I'm trying to copy a /id_rsa.pub to another machine with the command

cat .ssh/id_rsa.pub | ssh root@ 'cat >>

but keep getting the error

sh: .ssh/authorized_keys: Is a directory

I created the directory with the following commands

mkdir ~/.ssh
chmod 700 ~/.ssh
touch ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

The output from the command on the target machine

ls -l /root/.ssh

is "total 0"

  • Can you ssh to the remote machine as root, using password?
    – Arronical
    Nov 1 '16 at 11:46
  • yes, i can ssh with password Nov 1 '16 at 11:57
  • 1
    If you're logged in as root on your local machine, does ssh-copy-id root@ give the same error?
    – Arronical
    Nov 1 '16 at 12:02
  • 1
    I've just noticed that your first command is missing the ~/ before .ssh/authorized_keys, is that the same as the command that you used?
    – Arronical
    Nov 1 '16 at 12:07
  • Is there a directory named ~/.ssh/authorized_keys on the remote machine?
    – terdon
    Nov 19 '16 at 16:13

The problem is that you've made a directory called ~/.ssh/authorized_keys. This is supposed to be a file. I'm not sure how this has happened, given that the commands you've listed should have just made the ~/.ssh directory and an authorized_keys file within it.

Remove the authorized keys directory on the remote machine, and replace with a file. Or even better, use the ssh-copy-id command from the local machine to create the file and add the key in one single command:

ssh-copy-id user@ip-address
  • Hi, thanks for the reply, i have also tried the ssh-copy-id command and got the same error. Nov 1 '16 at 11:36
  • Have you deleted the authorized_keys file?
    – Arronical
    Nov 1 '16 at 11:38
  • yes, ive tried a few different attempts over the past hour. Nov 1 '16 at 11:39
  • 1
    Could you edit your question to include the output of ls -l /root/.ssh on the remote machine.
    – Arronical
    Nov 1 '16 at 11:43
  • recreating everything and running that command again gives me the following Nov 1 '16 at 12:16

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