Error Permission denied (publickey) when I try to ssh

Better Stack Team
Updated on October 11, 2023

This error appears when trying to SSH into a server. The publickey in the brackets after the error message is misleading. One reason might be wrong configuration in sshd_config file and the second reason might be insufficient permissions of the authorized_keys file.

Solution - Enable password authentication

To enable the password authentication, follow these steps:

  1. Log in as a root to your system
  2. Edit the contents of the /etc/ssh/sshd_config file using the text editor:
sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config
  1. Find the PasswordAuthentication option in the file and change its value to yes so it looks like this:
# Change to no to disable tunnelled clear text passwords
PasswordAuthentication yes
  1. Save the file and exit the editor. Then run the following command to apply the changes:
sudo service sshd reload
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