How exactly do I add a key to my DigitalOcean Droplet??

I changed my public and private keys on Terminal (I’m using Mac OS) many times. So when I “ssh” into the IP address given to me by my Droplet (the IP address is, I get the error of Permission denied (publickey). so I know it has to do with me changing the public/private key. So now I need to add that changed public key on my Terminal to my Droplet on DigitalOcean. There were two things suggested by the DigitalOcean community which I’ve tried:

  1. The tutorial on here - but this is for Windows users, not Mac. It’s suggests using a “Search and Replace” and checking certain functionalities. But Macs don’t have this so I can’t even use it:

  2. A user kept suggesting to someone else that the problem is resolved by visiting this page: I read into it and it has everything to do with setting up a SSH key, which I already know, and NOTHING to do with how to ADD an ssh key to an existing Droplet.

I really just need to know how to add my changed ssh key to my Droplet. I would really appreciate the help if anybody knows.

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Hello, all

You can follow our tutorials on how to add your ssh-keys:

How to Upload an SSH Public Key to an Existing Droplet How-to Add SSH Keys to New or Existing Droplets

If you’re using a SSH-client the following command with upload the keys for you and you’ll just need to enter your username password:

cat ~/.ssh/ | \
ssh username@ "mkdir -p ~/.ssh && cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys"

Hope that this helps! Regards, Alex


If you deployed the Droplet with an SSH Key, a root password is never set, thus you won’t be able to login using console, or login as root using a password.

That’s why I mentioned that you’re effectively locked out since you overwrote the older key.


To SSH in with a key, you have to pass the -i flag and define the full path. So if your key name was:


On MacOS, you’d use:

ssh root@ -i ~/.ssh/confused

That being said, if you created a Droplet with one key and then overwrote it, you’ve effectively locked yourself out. The only way to get around this would be if you set a password for root, then you could try to login without it, but seeing as you’re getting:

Permission denied (publickey).

… when trying to login with ssh root@, that tells me that you don’t / didn’t.