SSH Key Management

If you don't already use SSH, you'll need to generate a public and private key pair for use with your instances. This keypair is a used to authenticate you with your servers, and by default passworded SSH is disabled so you have better security.

To generate your own SSH key, run

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa

You can optionally provide a password to protect your key, by leaving the password field empty you'll choose to not set one. Once your key is generated, make sure you never share your private key at ~/.ssh/id_rsa, and whenever prompted for your SSH key, you provide the contents of your public key located at ~/.ssh/ If you'd like more information on SSH a good overview is available here: OpenSSH on WikiBooks.

Adding Keys From the Dashboard

Go under "Access & Security" -> SSH Keys and click "Import Key". This will display a modal where you'll need to name your key, and provide the full contents of your public key file located at ~/.ssh/, and hit save.

SSH Key Modal

This will allow your public key to be deployed with any new instance you create, allowing you to access any instance you own securely, and without a password. You can also quickly access the import screen from the launch instance screen by clicking the add button next to the SSH key dropdown.

Via the command line

If you haven't configured your OpenStack command line tools yet read this article before continuing.

$ nova keypair-add --pub_key ~/.ssh/ my_awesome_key

To confirm that the operation worked, you can run

$ nova keypair-list

Note that my_awesome_key is in the list now.


Depending on the type of instance that you've deployed, the username to connect via SSH will be different. As a guide to the defaults, you can use the following list to find out which user you should be using.

  • Ubuntu - ubuntu
  • Fedora - fedora
  • CentOS 7 - centos
  • CentOS 6 - root
  • Debian - debian

Then, since your SSH key is injected into the instance when it's created, you can simply SSH in without a cumbersome password to a sudo-able user.

$ ssh <user>@<floating_ip>
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Last updated on 8th Jun 2016