This is a question regarding the OpenSSH client on Linux, MacOSX and FreeBSD.

Normally, I log into systems using my SSH key.

Occasionally, I want my SSH client to ignore my SSH key and use a password instead. If I 'ssh hostname', my client prompts me for the Passphrase to my SSH key which is an annoyance. Instead, I want the client to simply ignore my SSH key, so that the server will ask me for my password instead.

I tried the following, but I am still prompted for the passphrase to my SSH key. After this, I am prompted for my password.

ssh -o PreferredAuthentications=password host.example.org

I want to do this on the client side, without any modification of the remote host.


1 Answer 1


Try ssh -o PasswordAuthentication=yes -o PreferredAuthentications=keyboard-interactive,password -o PubkeyAuthentication=no host.example.org

In ssh v2, keyboard-interactive is another way to say "password". The -o PubkeyAuthentication=no option instructs the client not to attempt key pair authentication.

In addition, the PasswordAuthentication=yes option is to override any previously configured ssh options that may have disabled it.

  • 1
    And in fact 'ssh -o PreferredAuthentications=keyboard-interactive host' also works. I was thrown off by SSH_CONFIG(5), which still mentions the 'password' keyword. Thanks for the clarification. Apr 7, 2010 at 23:35
  • 12
    Correction: In SSH v2, both password and keyboard-interactive are valid, and they are different things. (password requires a password, and keyboard-interactive can technically be anything.) Apr 8, 2010 at 12:17
  • 1
    Bill could you update your answer according to grawity's comment? Look at the output of these commands: lucian@XXX:~$ ssh -o PreferredAuthentications=keyboard-interactive -o PubkeyAuthentication=no host.example.org Permission denied (publickey,gssapi-with-mic,password). lucian@XXX:~$ ssh -o PreferredAuthentications=password -o PubkeyAuthentication=no host.example.org [email protected]'s password: Mar 15, 2012 at 21:43
  • 7
    If you want to add this switch to ssh's config file (~/.ssh/config) it's PubkeyAuthentication no in that file.
    – slm
    Aug 24, 2012 at 16:17
  • 12
    Doesn't work for me. I still get Permission denied (publickey). Looks like it's refusing to do anything else on the server end. Jul 27, 2018 at 12:34

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