GitHub Keys

Why we need GitHub Keys?#

Let's first define GitHub as a browser-based online control system of distributed version for those software developers using the Git revision control system. Git uses SSH public key authentication and not a password authentication. Each user of the system has to generate a key.

The SSH is also known as Secure Shell or Secure Socket Shell More About SSH in GitHub. SSH keys are used to authenticate secure connections they are generate through a public key cryptographic algorithm, the most common being RSA or DSA. This is a one-way formula that ensures the public key can be derived from the private key but the private key cannot be derived from the public key.

How to generate a new SSH key?#

This guide is for Windows users, more information for Linux and Mac on this site.

Windows environments do not have a standard default Unix shell. External shell programs will need to be installed for to have a complete keygen experience. The most straight forward option is to utilize Git Bash.

  • Open Git Bash

  • Paste the text below, substitute "[email protected]" with your GitHub email address

$ ssh-keygen -t ed25519 -C "[email protected]"

NOTE : If you are using a legacy system that doesn't support the ed25519 algorithm, use:

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "[email protected]"

  • It will ask for a file to save the key, just press enter. This accepts the default file location.

  • At the prompt, type a secure passphrase. For security reasons it should be as complex as possible.

Now you have a new SSH key!

How to Add your SSH Key to the ssh-agent#

#start the ssh-agent in the background
$ eval $(ssh-agent -s)
> Agent pid 59566

NOTE : If you are following this ssh key generation flow , there is no need to start the ssh-agent.


  • Add your SSH private key to the ssh-agent. If you created your key with a different name, or if you are adding an existing key that has a different name, replace id_ed25519 in the command with the name of your private key file.
$ ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_ed25519
  • Now you need to add your public key to your GitHub account , for this follow this steps.

Now you are set.

More information on how it works.

Last updated on by JustinCast