I have a public key in a server(host) that I want to transfer to another server(target).

The host server has a bunch of keys in .ssh/ folder, i want to copy just one of them to the target server (it's not id_rsa.pub, so lets call mykey.rsa.pub).

Also, the target server has the host server key (lets call hostkey.rsa.pub) in .ssh/authorized_keys, for passwordless ssh.

Is it possible to do something like this?

ssh-copy-id mykey.rsa.pub -i hostkey.rsa.pub user@target

2 Answers 2


You can pass ssh options with -o:

ssh-copy-id -i mykey.rsa.pub -o "IdentityFile hostkey.rsa" user@target
  • 3
    Worked for me but I had to add -f before -i.
    – baptx
    Mar 21, 2020 at 14:40
  • it really makes no sense that it tries to copy every single key by default.
    – Goddard
    Jul 1, 2021 at 13:40

Yes, it is possible something like

ssh-copy-id -f -i hostkey.rsa.pub user@target

with latest version of ssh-copy-id. If you have some older, it might or might not work (with RHEL7 and older Fedora with SSH_COPY_ID_LEGACY=1 environment variable)

  • 1
    Also make sure the -i option is BEFORE user@target. -f might not be needed.
    – Jerther
    Sep 22, 2017 at 13:05
  • I think the OP wants to copy mykey.rsa.pub. They want to use hostkey.rsa.pub for the underlying ssh connection during the copy....
    – Andrew
    Sep 13 at 11:31

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