Friday , June 21 2024

SSH Per-Host Configuration

And the “new trick of the week” award goes to… SSH configuration files.

I’ve been an OpenSSH user for a LONG, LONG time. I’ve used lots of different configuration, and connected to probably hundreds of hosts. No, I don’t use a GUI interface. Yes, I prefer scp to just about any other remote copying tool. I pretty much thought I knew it all.

Turns out there was an elephant-sized hole in my SSH knowledge. One of my colleagues at showed me his .ssh/config file.

Now, several years ago I put a few directives in one of those things, but thought nothing else of it. But a split-second glance at his configuration made me drool. He had almost a dozen hosts configured in there, allowing him to type things like this:

$ ssh example

Meanwhile, I was typing:

$ ssh -i my_key_file

And my error-prone fingers rarely get the right username, hostname, and identity file.

Heading over to man’s best friend (that’d be man ssh_config), I quickly loaded up my .ssh/config file with entries that look like this:

Host dev
    Port 22000
    User fooey
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/devkey01

Host github
    User git01
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/github.key

Now I can connect to the first one with a simple $ ssh dev, after which I will be prompted for a password. Likewise, for the second one, $ ssh github

I wish you success!

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