Setting up SSH access with server keys (no password) in FreeBSD

You want to login from user@host-a to user@host-b automatically (with no password prompt).

Install ssh-copy-id in the host-a. This little handy script takes care of all the dirty details from your back.

cd /usr/ports/security/ssh-copy-id
make install clean

then run (still in host-a)

ssh-copy-id user@host-b

If you get the error “ERROR: No identities found” then you must generate your keys first and then re-run ssh-copy-id. To generate a pair of private/public SSH keys you must issue:

mkdir ~/.ssh
chmod 700 ~/.ssh
ssh-keygen -t rsa

You can leave the pass-phrase empty for automatic logins (no password prompt) or the more secure but less practical password prompt each and every time that you use the newly generated keys.

Next login from host-a to user@host-b will be made with SSH keys.

The dirty details

  • the user@host-a public key, usually ~/.ssh/ is copied to host-b user/.ssh/authorized_keys
  • the host-b public host key (/etc/ssh/ is copied to host-a known hosts