OVH Guides

Installing an OVH SSH key

This guide will explain how to install an OVH SSH key, allowing our administrators to make changes

Last updated 12th February 2018


In some cases, OVH administrators will need to perform interventions on your dedicated server.

This guide will explain how to install an OVH SSH key, allowing our administrators to make changes. It will also explain how to disable it.



Step 1: install the key

Once you are logged in via SSH, enter the following command (listed in French below):

  • If your server is hosted by OVH in Europe:
echo 'from=",,,,,,,," ssh-rsa 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 support@cache-ng' >> /root/.ssh/authorized_keys2
  • If your server is hosted by OVH in Canada:
echo 'from="," ssh-rsa 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 support@cache-ng-ca' >> /root/.ssh/authorized_keys2

If this operation is complete, the file authorized_keys2 will have been created. It contains information in this form:

cat /root/.ssh/authorized_keys2
>>> from="XX.XX.XX.XX" ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAIE.... suppport@cache-ng...
>>> from="::ffff:XX.XX.XX.XX" ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAIE.... suppport@cache-ng...

Step 2: troubleshoot

Even if the key is correctly installed, our administrators still may not be able to access your server. If this is the case, please check the following points:

Check that the file /root/.ssh/authorized_keys2 exists

To check that this file exists, enter the following command:

cat /root/.ssh/authorized_keys2

Check that the SSH server is configured to accept connections from the root user.

To do this, check the following settings in the /etc/ssh/sshd_config folder:

PermitRootLogin yes
'AuthorizedKeysFile' .ssh/authorized_keys2
UsePAM yes

Then restart the SSH service:

/etc/init.d/sshd restart

Check that the default root user directory is /root.

You can use /etc/passwd to check this:

/# grep root /etc/passwd
>>> root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash

The 6th part of the line (parts are separated by :) must be /root.

Check that the firewall software will not block access.

If you are using firewall software, you will need to add an authorisation rule for the source ( for servers in Canada) with your SSH port as a destination port (port 22 by default). Below is an example of an iptables rule:

For a server in France:

iptables -t filter -A INPUT -p TCP -s --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
iptables -t filter -A OUTPUT -p TCP -s --dport 22 -j ACCEPT

For a server in Canada:

iptables -t filter -A INPUT -p TCP -s --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
iptables -t filter -A OUTPUT -p TCP -s --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
  • Check that the SSH port has not been customised.

If you have customised your SSH port, please specify which port you have chosen so that the administrator can log in.

Step 3: disable the key

Once the administrator has finished with the intervention, you can disable the SSH key. To do this, simply modify the file authorized_keys2 and add a comment (with #), as shown below:

cat /root/.ssh/authorized_keys2
>>> #from="XX.XX.XX.XX" ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAIE.... support@cache-ng...
>>> #from="::ffff:XX.XX.XX.XX" ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAIE.... support@cache-ng...

Go further

Introduction to SSH.

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