Using two CentOS 7 servers, I set up passwordless authentication with root users. It works fine. I tried to use the same method (with .pub and authorized_key files) with other local users. But these methods didn't work. SSH connections between the servers with these users still prompted for a password.

I started with this: ssh-keygen -t rsa

One of my servers is Jenkins. I want to do builds (file transfers at the least) with other CentOS 7 servers. I think I need passwordless authentication for the jenkins user. I tried appending the contents of the .pub files in /root/.ssh/authorized_keys. I tried appending the contents of the .pub files in /home/jdoe/.ssh/authorized_keys. Instead of authorized_keys I also tried authorized_keys2. I expect passwordless authentication to work the same way with root as other users (as long as I don't enter a password when I generate the SSH key). But this isn't what I am experiencing. The root users can authenticate with no password over SSH. Non-root users aren't doing that. What should I do?

  • you should use "-v" for ssh session and observe debug information. My guess : check if file permissions for jdoe user' ssh keys. This user has to be the owner of whole .ssh dir, file permissions has to be set to 600.
    – MAQ
    Jan 30, 2016 at 11:11
  • The SSH server logs provide the most useful information for debugging SSH connections. Jan 30, 2016 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


You're more than likely running into a snag on the permissions. I usually leave authorized_keys to be 400 (though 640 will suffice). ~/.ssh should be 700. id_rsa I keep 400 as well. The less permissions the files have, the more ssh will be fine with them.

If you use the -v switch on ssh, it will tell you this issue. /var/log/secure will also tell you what's going on.

As a rule of thumb, ssh-copy-id will take care of all of this for you. If you run it and then the keys start working, look at the permissions of the files after the fact.

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