ssh-add - adds RSA or DSA identities to the authentication agent SYNOPSIS

ssh-add [-lLdD? [file ...?

ssh-add -s reader

ssh-add -e reader DESCRIPTION

ssh-add adds RSA or DSA identities to the authentication agent, ssh-agent(1). When run without arguments, it adds the file $HOME/.ssh/identity. Alternative file names can be given on the command line. If any file requires a passphrase, ssh-add asks for the passphrase from the user. The passphrase is read from the user's tty. ssh-add retries the last passphrase if multiple identity files are given.

The authentication agent must be running and must be an ancestor of the current process for ssh-add to work.

The options are as follows
  • l Lists fingerprints of all identities currently repre-sented by the agent.
  • LLists public key parameters of all identities cur-rently represented by the agent.-dInstead of adding the identity, removes the identityfrom the agent.-DDeletes all identities from the agent.-s readerAdd key in smartcard reader.-e readerRemove key in smartcard reader.FILES


Contains the protocol version 1 RSA authentication identity of the user. This file should not be read- able by anyone but the user. Note that ssh-add ignores this file if it is accessible by others. It is possible to specify a passphrase when generating the key; that passphrase will be used to encrypt the private part of this file. This is the default file added by ssh-add when no other files have been speci- fied.

$HOME/.ssh/id_dsa Contains the protocol version 2 DSA authentication identity of the user.

$HOME/.ssh/id_rsa Contains the protocol version 2 RSA authentication identity of the user.



If ssh-add needs a passphrase, it will read the passphrase from the current terminal if it was run from a terminal. If ssh-add does not have a terminal associated with it but DISPLAY and SSH_ASKPASS are set, it will execute the program specified by SSH_ASKPASS and open an X11 window to read the passphrase. This is particularly useful when calling ssh-add from a .Xsession or related script. (Note that on some machines it may be necessary to redirect the input from /dev/null to make this work.)


OpenSSH is a derivative of the original and free ssh 1.2.12 release by Tatu Ylonen. Aaron Campbell, Bob Beck, Markus Friedl, Niels Provos, Theo de Raadt and Dug Song removed many bugs, re-added newer features and created OpenSSH. Markus Friedl contributed the support for SSH protocol ver- sions 1.5 and 2.0. SEE ALSO

ssh(1), ssh-agent(1), ssh-keygen(1), sshd(8)

BSD September 25, 1999 1

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