How To Use SSH Keys For Management

Modified on Mon, 28 Aug 2023 at 04:25 PM

Whether you have an existing SSH key or need to generate a SSH Key, this article will show you how to add your key for managing your AP. 


Adding SSH Keys 

  • Step 1: Obtain SSH Key
  • Step 2: Add key to manage.alta.inc
  • Step 3: Get access to the AP


Step 1: Obtain SSH Key

  • Obtaining a SSH Key is easiest when done with a Mac or Linux box (Windows instructions below). If you already have a key, you can use "cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub" to grab the key. This is what you will need to copy and paste into the AP interface.
    • If you don't have an SSH key, you can easily generate one with the "ssh-keygen" command. It will ask a few questions such as protecting the key with a passphrase. We recommend securing the key with a passphrase. Once this is completed, you can now run the command, "cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub", to get the SSH Key. 


Step 2: Add key to manage.alta.inc

  • After obtaining the SSH Key, navigate to manage.alta.inc and select "Settings". 
  • Now select the "System" page and scroll to the bottom, until you SSH Keys.
  • Click "Add a new key", and input your SSH Key. 
  • Now click "Add Key".


Step 3: Get access to the AP

  • Once the key is installed into the Alta interface, you can SSH to the root user at any Alta device IP address. You will now have access to the AP for management. 


As mentioned before, obtaining a key is easier when using a Mac or Linux machine. 



If you're using Windows, follow these steps:

Step 1: Obtain SSH Key

  • Download PuTTY
  • Open the app called "PuTTYgen"
  • Click the Generate button
  • Move your mouse around within the window
  • When it's complete, you'll be able to save the resulting files


Pro tip: If you want the key to be easily identifiable in the Alta cloud interface, you'll want to change the "Key Comment" portion. Something like "Matts Desktop" would be OK
  • Click Save public key, name it "id_rsa.pub" and store it in a safe location (you'll need this later)
  • Click Save private key, name it "id_rsa" (PuTTY will add a .ppk extension on its own) and store it in a safe location
  • Copy the contents of the key, it will start with "ssh-rsa " followed by a bunch of letters, numbers, and special characters, copy the whole thing including the "ssh-rsa "


Step 2: Add key to manage.alta.inc

  • After obtaining the SSH Key, navigate to manage.alta.inc and select "Settings". 
  • Now select the "System" page and scroll to the bottom, until you SSH Keys.
  • Click "Add a new key", and input your SSH Key. 
  • Now click "Add Key".


Step 3: Get access to the AP

  • Open PuTTY
  • On the main page, make sure the SSH radio button is selected
  • Enter the IP address of the AP
  • Under Connection > SSH, click on the Auth section (no need to expand it)
  • At the bottom, there's a "Private key file for authentication" field with the Browse button next to it
    • In newer versions of PuTTY, this is a nested option in the menu. It will be located at Connection -> SSH -> Auth -> Credentials
  • Browse to and select your .ppk file

Pro tip: If you plan on doing this again in the future, you can save this configuration. Returned to the Session menu option and, in the text box just below the "Saved Sessions" text, name your session. We suggest keeping the same naming convention as the cloud for consistency's sake. Then just click Save

  • Click Open
  • When prompted for a username, enter "root" (without double quotes)


If you experience any problems while adding a SSH Key, please contact Tech Support. 



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