Create key pairs - Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
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Create key pairs

You can use Amazon EC2 to create an RSA or ED25519 key pair, or you can use a third-party tool to create a key pair and then import the public key to Amazon EC2.

For steps to connect to your Linux instance using SSH after you have created a key pair, see Connect to your Linux instance.

Create a key pair using Amazon EC2

When you create a key pair using Amazon EC2, the public key is stored in Amazon EC2, and you store the private key.

You can use Amazon EC2 to create a key pair using one of the following methods.

Console

To create a key pair using Amazon EC2

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.amazonaws.cn/ec2/.

  2. In the navigation pane, under Network & Security, choose Key Pairs.

  3. Choose Create key pair.

  4. For Name, enter a descriptive name for the key pair. Amazon EC2 associates the public key with the name that you specify as the key name. A key name can include up to 255 ASCII characters. It can’t include leading or trailing spaces.

  5. For Key pair type, choose either RSA or ED25519.

  6. For Private key file format, choose the format in which to save the private key. To save the private key in a format that can be used with OpenSSH, choose pem. To save the private key in a format that can be used with PuTTY, choose ppk.

  7. To add a tag to the public key, choose Add tag, and enter the key and value for the tag. Repeat for each tag.

  8. Choose Create key pair.

  9. The private key file is automatically downloaded by your browser. The base file name is the name that you specified as the name of your key pair, and the file name extension is determined by the file format that you chose. Save the private key file in a safe place.

    Important

    This is the only chance for you to save the private key file.

  10. If you will use an SSH client on a macOS or Linux computer to connect to your Linux instance, use the following command to set the permissions of your private key file so that only you can read it.

    chmod 400 key-pair-name.pem

    If you do not set these permissions, then you cannot connect to your instance using this key pair. For more information, see Error: Unprotected private key file.

Amazon CLI

To create a key pair using Amazon EC2

  1. Use the create-key-pair command as follows to generate the key pair and to save the private key to a .pem file.

    For --key-name, specify a name for the public key. The name can be up to 255 ASCII characters.

    For --key-type, specify either rsa or ed25519. If you do not include the --key-type parameter, an rsa key is created by default. Note that ED25519 keys are not supported for Windows instances.

    For --key-format, specify either pem or ppk. If you do not include the --key-format parameter, a pem file is created by default.

    --query "KeyMaterial" prints the private key material to the output.

    --output text > my-key-pair.pem saves the private key material in a file with the specified extension. The extension can be either .pem or .ppk. The private key can have a name that's different from the public key name, but for ease of use, use the same name.

    aws ec2 create-key-pair \ --key-name my-key-pair \ --key-type rsa \ --key-format pem \ --query "KeyMaterial" \ --output text > my-key-pair.pem
  2. If you will use an SSH client on a macOS or Linux computer to connect to your Linux instance, use the following command to set the permissions of your private key file so that only you can read it.

    chmod 400 key-pair-name.pem

    If you do not set these permissions, then you cannot connect to your instance using this key pair. For more information, see Error: Unprotected private key file.

PowerShell

To create a key pair using Amazon EC2

Use the New-EC2KeyPair Amazon Tools for Windows PowerShell command as follows to generate the key and save it to a .pem or .ppk file.

For -KeyName, specify a name for the public key. The name can be up to 255 ASCII characters.

For -KeyType, specify either rsa or ed25519. If you do not include the -KeyType parameter, an rsa key is created by default. Note that ED25519 keys are not supported for Windows instances.

For -KeyFormat, specify either pem or ppk. If you do not include the -KeyFormat parameter, a pem file is created by default.

KeyMaterial prints the private key material to the output.

Out-File -Encoding ascii -FilePath C:\path\my-key-pair.pem saves the private key material in a file with the the specified extension. The extension can be .pem or .ppk. The private key can have a name that's different from the public key name, but for ease of use, use the same name.

PS C:\> (New-EC2KeyPair -KeyName "my-key-pair" -KeyType "rsa" -KeyFormat "pem").KeyMaterial | Out-File -Encoding ascii -FilePath C:\path\my-key-pair.pem

Create a key pair using a third-party tool and import the public key to Amazon EC2

Instead of using Amazon EC2 to create a key pair, you can create an RSA or ED25519 key pair by using a third-party tool, and then import the public key to Amazon EC2.

Requirements for key pairs

  • Supported types: RSA and ED25519. Amazon EC2 does not accept DSA keys.

    Note

    ED25519 keys are not supported for Windows instances.

  • Supported formats:

    • OpenSSH public key format (the format in ~/.ssh/authorized_keys). If you connect using SSH while using the EC2 Instance Connect API, the SSH2 format is also supported.

    • SSH private key file format must be PEM or PPK

    • (RSA only) Base64 encoded DER format

    • (RSA only) SSH public key file format as specified in RFC 4716

  • Supported lengths: 1024, 2048, and 4096. If you connect using SSH while using the EC2 Instance Connect API, the supported lengths are 2048 and 4096.

To create a key pair using a third-party tool

  1. Generate a key pair with a third-party tool of your choice. For example, you can use ssh-keygen (a tool provided with the standard OpenSSH installation). Alternatively, Java, Ruby, Python, and many other programming languages provide standard libraries that you can use to create an RSA or ED25519 key pair.

    Important

    The private key must be in the PEM or PPK format. For example, use ssh-keygen -m PEM to generate the OpenSSH key in the PEM format.

  2. Save the public key to a local file. For example, ~/.ssh/my-key-pair.pub. The file name extension for this file is not important.

  3. Save the private key to a local file that has the .pem or .ppk extension. For example, ~/.ssh/my-key-pair.pem or ~/.ssh/my-key-pair.ppk.

    Important

    Save the private key file in a safe place. You'll need to provide the name of your public key when you launch an instance, and the corresponding private key each time you connect to the instance.

After you have created the key pair, use one of the following methods to import your public key to Amazon EC2.

Console

To import the public key to Amazon EC2

  1. Open the Amazon EC2 console at https://console.amazonaws.cn/ec2/.

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Key Pairs.

  3. Choose Import key pair.

  4. For Name, enter a descriptive name for the public key. The name can include up to 255 ASCII characters. It can’t include leading or trailing spaces.

    Note

    When you connect to your instance from the EC2 console, the console suggests this name for the name of your private key file.

  5. Either choose Browse to navigate to and select your public key, or paste the contents of your public key into the Public key contents field.

  6. Choose Import key pair.

  7. Verify that the public key that you imported appears in the list of key pairs.

Amazon CLI

To import the public key to Amazon EC2

Use the import-key-pair Amazon CLI command.

To verify that the key pair was imported successfully

Use the describe-key-pairs Amazon CLI command.

PowerShell

To import the public key to Amazon EC2

Use the Import-EC2KeyPair Amazon Tools for Windows PowerShell command.

To verify that the key pair was imported successfully

Use the Get-EC2KeyPair Amazon Tools for Windows PowerShell command.