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PuTTY: Setting Up SSH Key

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This guide walks you through setting up and configuring an SSH key in the Hostwinds Cloud Control Panel, assuming you don’t already have one setup. 

If you are unfamiliar how to locate your Cloud Control Panel, please review Instance Management Panel Overview

Creating an SSH Key

Navigate to the SSH Keys tab, found under the Servers drop-down as shown below:

server ssh key

Once you have entered into the SSH Keys screen in your Cloud Control you’ll see a screen similar to the one shown below:

Shows where to manage SSH keys in Hostwinds Cloud Control Panel

Naming The Key

Name the key something memorable, for how it’ll be used. Is this a key for you and all of your instances? Key names such as GlobalKey, JimsKey, DALKey and SEAKey are all great choices for names to remember what they’re to be used for.

In this example, I’ll be naming the key GlobalKey, as it’ll be my Default key for all of my instances.

Shows where you add SSH keys in Hostwinds Cloud Control Panel

Creating Key

Pressing Create Key will begin the process to have the key created.

Showing SSH key addition message and download option in Hostwinds Cloud Control Panel

Select the radio button for PuTTY, as this is the terminal we’re going to be using in this tutorial.

From there, press the Download button. Ensure that you save the file in a location you’ll remember… somewhere where it won’t get lost or removed easily.

Download PuTTY

Shows screenshot of download options for PuTTY

This is the page you can find Putty at. Select 32-Bit or 64-Bit based on the PC you’re using. The vast majority of more recent PCs these days are 64-Bit.

Once downloaded, open the .msi file and proceed with the installation steps. All of the default options will work perfectly fine for this setup.

Open PuTTY and Set Default Settings

Screenshot of PuTTY icon

Now you can find PuTTY in your programs and files on your computer. PuTTY will have installed other software pieces, but the one you want to open is just called PuTTY.

Once opened, the display will appear as follows:

Shows configuration window for PuTTY

Setting Authentication (SSH) Keys

In the left panel labeled Category: press the + next to SSH to expand the menu selection.

From there, select the category Auth as seen below:

Shows PuTTY SSH authentication settings window

This is where we’ll be specifying the SSH Key you downloaded. Using the Browse button displayed above, select the SSH Private Key you saved earlier in the tutorial.

Saving PuTTY Settings

PuTTY is a little bit confusing in terms of saving your settings. To do so, you’ll now navigate back to the first panel displayed when you originally opened PuTTY.

Select Session underneath the Category: left panel, as seen below:

Showing where to save PuTTY configuration settings

Next, select the field Default Settings and press the Save button to the right of the box.

Shows how to save default settings for PuTTY

Adding SSH Key to your instance

Now, navigate to an instance in your Cloud Control panel that you wish to have the SSH Key applied to.

Shows instance overview page for Hostwinds Cloud Control Panel

Press the Change SSH Keys and select the SSH Key that you named in the beginning of this tutorial. A reboot is required to add the SSH Key to the instance, so perform a reboot on the instance when you’re able to do so.

Afterwards, your SSH Key has been applied to the instance.

Logging into your Instance with your SSH Key

Shows how to login with PuTTY

Now you can login to your instance through the use of your SSH key. With PuTTY open, enter your IP address in the Host Name (or IP address) field and then press Open.

Unless you’ve specifically set your SSH port to another Port, the default Port is 22.

A window will pop up requesting your username you wish to use to login to the terminal. The default for most Operating Systems is root.

Shows login screen for logging into your instance with PuTTY

Press enter once this has been entered in. The next display show that your authentication was with the public key you’ve just setup with PuTTY. It should be similar to the one below:

Shows the authentication screen when logging into your instance with PuTTY

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