How to connect by SSH private key files using Putty and Pageant in Windows

Below example is an easy reference on how to connect via secure shell access with a Siteground account, to date February 2021 (to note the SG client platform has undergone changes and migrations from a cPanel platform to a custom one).

Install Putty and Pageant

  1. Refer to the installers and installation steps and guides here https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html
  2. Take note of the Windows OS whether 32 or 64 bit, use the type of installer accordingly

Generate a Private Key Using Putty Key Generator

  1. Open PuTTy Key Generator (take note and locate where this has been downloaded)
  2. Under Parameters, set Type of key to generate as RSA
  3. Generate key by clicking on the Generate button (move your mouse consistently over the blank area as instructed to generate a random sequence of code for the key)
  4. Enter a secure password under "Key Passphrase" 
    IMPORTANT! Remember this password and secure somewhere as this will not be stored then displayed anywhere for security reasons
  5. Click Save Private Key button to secure and save a local copy somewhere safe in your local storage and computer; this will be used by Pageant later on every time you start your SSH sessions
  6. IMPORTANT! Do not close Putty Key Gen dialog box yet, you will need to secure and copy the Key provided here, to be pasted onto the next step in Siteground import SSH feature.


     

Import the generated key into a Siteground SSH account

This step is very important as this can easily be overlooked, and this is very specific to Siteground process.

  1. Login to your SG account, go to Devs > SSH Keys Manager
  2. Instead of Add New SSH, click Import
  3. Enter some Key Name to serve as some label and identification for your use
  4. Under Public Key, copy then paste here the key you generated from the previous step in Putty Key Generator

    Copy and paste private key for SSH

    Import private key in SSH key manager

Log to SSH via Putty

Get the SSH credentials from Siteground, you will need this in logging via Putty. See screenshots.

  1. Run/Open Pageant, browse and click on the private key file you have saved and secured somewhere in your local computer or storage; enter the password you have set in previous steps
  2. Run/Open your installed Putty in your Windows machine
  3. In Siteground SSH Manager, under Actions,get the SSH credentials. See screenshots below.
  4. Enter the hostname
  5. IMPORTANT! Enter the Port number as 18765, this is very specific to Siteground settings
  6. To save this setting for future use, enter some label in Save Sessions field, then click on the Save button. This will now be save and shown in the list of Saved Sessions below for quick access every time.
  7. Select the session from the list, then click Load
  8. Click on the OPEN button, enter the password to start the secure session via a terminal console.

SSH secure shell access

Get SSH credentials

 

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