From the Terminal

Login to SSH Faster and With Greater Security: The SSH Config File

If you're like me you need to login to multiple servers via SSH on a daily basis. For many years when I was younger I typed in the whole IP or hostname of a server everytime I wanted to login to that server. After learning how to use the ssh config file logging into your SSH machine can be cut down to just a few keystrokes.

The SSH config file is always in ~/.ssh/config

Here's a template you can use.

Host alias
	User user
	IdentityFile /Users/user/.ssh/mykey_rsa

You can create as many entrees in the file as you like.

  • Hostname can be a DNS resolved domain name or an IP address but that is what SSH will try to actually connect to.
  • Host is actually just the name of this entry in this case I used "alias".
  • User when you type in the SSH command in terminal you can specify a user like normal but if you don't it will use the option you put in
  • IdentityFile is an optional setting to specify your private key SSH key.

When I type in ssh alias in the terminal it will simply connect to as user.

Here's an example

Host hp
        User henry
        IdentityFile /Users/henry/.ssh/personal_rsa


henry@Coder-Laptop:~$ ssh hp
Enter passphrase for key '/Users/henry/.ssh/personal_rsa': 
Welcome to Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.4.0-116-generic x86_64)

 * Documentation:
 * Management:
 * Support:

23 packages can be updated.
13 updates are security updates.

Last login: Mon Apr 16 05:26:15 2018 from

Notice how I use the second alias under the host option simply "hp" which allows me to shorten the entire command to just the above. Easy and simply way to speed up your development.