Manually generating your SSH key in Mac OS X

Modified: 23 Feb 2017 17:59 UTC

You generate an SSH key through Mac OS X by using the Terminal application. Once you upload a valid public SSH key, the Triton Compute Service uses SmartLogin to copy the public key to any new SmartMachine you provision.

About the Terminal application

The terminal provides you with a text-based command line interface to the Unix shell of Mac OS X.

To open the Mac OS X Terminal, follow these steps:

  1. In Finder, choose Utilities from the Go menu.
  2. Find the Terminal application in the Utilities window.
  3. Double-click the Terminal application.

The Terminal window opens with the command line prompt displaying the name of your machine and your username.

Generating an SSH key

An SSH key consists of a pair of files. One is the private key, which you should never give to anyone. The other is the public key. You will need a public key to log into VMs and SmartMachines you provision. When you generate your keys, you will use ssh-keygen to store the keys in a safe location so you can bypass the login prompt when connecting to your SmartMachine.

To generate SSH keys in Mac OS X, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the following command in the Terminal window.

    ssh-keygen -t rsa

    This starts the key generation process. When you execute this command, the ssh-keygen utility prompts you to indicate where to store the key.

  2. Press the ENTER key to accept the default location. The ssh-keygen utility prompts you for a passphrase.

  3. Type in a passphrase. You can also hit the ENTER key to accept the default (no passphrase). However, this is not recommended.

Warning! You will need to enter the passphrase a second time to continue.

After you confirm the passphrase, the system generates the key pair.

Your identification has been saved in /Users/myname/.ssh/id_rsa.
Your public key has been saved in /Users/myname/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is:
ae:89:72:0b:85:da:5a:f4:7c:1f:c2:43:fd:c6:44:38 myname@mymac.local
The key's randomart image is:
+--[ RSA 2048]----+
|                 |
|         .       |
|        E .      |
|   .   . o       |
|  o . . S .      |
| + + o . +       |
|. + o = o +      |
| o...o * o       |
|.  oo.o .        |

Your private key is saved to the id_rsa file in the .ssh directory and is used to verify the public key you use belongs to the same Triton Compute Service account.

Never share your private key with anyone!

Your public key is saved to the;file and is the key you upload to your Triton Compute Service account. You can save this key to the clipboard by running this:

pbcopy < ~/.ssh/

Uploading an SSH key

Now you need to upload the copied SSH key to your Cloud Management portal.

  1. After you copy the SSH key to the clipboard, return to the Cloud Management portal.
  2. In the SSH Key field, paste your SSH key.
  3. In the Name field, provide a name for the key. Information Providing a key name is optional but is a good practice for ease of management.
  4. Click the Add this key button. See below.


You may see a password prompt like this:

$ ssh root@
root@'s password:

This is because:

What is my next step?

The final step is to provision an instance and start using the Triton Compute Service.