I know this is a bit weird. I generated ssh keys on my server, but I still want to force clients to enter a passphrase to be able to SSH to the server,even if they have the key. Is that even possible? Can I set a password on top of the key, and force clients to use both to SSH?

  • Are you aware that you can create a key WITH password?
    – FelixJN
    Mar 2, 2017 at 8:06
  • Yes. But can that passphrase be shared and used (security-wise and feasibility-wise) by clients while ssh-ing? My thought was that this passphrase is for the private key which shoudl not be shared with others! Please correct me if I am wrong. (Sorry I am a complete newbie to the system administration world)
    – geek2000
    Mar 2, 2017 at 16:07
  • My bad. I got your needs wrong. Your thinking is correct.
    – FelixJN
    Mar 2, 2017 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


Without knowing the version of OpenSSH you're running, or the distro, it's difficult to answer. However, there are many ways to achieve this. One such way, if you're running a recent version of OpenSSH, is to use the AuthenticationMethods directive in you /etc/ssh/sshd_config file. Example:

AuthenticationMethods publickey,keyboard-interactive
  • Thank you for your answer. I am running a 6.6.1p1 version. I checked the config file. There is no AuthenticationMethods. Probably because I am running an old version. Do you know by any chance any alternative solution?
    – geek2000
    Mar 2, 2017 at 6:33
  • OpenSSH 6.6.1p1 supports AuthenticationMethods option (that it is not in the configuration file does not mean anything). This is correct answer.
    – Jakuje
    Mar 2, 2017 at 12:49

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