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HOWTO: Generate SSH Keys

More detailed / graphical instructions for generating SSH keys

Using cPanel:

Login

  1. Go to https://web.illinois.edu and click on Illinois Login
  2. On the next page, click on Campus Login (I know it's dumb, but it has to do with how the service is hosted)
  3. Follow the login prompts
  4. Click on the icon for your web - now you're in your "cPanel Dashboard"

Generate the SSH Key

cPanel requires the use of SSH keys to login using SFTP (Secure FTP) or SCP (Secure Copy) applications such as WinSCP or Dreamweaver.  

  1. Click on SSH Access

    SSH Access button
  2. Click on the blue Manage SSH Keys
  3. At the top of the screen, click on Generate new key

    Generate a new SSH key

  4. Fill in the form
    • Key Name: Type your NetID (this will make it much easier later on to identify whose key is whose if you have multiple keys)
    • Password: Either type a password or accept the auto-generated one
    • Key Type: Leave this "RSA"
    • Key Size: Leave this as 2048

SSH Key Generation Form

  1. Click Generate Key - this may take a second or two.  When it's done, a form will appear that looks like: 

    Key Generation Complete

  2. Click Go Back - you do not need to save anything from this page
  3. Find your key in the list of Public Keys and click Manage (see red circle, below)

    Key Authorization and download

  4. Click on the blue Authorize button, then click on Go Back

Save your key files

It's VITAL that you save your private key files somewhere secure. Think of a private key file like a password - this file is your authentication key, proving to the system that you are you.  If someone else gets a copy of your private key, then they can impersonate you.   

It's handy to save the public key in the same place, so you can find it easily.  By its nature, though, the public key can and should be shared with the world

To save your key files: 

  1. In the "Public Keys" section, click on View/Download (see blue circle, above)
    1. Click on the blue Download Key and save it to a secure, private location on your computer such as your "Documents" folder or on a USB drive
    2. This file will be named [your_NetID].pub

  2. In the "Private Keys" section, click on View/Download - NOTE: It's a good idea to download the plain private key as well as the PPK format. 
    1. Download the private key
      • Click on the blue Download Key button and save the file to a secure, private location on your computer such as your "Documents" folder or on a USB drive
      • This file will be named [your_NetID] (NOTE: it will not have an extension)
    2. Download the PPK file
      • Enter the password (they use the term "passphrase") that you used when creating the SSH key pair
      • Click on the blue Convert button
      • Click on the blue Download Key button and save the file to a secure, private location on your computer such as your "Documents" folder or on a USB drive
      • This file will be named [your_NetID].ppk

Delete your private key from cPanel

The final step is to delete your private key from the cPanel server.  This prevents anyone else from using your private key to authenticate as you! 

  1. In the "Private Keys" section, click on Delete (see the green circle, above)


Keywordscpanel public private key SFTP SCP Dreamweaver WinSCP   Doc ID130872
OwnerJay G.GroupSchool of Chemical Sciences
UIUC
Created2023-09-06 11:20 CDTUpdated2023-09-06 13:00 CDT
SitesUniversity of Illinois School of Chemical Sciences
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