How to Configure SSH Key-Based Authentication on a VPS in Putty

Joe's Datacenter, LLC uses Virtuozzo's Openstack cloud orchestration software for our virtual private servers. By default a single SSH key is installed in every VM provision.  This pre-installed key is stored encrypted in the client control panel and provided for user authentication

PuTTY is an open-source SSH and Telnet client for Windows. It allows you to securely connect to remote servers from a local Windows computer.

If you don’t have PuTTY installed, visit the PuTTY website and choose the Windows installer from the Package files list. Once PuTTY is installed, start the program.

Downloading the Private Key

The private key is available to download in the JDC client portal in the service area for the service you wish to access.

Confirm the Download

Converting the Private Key

The private key comes in the file format of a .rsa and will need to be converted to a .ppk file type for use in Putty by Puttygen.

Open PuttyGen and select Load.

Search for the private key file, which ends in .rsa, and click Open in the file window.
Private key selection.

Acknowledge key import.

Use the Save private key to convert the private key as a .ppk

Great, now the private key is ready for use in Putty.

Configuring PuTTY

The following steps guide you through configuring a profile to connect to your virtual private server.

Add the virtual private server IP and Connection Details

On the PuTTY Configuration screen, fill in the field labeled Host Name (or IP Address) with your virtual private server’s IP address, which you can find in the control panel. Confirm that the Port is set to 22 and that the Connection type SSH is selected.

Next, click on SSH in the left sidebar (under Connection). Make sure 2 is selected for SSH protocol version.

In the Private key file for authentication section, click the Browse button.

Search for the private key file, which ends in .ppk, and click Open in the file window.
Private key selection.

Add the Username

Next, in the Connection subheading in the Data configuration section, enter your server’s username in the Auto-login username field. For the initial setup, this should be the root user, which is the administrative user of your server. If you’re using CoreOS, Rancher, or FreeBSD, the username is core, rancher, or freebsd instead of root, respectively.


Save your Preferences

Finally, you can save these preferences to avoid typing them manually in the future. Click on Session in the left sidebar, then add a name in the text box under Saved Sessions and click Save on the right.

Once your preferences are saved, you are ready to connect to the virtual private server.


Once you have a session saved, you can recall these values at any time by returning to the Session screen, selecting the session you would like to use in the Saved Sessions section, and clicking Load to recall the settings. This auto-fills all of the fields with the values you initially selected.

Once you have loaded your preferences, click the Open button to connect to your virtual private server.

The first time you connect to the virtual private server, PuTTY asks you to confirm that you trust the server. Choose Yes to save the server identity in PuTTY’s cache or No to connect without saving the identity.

After PuTTY starts, type in the root password that you chose when you created the virtual private server. If you uploaded SSH keys, you are either connected directly or prompted for the password you set on your key.

When you have successfully authenticated, you are connected to your new virtual private server.

  • VPS, SSH KEY, Virtuozzo, Putty
  • 1 Users Found This Useful
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