Enter to confirm the default name and path:

Enter file in which to save the key (/home/localuser/.ssh/id_ed25519):

You will then have to enter a passphrase blindly, this is correct and intended (you have to enter it twice to make sure it’s entered without any typos):

Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:

You should then receive a confirmation output like this:

Your identification has been saved in /home/localuser/.ssh/id_ed25519.
Your public key has been saved in /home/localuser/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is:
SHA256:fpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpfpf localuser@localhost
The key's randomart image is:

You should now have 2 files (within the path that you confirmed before) and it is important to know the difference:

  • id_ed25519 is your private key file that should never leave your device.

  • is the public part of your new keypair. The content of that file should be shared with a server to establish the verification.

Add the public ssh key to your Uberspace

To add the public key to your Uberspace, first get the content of the file. You can open the file with a simple text editor or you may again use the shell to show its content (the command may differ on your local system):

localuser@localhost ~ $ cat ~/.ssh/
ssh-ed25519 AAAAC3NzaC1lZDI1NTE5AAAAICXeB9uga0aDoGLCMNkCJN4EoFlsI3MZi+8Xa6K5hMGF localuser@localhost

Add the public ssh key via Uberspace Dashboard

Then login to your Uberspace Dashboard and copy the content (aka your public key) to the Add a SSH public key field on the Logins page.

Add the public ssh key on your Uberspace

Instead of using the Uberspace Dashboard, you can also manually add your public key to the file ~/.ssh/authorized_keys on your Uberspace. You can open the file on your Uberspace with a simple text editor and add a new line with the content (aka your public key) to it. To do this, you need access via ssh (using an ssh password or using an already configured ssh key).

If you edit the file ~/.ssh/authorized_keys manually, be careful not to delete or modify the first entry

ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEAzemLn04VCUIZuoGiQ89mU6y5Oq4FBO1oFIusBm0uy/jggZrezl50/ntDFbSdCvd8P4xKr++hFN/ug7SkikEULFwQ2efDw7RU45I4iT74St2v7Oa3L/cFV3RNB1sazkzfNyyogwKoykzrD69oRtJLwLsMY09JIMTS7erzIgWimMq5xo2/jzDcfRXaqsO8SDVuQE40SLe3xZz7cXdVRWmG2h+XCpsc8AbqlU0RtcomaT2Lz44lQHMJpZA7bBU6WkFNB52PvQEiQTIOxByTmKB9kVCZeSCyn/q5Y+E9pykYAsqTmZzT8DD/oa7O3QvVlI+8suA9QLcNFZszGdosi4YtTQ== (nicht loeschen)

It is used by the Uberspace Dashboard (and not shown in the Dashboard’s list of ssh keys).

Login using the SSH key

You may use the same simple SSH command to use your key for login to your Uberspace:

localuser@localhost ~ $ ssh

For the first time doing so you will need to unlock your private key with the password you have chosen before when generating your private key. (Do not get confused, this is not the password you entered in the Uberspace Dashboard for your first key-less SSH login.)

Add your key to the ssh-agent

From now on you’d have to enter the passphrase of your private key whenever you’re about to connect to a server, but: Most Linux distributions have already set up ssh-agent for you.

This is a program running in the background, started upon login, holding your unencrypted key in memory (not on disk) as long as your local session lasts. This means that until you reboot your local system, you only need to unlock your private key once irrespective of how many destinations you’re using it for.

Simply add your private key to the agent’s keyring:

localuser@localhost ~ $ ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_ed25519
Enter passphrase for ~/.ssh/id_ed25519:
Identity added: ~/.ssh/id_ed25519 (localuser@localhost)

And that’s it! If ssh-agent unexpectedly is not preconfigured on your local system, please refer to your operating system’s documentation on how to do it (different operating systems use slightly different ways to achieve this).