Using GitHub via SSH

Table of Contents:

This text will explain connecting to GitHub using SSH protocol.

You can connect and authenticate to remote servers and services using the SSH protocol. With SSH keys, no username or password are needed.

There are always two SSH keys:

  • private key and
  • public key.

Before you even generate a new SSH keys, check to see if you have any existing SSH keys.

On Windows :

> dir C:\Users\uname\.ssh
Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                -------------         ------ ----
-a----        12/3/2019  11:17 AM           3389 id_rsa
-a----        12/3/2019  11:17 AM            746
-a----        12/5/2019   2:30 PM           1193 known_hosts

id_rsa and are typical names for the private and the public keys, although you can rename it to anything you like.

Similar on Linux and Mac from the terminal you can check if you have any keys with this one-liner:

ls -al ~/.ssh

If you already have keys (these ide_rsa files) add them to the agent: ssh-agent.

Adding ssh keys to the ssh-agent

The procedure on Windows:

Ensure first the ssh-agent is enabled. Check like this:

Get-Service ssh-agent

Status   Name               DisplayName
------   ----               -----------
Stopped  ssh-agent          OpenSSH Authentication Agent

If the agent is stopped you need to start it. You can start the ssh-agent service when you set service Startup type to: Manual.


Start-Service ssh-agent

Status   Name               DisplayName
------   ----               -----------
Running  ssh-agent          OpenSSH Authentication Agent


ssh-add C:\Users\uname\.ssh\id_rsa_intel
Identity added: C:\Users\dj\.ssh\id_rsa_intel C:\Users\dj\.ssh\id_rsa_intel)

Note the uname represents the actual user name.

If you don’t have SSH keys, you can generate a new SSH key pair.

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "[email protected]"

Adding a new SSH key to your GitHub account

To configure your GitHub account to use your new (or existing) SSH keyS, you’ll also need to add the public key to your GitHub account.

Go to the your GitHub account settings. You need to be logged in.

adding ssh key

Click New SSH key button and add upload the key with the extension .pub (the public key).

Cloning the repo

From now on, you can open your terminal and clone GitHub repos in SSH style like this:

git clone [email protected]:uname/

where uname and pname are username and project name.

tags: ssh & category: github