How To Use SSH on Windows PuTTY - Generate Public/Private Key Pair & File | Bluehost Support
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How To Use SSH on Windows PuTTY - Generate Public/Private Key Pair & File


Using a Public/Private key to authenticate when logging into SSH can provide added convenience or added security. The Public/Private key can be used in place of a password so that no username/password is required to connect to the server via SSH. Instead, the unique public and private keys provide secure authentication. The keys may also be generated with a different password from your cpanel password if desired.

Generate a Public/Private Key Pair

  1. In the Bluehost control panel.
  2. Click on the SSH/Shell Access icon under the Security category.
  3. Open the Manage SSH Keys tool.
  4. Click Generate a New Key and complete the fields shown. We recommend the RSA key type and 4096-bit key size for maximum security.

    Note: There is a bug in cPanel at this time that does not allow you to create a 2048 or 4096-bit DSA key

  5. The location of the newly generated public and private key will be shown as well as the key fingerprint.
  6. Click Go Back.
  7. Next to the Public Key, you generated, click Manage Authorization, then click Authorize to activate this public key.
  8. Click Go Back.
  9. To the right of the Private Key, click on View/Download. Then click the Download Key button. Save the file to your computer and click go back.

You may now use the private key saved on your computer to SSH securely to our server. If you are using PuTTY, please see the configuration steps below.

Generate a ppk file

  1. Download and open PuTTYgen from the PuTTY Download Page
  2. Click the Load button.
    Load Your Private Key
  3. Locate the private SSH key that you have downloaded.

    Note: You will need to choose to display All Files* from the menu to the right of the File Name field.

  4. Enter the password for your SSH Key.
    Enter the Passhrase for your SSH key
  5. Click the Save private key button to create the ppk file.
    Save the PPk file

Configuring PuTTY

  1. In PuTTY, under Session, enter your Host Name.
    Enter your Domain Name or IP Address
  2. Under Connection, click Data.
  3. Enter your cPanel username as the Auto-login username.
    Enter your cPanel username
  4. Under SSH, choose 2 from the Preferred SSH Protocol Version.
  5. Under SSH -> Auth, you will need to specify where your private key can be found. Remember, this is where you saved the private key on your local computer.
  6. Click the Browse to locate the file on your computer.
    Click Browse to locate your ppk file
  7. Under Sessions, type a name (such as "my site") in the Saved Sessions box and then click Save.

If you need further assistance, feel free to contact us via Chat or Phone:

  • Chat Support - While on our website, you should see a CHAT bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. Click anywhere on the bubble to begin a chat session.
  • Phone Support -
    • US: 888-401-4678
    • International: +1 801-765-9400

You may also refer to our Knowledge Base articles to help answer common questions and guide you through various setup, configuration, and troubleshooting steps.