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I understand the concept of "ssh keys" to login to a server without entering a password, however, I am not understanding how/what PEM key files are to log in to EC2 instances.

In the AWS console, I can generate or import a PEM key, but where/how do I use this file on my laptop to login to cloud instances?

Thanks for help!

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Or you can create an entry on your .ssh/config as follows:

host myserver
hostname ec2-xx-xx-xx-xx.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com
user username
IdentityFile path/to/your.pem

So after that you can ssh to your server like this: ssh myserver

According to PEM files, it's also good keep a copy in a safe place as it can not be regenerated.

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from command line, just like this:

$ ssh username@exampleservername.com -i yourpemfile.pem

Then you can login to the server.

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