To create & use SSH Keys on Windows, you need to download and install two things:

  1. PuTTY, which is used to connect to remote servers through SSH, and

  2. PuTTYgen, a utility used to create SSH keys.

After that you create and save your own ssh key.

Let's get started!

1. Download Putty & Puttygen

  • On the PuTTY website, download the .msi file in the Package files section at the top of the page, under MSI (‘Windows Installer’)

  • Next, install it on your local computer by double-clicking it and using the installation wizard.

2. Generate an SSH Key

  • After the programs are installed, start the PuTTYgen program by tapping the Windows key and typing puttygen. You should see something like this: 

  • You can customize the Parameters at the bottom if you like, but the default values are appropriate in most situations.

  • When you’re ready, click the Generate button on the right-hand side to start the key generation.

  • You might be prompted to “generate some randomness by moving the mouse over the blank area”. This randomness (also known as entropy) is used to create keys in a secure fashion so that other people can’t reproduce them.

  • When the key is generated, you’ll see the public key displayed in a text box. It might be a good idea to copy this directly into your clipboard or a password manager now if you plan to add it to your Genesis Cloud account later.

  • Be sure to scroll within the text area so you copy the entire key.

  • Click the Save private key button and select a secure location to keep it. You can name your key whatever you’d like, and the extension .ppk will be automatically added. 

Please Note: Don't share the private key with anyone, only the public key is meant for sharing.

  • Note: Working with PuTTY’s Private & Public Key Format

  • Please take note: The format PuTTYgen uses when it saves the private and public key is incompatible with the OpenSSH authorized_keys files used for SSH key authentication on Linux servers.

  • If you need to see the public key in the right format after the private key has been saved, either:

    • Click the Load button

    • Navigate to the private key and open it.

  • The public key will be displayed again and you can copy and paste the public key from the text field.

3. Upload your new key to Genesis Cloud

4. Start a connection with PuTTY

  • After you've generated the key, uploaded the public key to Genesis Cloud and saved the private key on your machine, you can start a connection with PuTTY.

  • First, start "PuTTY" (not "PuTTYgen") and insert your instance's public IP address into the field:

  • After that navigate in the tree on the left to 'Connection' > 'SSH' > 'Auth' > 'Credentials' and browse for your saved private key:

  • After that, you can click 'Open'. If it's the fist time you make that connection, you'll see a prompt like that:

  • Click 'Yes', and type in the user name of the instance (for ubuntu instances this is 'ubuntu'). If everything worked, you'll see a window like this: