Creating a private/public key pair

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Mac OS X, Linux

The software required for key pair generation should already be installed on your system.

You may already have a key pair. To check launch a terminal and enter the following:

> ls ~/.ssh

The name of a private key is usually of the form id_ (where type represents the signature algorithm used e.g. dsa). Its public counterpart has the extension .pub. The identification file points to the pair in use.

If these files are missing you’ll need to create a new pair.

> ssh-keygen

Use the default path and then enter a pass-phase for your private key. You will be asked for this phrase at points when the key is to be used.


You will require PuTTY tools. Fetch the Windows installer from the download page.

Once installed, launch PuTTYgen.


  • Select generate (1) and follow the instructions
  • Choose a pass-phrase (2)
  • Save your private key (3)
  • Your public key is displayed (4). This is the key your must submit when registering to collaborate

Launch Pageant if it is not already running. Using its right-click menu in the system tray use Add Key to add your private key.