Remove SSH keys from your server

You can remove a user's SSH key manually while keeping the user itself intact. This is useful in case an SSH private key gets lost or compromised.

Note: If you already removed the user with the -r flag, their SSH keys have already been deleted and you do not need to complete these steps.

Difficulty: 1
Time: 5 minutes

Remove the SSH key

  1. Log in to your server via SSH.
  2. Switch to the root user:
    sudo su -
  3. Find that user's home directory:
    echo ~user's username

    You will see your user's home directory. This is usually /home/user's username.
  4. Using this path, remove the .ssh folder from that user:
    rm -rf /home/user's username/.ssh

You have removed that user's SSH key.

Create a password

After you have removed the key, you must give this user a password or they will be unable to log in.

  1. Make sure you are still logged in as root.
  2. Use the passwd command to change your user's password:
    passwd user's username
  3. Enter a new password, and then confirm it.

Your user's password is now updated.

Next step

Add an SSH Key to an existing server


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