I have a server with SSH running on a non-standard port. Instead of 22, it runs on 8129. To log in, I use:

ssh -p 8129 hostname

Now, whenever I need to set up a key for password-less login, I have to copy the public key and add it to authorized_keys manually. I discovered that the command ssh-copy-id could be used to simplify this process, but it seems like it does not have an option to specify the port of the ssh server.

Is there some way to tell ssh-copy-id to use port 8129, or should I just forget about this command and copy/paste manually as before?

10 Answers 10

$ ssh-copy-id "-p 8129 user@host"

Source: http://it-ride.blogspot.com/2009/11/use-ssh-copy-id-on-different-port.html

NOTE: The port must be in front of the user@host or it will not resolve

Editor's note: as pointed out in comments and shown in other answers, ssh-copy-id as shipped by more recent versions of OpenSSH supports the -p <port_number> syntax (no quotes needed).

  • 20
    It's really stupid, that ssh has syntax ssh -p 1234 user@host, ssh-copy-id "-p 1234 user@host" and finally scp -P 1234 user@host. It would be so nice to have the same syntax.
    – Tombart
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 12:58
  • 2
    @Tombart and then rsync has rsync -e "ssh -p 1234" user@host. I swear it's more hassle than it's worth using a custom port. Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 4:10
  • 2
    @Colt McCormack's answer explains this is improved in new versions, and this peculiar syntax is no longer required.
    – meshy
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 11:46
  • 2
    FYI the full command requires the IP typed in twice, and should look something like: ssh-copy-id "[email protected] -p 12345" -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub
    – degenerate
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 2:40
  • 1
    On macOS (I am on High Sierra) the quotes are not required. ie. ssh-copy-id -p 8129 user@host works. Commented May 21, 2018 at 15:57

ssh-copy-id doesn't take any arguments that it could pass down to the underlying ssh command, but you can configure an alias in ~/.ssh/config.

Host myhost
HostName hostname
Port 8129

Then run ssh-copy-id myhost.

  • 3
    This also has the benefit of removing the need for the -p flag on regular ssh attempts. It is therefore not only the right answer to this question, it is The Right Thing, period. Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 14:00
  • Thanks for this. The 2nd line "HostName hostname" isn't necessary if you are satisfied with the host's natural hostname. Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 15:53

As of openssh-client_6.2 there is now a dedicated port flag for the command allowing for this syntax:

ssh-copy-id -p 8129 user@example

It also added support for adding other ssh options with the -o flag.

Here's is Ubuntu's man page for the appropriate version, introduced in 13.04: http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/saucy/man1/ssh-copy-id.1.html

  • 5
    This is the only method which worked for the.
    – Luca Steeb
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 22:13

A quick look at the source indicates that ssh-copy-id appears to have no function that permits this. However, you could do something like the following instead:

ssh -p8129 user@host 'cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys' < ~/.ssh/id_*.pub

This works (from here):

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub '-p 221 username@host'

I have always used scp to copy it over:

scp -P 8129 ~/.ssh/id_*.pub user@host:
ssh -p 8129 user@host 'cat id_*.pub >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys'

Though I must say, I'll probably be using the other (one-line/connection) methods if I remember them in the future. But this is another option for you.

  • Note scp uses uppercase -P for port, while ssh uses lower case -p. Not confusing at all. Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 22:47

On CentOS7 is just:

 ssh-copy-id "-p 1234" user@host

Please take care to don't place user@host within the quotes or you'll get the following error in this distribution:

/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: ERROR: Bad port ' 1234 user@host'

There four ways to achieve this:

1. Using ssh-copy-id

ssh-copy-id -p <port> <user>@<remote-host>

1.1 On CentOS

ssh-copy-id "<user>@<remote-host> -p <port>"

2. Using SSH

ssh -p <port> <user>@<remote-host> 'cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys' < ~/.ssh/id_*.pub

3. Using SCP

scp -P <port> ~/.ssh/id_*.pub <user>@<remote-host>:
ssh -p <port> <user>@<remote-host> 'cat id_*.pub >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys'

4. Using ~/.ssh/config file

## Host <alias>
##   Hostname <remote-host>
##   Port <port>
##   User <user>
ssh-copy-id <alias>

With my macOS, this worked.

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub -p <port> user@host

I use this command:

ssh-copy-id ssh://user@ip_addr:port


ssh-copy-id ssh://[email protected]:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .