In my own computer, running MacOSX, I have this in ~/.ssh/config

Host *
ForwardAgent yes
Host b1
ForwardAgent yes

b1 is a virtual machine running Ubuntu 12.04. I ssh to it like this:

ssh pupeno@b1

and I get logged in without being asked for a password because I already copied my public key. Due to forwarding, I should be able to ssh to pupeno@b1 from b1 and it should work, without asking me for a password, but it doesn't. It asks me for a password.

What am I missing?

This is the verbose output of the second ssh:

pupeno@b1:~$ ssh -v pupeno@b1
OpenSSH_5.9p1 Debian-5ubuntu1, OpenSSL 1.0.1 14 Mar 2012
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: /etc/ssh/ssh_config line 19: Applying options for *
debug1: Connecting to b1 [] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: identity file /home/pupeno/.ssh/id_rsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/pupeno/.ssh/id_rsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/pupeno/.ssh/id_dsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/pupeno/.ssh/id_dsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/pupeno/.ssh/id_ecdsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/pupeno/.ssh/id_ecdsa-cert type -1
debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version OpenSSH_5.9p1 Debian-5ubuntu1
debug1: match: OpenSSH_5.9p1 Debian-5ubuntu1 pat OpenSSH*
debug1: Enabling compatibility mode for protocol 2.0
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_5.9p1 Debian-5ubuntu1
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug1: kex: server->client aes128-ctr hmac-md5 none
debug1: kex: client->server aes128-ctr hmac-md5 none
debug1: sending SSH2_MSG_KEX_ECDH_INIT
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_ECDH_REPLY
debug1: Server host key: ECDSA 35:c0:7f:24:43:06:df:a0:bc:a7:34:4b:da:ff:66:eb
debug1: Host 'b1' is known and matches the ECDSA host key.
debug1: Found key in /home/pupeno/.ssh/known_hosts:1
debug1: ssh_ecdsa_verify: signature correct
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS received
debug1: Roaming not allowed by server
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_ACCEPT received
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey,password
debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Trying private key: /home/pupeno/.ssh/id_rsa
debug1: Trying private key: /home/pupeno/.ssh/id_dsa
debug1: Trying private key: /home/pupeno/.ssh/id_ecdsa
debug1: Next authentication method: password
pupeno@b1's password:

It turns out my key was not in the agent, and this fixed it:


ssh-add -K


ssh-add -k

You can list loaded keys using:

ssh-add -l
  • 5
    Note that ssh-add -K is specific to OS X. – Roger Lipscombe Sep 7 '16 at 10:29
  1. Check if your ./ssh/id_rsa .ssh/id_dsa .ssh/id_ecdsa files have the correct permissions which should be owned by your user and be chmoded 600.

  2. Check that you have the correct public key on pupeno/.ssh/authorized_keys on b1, and check if authorized_keys has a line break at the end of the key.

  3. Check if you have ssh-agent running, try to load keys via ssh-add

  4. Try GSSAPI-based authentication and forwarding with ssh -K

  • The permission of the keys are fine and the key in authorized_keys is fine (otherwise I think I would have trouble connecting on the first place). – pupeno Jul 3 '12 at 16:44
  • Did you have ssh-agent running? What happens when you do an ssh-add then ssh -A pupeno@b1 and then ssh pupeno@b1 ? – Daniel Prata Almeida Jul 3 '12 at 16:47
  • Why don't you update the answer to mention ssh-add -K and I'll accept yours instead of mine (since the information was posted almost simultaneously). – pupeno Jul 3 '12 at 16:50

I had problem with sshd server rejecting agent forwarding request because of no space left in /tmp. This was because sshd needs to create socket in /tmp. Cleaning disk up resolved my issue.

ssh -v said back then:

debug1: Remote: Agent forwarding disabled: mkdtemp() failed: No space left on device
  • 1
    I had the same issue, only the permissions were wrong on /tmp. THANKS!! – nevyn Sep 4 '15 at 1:37

Another possible reason is connection sharing: one might already be logged in on the other host without agent forwarding and connection sharing enabled. The second login with ssh -A (or equivalently specified in the config file) via the shared connection will silently ignore the -A flag. Only after completely logging out or disabling connection sharing for second login, the agent forwarding will work.


For the benefit of other googlers who also arrived at this question:

Incorrect whitespace in a ~/.ssh/config file can also cause some head scratching.

I recently helped out one of my co-workers who had this:

# incorrect
host foobar ForwardAgent yes

instead of this:

# correct
host foobar
  ForwardAgent yes

I've also run into instances where missing indentation of the directives under the list of hosts made a difference to functionality, even though it's not supposed to.


Add following lines to .ssh/config file

  Host **Server_Address**
     ForwardAgent yes

Add key to SSH Agent

 ssh-add -K

Connect to Remote Server

ssh -v **username**@**Server_Address**

Run connection test against GitHub

ssh -T git@github.com

Run ls remote test against targeted git repository

git ls-remote --heads git@github.com:**account**/**repo**.git

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