I've read answers to questions in this place and others that tell me that setting PasswordAuthentication and ChallengeResponseAuthentication to no will enable password-less logins but it's not working and yes I restarted the server.

Here's my full sshd_config:

#       $OpenBSD: sshd_config,v 1.103 2018/04/09 20:41:22 tj Exp $

# This is the sshd server system-wide configuration file.  See
# sshd_config(5) for more information.

# This sshd was compiled with PATH=/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin

# The strategy used for options in the default sshd_config shipped with
# OpenSSH is to specify options with their default value where
# possible, but leave them commented.  Uncommented options override the
# default value.

# If you want to change the port on a SELinux system, you have to tell
# SELinux about this change.
# semanage port -a -t ssh_port_t -p tcp #PORTNUMBER
#Port 22
#AddressFamily any
#ListenAddress ::

HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ecdsa_key
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key

# Ciphers and keying
#RekeyLimit default none

# This system is following system-wide crypto policy. The changes to
# crypto properties (Ciphers, MACs, ...) will not have any effect here.
# They will be overridden by command-line options passed to the server
# on command line.
# Please, check manual pages for update-crypto-policies(8) and sshd_config(5).

# Logging
#SyslogFacility AUTH
SyslogFacility AUTHPRIV
#LogLevel INFO

# Authentication:

#LoginGraceTime 2m
PermitRootLogin yes
#StrictModes yes
#MaxAuthTries 6
#MaxSessions 10

#PubkeyAuthentication yes

# The default is to check both .ssh/authorized_keys and .ssh/authorized_keys2
# but this is overridden so installations will only check .ssh/authorized_keys
AuthorizedKeysFile .ssh/authorized_keys

#AuthorizedPrincipalsFile none

#AuthorizedKeysCommand none
#AuthorizedKeysCommandUser nobody

# For this to work you will also need host keys in /etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts
#HostbasedAuthentication no
# Change to yes if you don't trust ~/.ssh/known_hosts for
# HostbasedAuthentication
#IgnoreUserKnownHosts no
# Don't read the user's ~/.rhosts and ~/.shosts files
#IgnoreRhosts yes

# To disable tunneled clear text passwords, change to no here!
#PasswordAuthentication yes
#PermitEmptyPasswords no
PasswordAuthentication no

# Change to no to disable s/key passwords
#ChallengeResponseAuthentication yes
ChallengeResponseAuthentication no

# Kerberos options
#KerberosAuthentication no
#KerberosOrLocalPasswd yes
#KerberosTicketCleanup yes
#KerberosGetAFSToken no
#KerberosUseKuserok yes

# GSSAPI options
GSSAPIAuthentication yes
GSSAPICleanupCredentials no
#GSSAPIStrictAcceptorCheck yes
#GSSAPIKeyExchange no
#GSSAPIEnablek5users no

# Set this to 'yes' to enable PAM authentication, account processing,
# and session processing. If this is enabled, PAM authentication will
# be allowed through the ChallengeResponseAuthentication and
# PasswordAuthentication.  Depending on your PAM configuration,
# PAM authentication via ChallengeResponseAuthentication may bypass
# the setting of "PermitRootLogin yes
# If you just want the PAM account and session checks to run without
# PAM authentication, then enable this but set PasswordAuthentication
# and ChallengeResponseAuthentication to 'no'.
# WARNING: 'UsePAM no' is not supported in Fedora and may cause several
# problems.
UsePAM yes

#AllowAgentForwarding yes
#AllowTcpForwarding yes
#GatewayPorts no
X11Forwarding yes
#X11DisplayOffset 10
#X11UseLocalhost yes
#PermitTTY yes

# It is recommended to use pam_motd in /etc/pam.d/sshd instead of PrintMotd,
# as it is more configurable and versatile than the built-in version.
PrintMotd no

#PrintLastLog yes
#TCPKeepAlive yes
#PermitUserEnvironment no
#Compression delayed
#ClientAliveInterval 0
#ClientAliveCountMax 3
#UseDNS no
#PidFile /var/run/sshd.pid
#MaxStartups 10:30:100
#PermitTunnel no
#ChrootDirectory none
#VersionAddendum none

# no default banner path
#Banner none

# Accept locale-related environment variables

# override default of no subsystems
Subsystem sftp  /usr/libexec/openssh/sftp-server

# Example of overriding settings on a per-user basis
#Match User anoncvs
#       X11Forwarding no
#       AllowTcpForwarding no
#       PermitTTY no
#       ForceCommand cvs server

There's a question on here that seems very similar to mine but the user was using DSA whereas I am using RSA. Oh by the way I am using CentOS Linux release 8.3.2011.

EDIT: here's the debugging output with -vv specified, and boy there's a lot of it:

OpenSSH_8.2p1 Ubuntu-4ubuntu0.2, 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 *
debug2: resolve_canonicalize: hostname is address
debug2: ssh_connect_direct
debug1: Connecting to [] port 22.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_rsa type 0
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_rsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_dsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_dsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ecdsa type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ecdsa-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ecdsa_sk type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ecdsa_sk-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ed25519 type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ed25519-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ed25519_sk type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ed25519_sk-cert type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_xmss type -1
debug1: identity file /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_xmss-cert type -1
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_8.2p1 Ubuntu-4ubuntu0.2
debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version OpenSSH_8.0
debug1: match: OpenSSH_8.0 pat OpenSSH* compat 0x04000000
debug2: fd 3 setting O_NONBLOCK
debug1: Authenticating to as 'readyready15728'
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug2: local client KEXINIT proposal
debug2: KEX algorithms: curve25519-sha256,curve25519-sha256@libssh.org,ecdh-sha2-nistp256,ecdh-sha2-nistp384,ecdh-sha2-nistp521,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256,diffie-hellman-group16-sha512,diffie-hellman-group18-sha512,diffie-hellman-group14-sha256,ext-info-c
debug2: host key algorithms: ecdsa-sha2-nistp256-cert-v01@openssh.com,ecdsa-sha2-nistp384-cert-v01@openssh.com,ecdsa-sha2-nistp521-cert-v01@openssh.com,ecdsa-sha2-nistp256,ecdsa-sha2-nistp384,ecdsa-sha2-nistp521,sk-ecdsa-sha2-nistp256-cert-v01@openssh.com,ssh-ed25519-cert-v01@openssh.com,sk-ssh-ed25519-cert-v01@openssh.com,rsa-sha2-512-cert-v01@openssh.com,rsa-sha2-256-cert-v01@openssh.com,ssh-rsa-cert-v01@openssh.com,sk-ecdsa-sha2-nistp256@openssh.com,ssh-ed25519,sk-ssh-ed25519@openssh.com,rsa-sha2-512,rsa-sha2-256,ssh-rsa
debug2: ciphers ctos: chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com,aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,aes128-gcm@openssh.com,aes256-gcm@openssh.com
debug2: ciphers stoc: chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com,aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,aes128-gcm@openssh.com,aes256-gcm@openssh.com
debug2: MACs ctos: umac-64-etm@openssh.com,umac-128-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-512-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-etm@openssh.com,umac-64@openssh.com,umac-128@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-512,hmac-sha1
debug2: MACs stoc: umac-64-etm@openssh.com,umac-128-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-512-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-etm@openssh.com,umac-64@openssh.com,umac-128@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-512,hmac-sha1
debug2: compression ctos: none,zlib@openssh.com,zlib
debug2: compression stoc: none,zlib@openssh.com,zlib
debug2: languages ctos:
debug2: languages stoc:
debug2: first_kex_follows 0
debug2: reserved 0
debug2: peer server KEXINIT proposal
debug2: KEX algorithms: curve25519-sha256,curve25519-sha256@libssh.org,ecdh-sha2-nistp256,ecdh-sha2-nistp384,ecdh-sha2-nistp521,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256,diffie-hellman-group14-sha256,diffie-hellman-group16-sha512,diffie-hellman-group18-sha512,diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1,diffie-hellman-group14-sha1
debug2: host key algorithms: rsa-sha2-512,rsa-sha2-256,ssh-rsa,ecdsa-sha2-nistp256,ssh-ed25519
debug2: ciphers ctos: aes256-gcm@openssh.com,chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com,aes256-ctr,aes256-cbc,aes128-gcm@openssh.com,aes128-ctr,aes128-cbc
debug2: ciphers stoc: aes256-gcm@openssh.com,chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com,aes256-ctr,aes256-cbc,aes128-gcm@openssh.com,aes128-ctr,aes128-cbc
debug2: MACs ctos: hmac-sha2-256-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-etm@openssh.com,umac-128-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-512-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha1,umac-128@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-512
debug2: MACs stoc: hmac-sha2-256-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-etm@openssh.com,umac-128-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-512-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha1,umac-128@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-512
debug2: compression ctos: none,zlib@openssh.com
debug2: compression stoc: none,zlib@openssh.com
debug2: languages ctos:
debug2: languages stoc:
debug2: first_kex_follows 0
debug2: reserved 0
debug1: kex: algorithm: curve25519-sha256
debug1: kex: host key algorithm: ecdsa-sha2-nistp256
debug1: kex: server->client cipher: chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com MAC: <implicit> compression: none
debug1: kex: client->server cipher: chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com MAC: <implicit> compression: none
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_ECDH_REPLY
debug1: Server host key: ecdsa-sha2-nistp256 SHA256:lpz47Ann4jSXUXiQNFwJGFf4bCWAgLiGiAsUUZPboSc
debug1: Host '' is known and matches the ECDSA host key.
debug1: Found key in /home/readyready15728/.ssh/known_hosts:1
debug2: set_newkeys: mode 1
debug1: rekey out after 134217728 blocks
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS sent
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS
debug1: SSH2_MSG_NEWKEYS received
debug2: set_newkeys: mode 0
debug1: rekey in after 134217728 blocks
debug1: Will attempt key: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_rsa RSA SHA256:A4h/c+bf2ziSWLIGBc76ZGYoLwPxxhHfZUerqfAYOs4
debug1: Will attempt key: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_dsa
debug1: Will attempt key: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ecdsa
debug1: Will attempt key: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ecdsa_sk
debug1: Will attempt key: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ed25519
debug1: Will attempt key: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_ed25519_sk
debug1: Will attempt key: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_xmss
debug2: pubkey_prepare: done
debug1: SSH2_MSG_EXT_INFO received
debug1: kex_input_ext_info: server-sig-algs=<ssh-ed25519,ssh-rsa,rsa-sha2-256,rsa-sha2-512,ssh-dss,ecdsa-sha2-nistp256,ecdsa-sha2-nistp384,ecdsa-sha2-nistp521>
debug2: service_accept: ssh-userauth
debug1: SSH2_MSG_SERVICE_ACCEPT received
debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey,gssapi-keyex,gssapi-with-mic
debug1: Next authentication method: gssapi-with-mic
debug1: Unspecified GSS failure.  Minor code may provide more information
No Kerberos credentials available (default cache: FILE:/tmp/krb5cc_1000)

debug1: Unspecified GSS failure.  Minor code may provide more information
No Kerberos credentials available (default cache: FILE:/tmp/krb5cc_1000)

debug2: we did not send a packet, disable method
debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Offering public key: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_rsa RSA SHA256:A4h/c+bf2ziSWLIGBc76ZGYoLwPxxhHfZUerqfAYOs4
debug2: we sent a publickey packet, wait for reply
debug1: Server accepts key: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_rsa RSA SHA256:A4h/c+bf2ziSWLIGBc76ZGYoLwPxxhHfZUerqfAYOs4
Enter passphrase for key '/home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_rsa':
debug1: Authentication succeeded (publickey).
Authenticated to ([]:22).
debug1: channel 0: new [client-session]
debug2: channel 0: send open
debug1: Requesting no-more-sessions@openssh.com
debug1: Entering interactive session.
debug1: pledge: network
debug1: client_input_global_request: rtype hostkeys-00@openssh.com want_reply 0
debug1: Remote: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/authorized_keys:1: key options: agent-forwarding port-forwarding pty user-rc x11-forwarding
debug1: Remote: /home/readyready15728/.ssh/authorized_keys:1: key options: agent-forwarding port-forwarding pty user-rc x11-forwarding
debug2: channel_input_open_confirmation: channel 0: callback start
debug2: fd 3 setting TCP_NODELAY
debug2: client_session2_setup: id 0
debug2: channel 0: request pty-req confirm 1
debug1: Sending environment.
debug1: Sending env LANG = C.UTF-8
debug2: channel 0: request env confirm 0
debug1: Sending env LC_ALL = en_US.UTF-8
debug2: channel 0: request env confirm 0
debug2: channel 0: request shell confirm 1
debug2: channel_input_open_confirmation: channel 0: callback done
debug2: channel 0: open confirm rwindow 0 rmax 32768
debug2: channel_input_status_confirm: type 99 id 0
debug2: PTY allocation request accepted on channel 0
debug2: channel 0: rcvd adjust 2097152
debug2: channel_input_status_confirm: type 99 id 0
debug2: shell request accepted on channel 0
  • 2
    Try running ssh with the "-vv" option to print debugging info, and capture the output for a session in which you're prompted for a password. Then edit your question to include the debugging output. That should make it clear what authentication methods are being used.
    – Kenster
    Jun 30 at 15:17
  • Thanks for the suggestion. I have done so! Jul 1 at 2:12
  • 1
    The ssh -vv output shows you authenticating with public key, not password. Jul 2 at 15:09

Your SSH server is properly accepting passwordless logins; based on the output of ssh -vv that you posted it has accepted your key:

debug1: Authentication succeeded (publickey).

The reason why you are being prompted for a password still is because your private key is encrypted and has a password set, as per the request for which specific password to input:

Enter passphrase for key '/home/readyready15728/.ssh/id_rsa':

So I would recommend keeping your current settings they way they are, as this will protect your private key should your system ever become compromised. However, I would recommend not re-using passwords as it sounds like the password for your user account and the password for your private key may be the same.

  • I would never do that in production. This is just me experimenting. Jul 2 at 23:55

The issue that you describe is realated to sshd_config but with the following part.

#PubkeyAuthentication yes

You need to uncomment this line, as the next.

PubkeyAuthentication yes

After that, it's necesary the server will take this change, you will need to restart the service.

systemctl restart sshd

With this change you are allowing the RSA keys.


Check permissions of $HOME and $HOME/.ssh - they need to be 0700 (rwx------) for sshd to consider using the keys.


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