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I was able to setup ssh to use private/public key authentication. Now I am able to do

ssh user@server1

And it logs on with the private key. Now I want to connect to another server and use a different key. How do set it up so

ssh user@server1

uses privatekey1

ssh user@server2

and uses privatekey2

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I have to ask, why do you need to use different private keys for the two servers? – David Z Aug 11 '10 at 22:03
No real reason - ones a personal mythbox and the other is a work server and I didn't want to use my home key at work. – Joshua Aug 12 '10 at 11:56
none of the answers seem to answer the full quesiton, eg, how to create different keys privatekey1 and privatekey2 – jpwynn Jan 27 at 18:40
up vote 28 down vote accepted

There are a few options.

  1. Load both keys into your ssh agent using ssh-add. Then both keys will be available when connecting to both servers

  2. Create your $HOME/.ssh/config file and create a Host section for server1 and another for server2. In each Host section, add an IdentityFile option pointing to the appropriate private key file

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ssh agent was a great idea, also if I have both the public and private key files, ie key1 and, in ~/.ssh it will automatically load them. – Joshua Aug 12 '10 at 11:58

You can set this up in your ~/.ssh/config file. You would have something like this:

Host server1
IdentityFile ~/.ssh/key_file1

Host server2
IdentityFile ~/.ssh/key_file2

man ssh_config is a reference

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You can also specify User for each host to cut down on key strokes. Lastly when you're generating a new SSH key for each host with ssh-keygen make sure you actually enter an alternate key path. – Marco Ceppi Aug 11 '10 at 20:49

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