It is bad practice to establish SSH keys without passphrases, but what happens when you have processes that rely on these not prompting for a passphrase, or just have too many to remember?

A handy tool, ssh-agent can help us out. To get the agent running just submit:

$ ssh-agent bash
$ ssh-add
# Enter passphrase for /home/mlegge/.ssh/id_rsa:
# Identity added: /home/mlegge/.ssh/id_rsa (/home/mlegge/.ssh/id_rsa)

The command will try to add the standard key “identity” to the key manager which is ~/.ssh/id_rsa. To add a key with a different name you can specify the path:

ssh-add ~/.ssh/alternate_key

Test the login:


If the key is correctly assigned it will not ask for a password.

You can view the currently loaded keys by using:

ssh-add -l

Happy SSH-ing!