“Permission denied (publickey)” Error When Connecting Over SSH

SSH often uses a key-based authentication method that offers better security over the regular username and password authentication. On occasion, you may encounter a “Permission denied (publickey)” error.

The key-based authentication system uses two keys:

  • one public
  • one private key

The public key resides on your server, while the private key resides on your local device. Despite the “public” portion of this error message, it indicates an issue with the key residing on your device.

However, since the public and private keys are a matching pair, the entire set needs to be regenerated to fix this error. SSH key generation methods differ depending on the Operating System (OS) of your device or the SSH application used. Below you can find links to tutorials showing you how to generate key pairs on the most popular OSs:

Alternative  Causes

While the primary issue with the error in question is a problem with the keys, other possibilities exist. Most root causes still stem from issues with the SSH connection information used- for example:

  • Incorrect SSH username
  • Outdated IP address or hostname
  • Wrong password

The primary method of resolving this error is to correct the mismatching information in your public and private keys or simply regenerate the keys.

Was this helpful?

Do you want to make your WordPress/WooCommerce site lightning fast?

We guarantee to make your WordPress site load in less than 2 seconds on a managed VPS with ScalaHosting or give your money back. Just fill in the form below and we will get in touch with you.

Please enter a valid name
Please enter a valid website
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Do you want to learn how to grow your website in 2023?

An all-star team of SEO and web influencers are sharing their secret knowledge for the first time in years. You will learn about:

  • What is the future of SEO and how you can be ahead of the curve
  • Web Design best practices and why they matter
  • Secrets to getting the foundation for your website to thrive

An Exclusive Insiders Look Behind The SEO and Web Development Curtain

Rado
Author

Working in the web hosting industry for over 13 years, Rado has inevitably got some insight into the industry. A digital marketer by education, Rado is always putting himself in the client's shoes, trying to see what's best for THEM first. A man of the fine detail, you can often find him spending 10+ minutes wondering over a missing comma or slightly skewed design.