I recently made some new users in my digitalocean droplet, and I would like to access them directly with the command ssh username@ip. However, I get denied with username@ip: Permission denied (publickey). For clarification, the machine has the correct private-key and can access the droplet with ssh root@ip

I did the following to create the new user

root@school:~# adduser username
Adding user `username' ...
Adding new group `username' (1001) ...
Adding new user `username' (1001) with group `username' ...
Creating home directory `/home/username' ...
Copying files from `/etc/skel' ...
Enter new UNIX password: 
Retype new UNIX password: 
passwd: password updated successfully

After these steps, what is further to do to be able to access the droplet with ssh username@ip ?

  • if available you could use the tool ssh-copy-id username@ip to copy the PUBLIC key to the authorized_key file from the user on the server – Dennis Nolte Mar 20 at 16:44

"the machine has the correct private-key"

That is the root cause of your misunderstanding. Access is controlled separately for each account, not for the machine as a whole.

For each account you want to access with a particular key you will need to append the associated public key to the file ~/.ssh/authorized_keys in the home directory of that account.

Or in other words: copy /root/.ssh/authorized_keys to /home/username/.ssh/authorized_keys and ensure the correct ownership and permissions on those files/directories.

  • 1
    while true please note that you will copy the PUBLIC key, not the private key into the authorized_keys. Additionally copy might just overwrite and give too much access so be catious when doing a copy. – Dennis Nolte Mar 20 at 16:44
  • It would be simpler using the ssh-copy-id tool: ssh-copy-id user@remote-host – JucaPirama Mar 21 at 14:21
  • @JucaPirama ssh-copy-id user@remote-host leaves you in a bit of a catch-22 when your SSHD configuration does not allow password authentication (which is quite strongly recommended). – HBruijn Mar 21 at 14:30

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