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I'd consider myself new to this still so I'll try my best to explain the trouble I'm having. I'm trying to send a file through scp to a remote server, and I get Permission denied (publickey). When I run the command with verbose (-v), I get no errors that I can find until the very end. And the target directory is rwx with the user I'm using for scp. Help!

legoman@legoman-desktop:~$ sudo scp -v /home/legoman/Documents/index.html legoman@ip:/home/legoman/Documents
Executing: program /usr/bin/ssh host ip, user legoman, command scp -v -t /home/legoman/Documents
OpenSSH_8.3p1 Ubuntu-1ubuntu0.1, OpenSSL 1.1.1f  31 Mar 2020
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh/ssh_config
debug1: /etc/ssh/ssh_config line 19: include /etc/ssh/ssh_config.d/*.conf matched no files
debug1: /etc/ssh/ssh_config line 21: Applying options for *
debug1: Connecting to ip [ip] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_rsa type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_rsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_dsa type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_dsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_ecdsa type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_ecdsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_ecdsa_sk type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_ecdsa_sk-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_ed25519 type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_ed25519-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_ed25519_sk type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_ed25519_sk-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_xmss type -1
debug1: identity file /root/.ssh/id_xmss-cert type -1
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_8.3p1 Ubuntu-1ubuntu0.1
debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version OpenSSH_8.2p1 Ubuntu-4ubuntu0.1
debug1: match: OpenSSH_8.2p1 Ubuntu-4ubuntu0.1 pat OpenSSH* compat 0x04000000
debug1: Authenticating to ip:22 as 'legoman'
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug1: kex: algorithm: curve25519-sha256
debug1: kex: host key algorithm: ecdsa-sha2-nistp256
debug1: kex: server->client cipher: [email protected] MAC: <implicit> compression: none
debug1: kex: client->server cipher: [email protected] MAC: <implicit> compression: none
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_ECDH_REPLY
debug1: Server host key: ecdsa-sha2-nistp256 SHA256:bdj...
debug1: Host 'ip' is known and matches the ECDSA host key.
debug1: Found key in /root/.ssh/known_hosts:1
debug1: rekey out after 134217728 blocks
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS received
debug1: rekey in after 134217728 blocks
debug1: Will attempt key: /root/.ssh/id_rsa 
debug1: Will attempt key: /root/.ssh/id_dsa 
debug1: Will attempt key: /root/.ssh/id_ecdsa 
debug1: Will attempt key: /root/.ssh/id_ecdsa_sk 
debug1: Will attempt key: /root/.ssh/id_ed25519 
debug1: Will attempt key: /root/.ssh/id_ed25519_sk 
debug1: Will attempt key: /root/.ssh/id_xmss 
debug1: SSH2_MSG_EXT_INFO received
debug1: kex_input_ext_info: server-sig-algs=<ssh-ed25519,[email protected],ssh-rsa,rsa-sha2-256,rsa-sha2-512,ssh-dss,ecdsa-sha2-nistp256,ecdsa-sha2-nistp384,ecdsa-sha2-nistp521,[email protected]>
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_ACCEPT received
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey
debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Trying private key: /root/.ssh/id_rsa
debug1: Trying private key: /root/.ssh/id_dsa
debug1: Trying private key: /root/.ssh/id_ecdsa
debug1: Trying private key: /root/.ssh/id_ecdsa_sk
debug1: Trying private key: /root/.ssh/id_ed25519
debug1: Trying private key: /root/.ssh/id_ed25519_sk
debug1: Trying private key: /root/.ssh/id_xmss
debug1: No more authentication methods to try.
legoman@ip: Permission denied (publickey).
lost connection

or is there another less secure way to transfer files? This is getting tedious.

1 Answer 1

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You are running the scp command with sudo, so it is being run as root not as your regular user. The root user on your local machine has its own set of ssh keys, so when you run sudo scp..., the scp command looks for the key in root's ssh keys. However, you presumably have it in your user's keys since you are attempting to connect as legoman.

So, try this as the legoman user:

scp -v /home/legoman/Documents/index.html legoman@ip:/home/legoman/Documents

If that also fails, then you need to talk to the administrator of the remote machine and ask them to set your user up to be able to connect to it.

In general, you almost never want to run scp or ssh as root unless it is only the root user of your current machine who has access to the remote.

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