SSH public key authentication does not work


2016-11-16 12:55:20 UTC


2017-04-24 11:22:03 UTC


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SSH public key authentication does not work

Applicable to:

  • Plesk


SSH users exist in Plesk.

When trying to provide them the ability to log in without a password but with an SSH public key, it does not work.


The home directory of each SSH user in Plesk is write-protected.


Permissions of the file authorized_keys are incorrect


Since Plesk 12.0.18 and above such functionality can be managed with SSH Keys Manager extension. Go to Home > Extensions > Extenstions Catalog and install SSH Keys Manager

Note: Make sure that the file authorized_keys has correct permissions. It should be accessible only to the owner:

# ls -l ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
-rw------- 1 root root 399 Jul 15  2016 /root/.ssh/authorized_keys

For older Plesk versions use the following workaround:

  1. Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config . Add this line or change an existing one to the following:

    AuthorizedKeysFile .ssh/authorized_keys .ssh/authorized_keys2 %h/private/.ssh/authorized_keys

    This will make SSH search for the .ssh folder in the private directory of each user not only for the root home directory.

  2. Save the file and restart the sshd :

    # service sshd restart

Then, to use SSH public key customer has to add an authorized_keys file. It should be done as follows:

  1. Log into customer account under provided SSH user and run these commands:

    # cd private
    # mkdir .ssh
    # chmod og-xrw .ssh
  2. Copy authorized_keys file to the created .ssh directory.

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