I have ssh RSA key authentication setup between a client and an ubuntu server (following this procedure):
-the RSA key authentication for ssh and rsync work fine (no need for password).
-the RSA key authentication for sudo rsync and sudo ssh fails (I'm prompted for a password).
-I need to use sudo rsync to write the remote files locally.

I'm running the command as follows:

user1@server:/$ sudo su user2
user2@server:/$ rsync # ok
user2@server:/$ sudo rsync # remote host password prompt

FYI both user1 and user2 are part of sudoers

Any idea where that could be coming from?


updated: to clarify, the password prompt is not coming from sudo but from the server

  • Are you being asked for a password for sudo or rsync? I suspect sudo (in the absence of other information), which means you would have to add the sudo command with NOPASSWD: to sudoers.
    – lsd
    May 11, 2011 at 14:53
  • 2
    It looks like an environment issue. Try running su - user The - will cause you to inherit the users environment. Alternatively you could specify the path to the key file : something like rsync -e ssh -i /home/user2/.ssh/private.key
    – Martin
    May 11, 2011 at 14:54

2 Answers 2


You need to tell it to use the correct public key. I suspect ssh is still using user1's key, not user2. Use this command:

sudo -u user2 ssh -i ~user2/.ssh/id_rsa remoteserver

I tested this on my machine and it worked.


this problem is in

====at the end of file add this====

this will remove password promt for user1 using sudo command.

dont forget that sudo users may store they ssh keys in /root/.ssh/ and not in /home/user1/.ssh/

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