SSH Permission denied (publickey)

I have configured my droplet using the following guide -

I then followed this guide to add a GUI -

All the steps worked, until the step to establish a secure connection (Step 3 — Connecting to the VNC Desktop Securely).

I ran the code that was provided (changing the user parameter accordingly) -

> ssh -L 59000:localhost:5901 -C -N -l sammy your_server_ip

But I got the following error - Permission denied (publickey).

I do have SSH keys as the authentication method on root, and my non root user can login successfully. So I assume the key was copied successfully to that user.

I was required to set a password for the non root user, and I am not sure if that could be the cause of the error.

How can I fix this error and establish the SSH tunnel?

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Site Moderator
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October 5, 2022

Hello @guyseynaeve

I will recommend you check this article

The initial setup does come as part of the requisites since in the VNC setup you’ll need a username. Make sure to setup ssh-keys for the username and re-try to connect.


Site Moderator
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October 5, 2022

Hi @guyseynaeve,

When you go to your user’s home directory, in there do you see the .ssh/authorized_keys file? I’m not talking about /root/.ssh/authorized_keys but for your user sammy?

Additionally, make sure your permissions and ownerships are correct on the folder as well and that they are not root:root.

typically you want the permissions to be:

  • .ssh directory: 700 (drwx------)
  • public key (.pub file): 644 (-rw-r–r–)
  • private key (id_rsa): 600 (-rw-------)
  • lastly your home directory should not be writeable by the group or others (at most 755 (drwxr-xr-x)).

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