Checking for existing SSH keys

Before you generate an SSH key, you can check to see if you have any existing SSH keys.

Note: DSA keys (SSH-DSS) are no longer supported. Existing keys will continue to function, but you cannot add new DSA keys to your GitHub account.

  1. Open TerminalTerminalGit Bashthe terminal.

  2. Enter ls -al ~/.ssh to see if existing SSH keys are present:

    $ ls -al ~/.ssh
    # Lists the files in your .ssh directory, if they exist
  3. Check the directory listing to see if you already have a public SSH key. By default, the filenames of the public keys are one of the following:

    • id_rsa.pub
    • id_ecdsa.pub
    • id_ed25519.pub

If you don't have an existing public and private key pair, or don't wish to use any that are available to connect to GitHub, then generate a new SSH key.

If you see an existing public and private key pair listed (for example id_rsa.pub and id_rsa) that you would like to use to connect to GitHub, you can add your SSH key to the ssh-agent.

Tip: If you receive an error that ~/.ssh doesn't exist, don't worry! We'll create it when we generate a new SSH key.

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