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I've got a question that I've not been able to find an answer for. I have two computers, both of which run Ubuntu Linux 12.04. I have set up my first computer ("home") to be able to SSH into my second computer ("remote") using public/private RSA key authentication.

This is not the first SSH connection that have set up using key authentication on my home computer, so my home computer has several id_rsa private keyfiles (each of which is for a different computer to SSH into). Thus, I am able to successfully SSH only when I specify a keyfile (in ssh, the -i option), using ssh username@ipaddress -i path/to/keyfile/id_rsa.2.

That works great. However, I would also like to use sshfs, which mounts the remote filesystem. While ssh seems to play nice with multiple keys, I can't find a way to get sshfs to use the correct private key ("id_rsa.2").

Is there a way to get sshfs to do this?

I would be very grateful for any advice you would be willing to offer. Thank you!

share|improve this question
Keychain works well for me in this scenario... – jasonwryan Jan 17 '13 at 0:45
up vote 31 down vote accepted

Here's what works for me:

sshfs me@x.x.x.x:/remote/path /local/path/ -o IdentityFile=/path/to/key

You can figure this out via man sshfs:

-o SSHOPT=VAL ssh options (see man ssh_config)

man ssh_config


Specifies a file from which the user's DSA, ECDSA or DSA authen‐ tication identity is read.

share|improve this answer
Thank you! @goldilocks, I completely missed the IdentityFile line in the sshfs man page. That's exactly what I was looking for, as well. I've just tried your solution, and it works perfectly. I appreciate the help! – J L Jan 17 '13 at 4:09

What you need to do is specify which private key to use in the .ssh/config file like this:

Host server1.nixcraft.com
    IdentityFile ~/backups/.ssh/id_dsa
Host server2.nixcraft.com
    IdentityFile /backup/home/userName/.ssh/id_rsa
share|improve this answer
Thanks so much! @Steven You, I didn't realize that sshfs reads .ssh/config files (though I do see now that I missed a similar answer from someone's previous post, at stackoverflow.com/a/13638806/1940466). That's excellent to know. For what it's worth, I would like to accept both your and @goldilocks' answers, but I'm not able to. I also don't have enough reputation to vote up your answer. I very much appreciate the answer, though! – J L Jan 17 '13 at 4:08
Ha, thank you as well. :) – Steven You Jan 20 '13 at 23:44

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