I am attempting to log into an instance I created in the IBM cloud.

When I attempt to execute the command "ssh -i ~/.ssh root@[IP_address of my instance], I receive the error "Load key "/root/.ssh/": Is a directory root@[IP_address of my instance]'s password:

Prior to executing this command, I did run ssh-keygen and was able to generate new set of files i.e., id_rsa and id_rsa.pub.

I have run the chmod 700 on the 2 files id_rsa and id_rsa.pub but this appears to not have worked.

Can someone help me understand why the command above i.e., "ssh -i ~/.ssh root@[IP_address of my instance] results in this error?

1 Answer 1


The -i option requires the name of the private key file, not the name of the directory containing the file:

ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa root@[IP_address of my instance]

However, since ~/.ssh/id_rsa is the default RSA key file, you can omit the -i option and its argument altogether

ssh root@[IP_address of my instance]

Of course, for the authentication to succeed you will need to have copied the public key to the authorized_keys file on the remote account - using ssh-copy-id or otherwise.

  • Thank you so much! Very much appreciated!
    – David S
    Jul 2, 2021 at 14:30

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