Generate and Add SSH Keys

Understand how to generate SSH keys to configure Git, SFTP, or Drupal Drush.

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Load your public SSH key into your account to take full advantage of Pantheon. SSH keys allow you to stay secure and compliant with security regulations, provided that you use best practice to generate, store, manage, and remove them. Using SSH keys are a best practice for authentication, offering more security than a simple password. You will only need to do this once for each work environment (laptop, desktop, etc.), no matter how many sites you work on.

Pantheon supports ECDSA and RSA SSH keys.


Pantheon does not provide access to a shell environment over SSH. These directions allow you to have passwordless access if you configure Git, SFTP, or Drush to use SSH keys.

Generate SSH Key

Use the following steps to generate your SSH key:


Pantheon supports ECDSA and RSA SSH keys. Currently, we do not support ed25519 keys.

  1. Open your terminal and enter the following command to generate a key:


    This command works on Linux, MacOS, and Windows 10.

    Leave the default location of ~/.ssh/id_rsa as is, unless you have reason to change it. If the command says the key already exists, you can either overwrite it, or continue to the next step with your existing key.

  2. Set a passphrase for better security.

    We recommend using a passphrase, but it can conflict with some tools.

  3. Copy the contents of ~/.ssh/ to your clipboard after the files are created.

    Linux and Mac users can catthe file to the terminal and copy the output:

    cat ~/.ssh/

    Windows users can achieve the same result with type:

    type .ssh\
  4. Start the SSH agent.

    • For Linux and Mac users, run eval to start the agent. The Agent pid output confirms it's started:

      eval `ssh-agent`
      Agent pid 86810
    • For Windows users, run start-ssh-agent. The output confirms the agent has started. Enter the passphrase, if it was previously set.

      Removing old ssh-agent sockets
      Starting ssh-agent:  done
      Enter passphrase for /c/Users/[user]/.ssh/id_rsa:
      Identity added: /c/Users/[user]/.ssh/id_rsa ([user@machine_name])
  5. Add the newly created key to the ssh-agent if you are using Linux or Mac:

    ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Add Your SSH Key to Pantheon

Add SSH Key - New Dashboard

  1. Log in to your Pantheon Dashboard, and go to the SSH Keys tab of your User Profile's Personal Settings page.

  2. Click Add New Key.

  3. Paste the copied public key into the box, and click Save.

    Adding SSH Keys

    Your computer is now set up to securely connect to the Pantheon Git server. You can view a list of available keys on the same page.

Add SSH Key - Classic Dashboard

  1. Log in to your Pantheon site.

  2. Click your username in the top right, then select My Dashboard.

  3. Open the Account tab in your User Dashboard.

  4. Click SSH Keys.

  5. Paste the copied public key into the Add Key box.

  6. Click the Add Key button.

    Adding SSH Keys

    Your computer is now set up to securely connect to the Pantheon Git server. You can view a list of available keys on the same page.

Clone Your Site Code

You can use your Dev environment to clone your site code to your workstation:

  1. Use Terminal to copy the SSH clone URL from the site's Connection Info.

  2. Enter the passphrase you set above, if prompted.

Remove SSH Key from Pantheon

Revoke SSH Key from Pantheon - New Dashboard

  1. Navigate to the SSH Keys tab of your User Profile's Personal Settings page to revoke a key.
  2. Click the Revoke button next to the key you want to remove:

Revoke SSH Key

Remove SSH Key from Pantheon - Classic Dashboard

  1. Navigate to the Account tab of your User Dashboard and click SSH Keys.
  2. Click the Remove button next to the key you want to delete:

Delete SSH Key

Site Access After Removing Keys

You can still access the sites if you have active sites and no keys remaining. Make site changes via SFTP or Git using your account password to authenticate. If you sign in through Google and haven't defined a password, you can set one on the Reset Password page.


Authenticity & Fingerprint Prompts

Your first connection to any remote server over an SSH connection (like Git or SFTP) will prompt you to confirm the host identity:

The authenticity of host '[]:2222 ([IP.ADDRESS]:2222)' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is SHA256:yPEkh1Amd9WFBSP5syXD5rhUByTjaKBxQnlb5CahZZE.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?

You can safely type yes and press enter to add the server's SSH key fingerprint to your computer's known_hosts file. Additional connections to this specific Pantheon container will complete successfully without prompts. However, you will be prompted to confirm connections following a container migration, which is part of regular maintenance on the platform. See the following Pro Tip to automatically accept all Pantheon connections.

Control Path Error

You may receive the following error:

ControlPath too long fatal: Could not read from remote repository.

Check your SSH config files (by default, $HOME/.ssh/config and /etc/ssh/ssh_config) for a declaration like this:

Host *
ControlMaster auto
ControlPath ~/.ssh/control-%l.%r@%h:%p

There are two ways to fix this. First, try adjusting the Controlpath line as shown below:

Host *
ControlMaster auto
ControlPath ~/.ssh/control-%r

If this doesn't fix the issue, try creating an entry in your SSH configuration for your site specifically by its hostname. Don't use the ControlMaster option, instead use the ControlPath line as shown below, replacing SITE_UUID with your site's UUID:

Host *
ControlPath ~/.ssh/control-%r

Server Refused to Allocate pty

This error occurs when a user is attempting to make a direct connection to Pantheon via SSH. Pantheon does not support direct SSH connections.

Authentication Prompts

Password requests may still occur after adding an SSH key to your Pantheon account if the corresponding key is not found by your local ssh-agent. Verify by listing the SSH fingerprints already loaded in your device's ssh-agent:

ssh-add -L | ssh-keygen -l -E md5 -f - | awk '{print substr($2,5)}'

The resulting string should match one of the keys listed in your User Dashboard.

To resolve, add your SSH key to the ssh-agent using the following command, replacing id_rsa with the name of your private key, if different:

ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa

If you are using a Linux distribution such as Fedora 33 or later, make sure RSA keys are enabled in ~/.ssh/config:

Host *


Pantheon does not have access to keys that only exist on the host machine. You must ensure that your keys and, if applicable, your key agent are made available to the application running in the container, if you're using Lando, Docksal, or DDEV.