OpenSSH IdentitiesOnly


I discovered option IdentitiesOnly in ssh_config.

Recently I was hit by a problem in using OpenSSH where I defined two different Host sections, pointing to the same host but setting different IdentityFiles:

Host foo bar
    User foobar
Host foo
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa-foo
Host bar
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa-bar

This can be a common arrangement when using Gitolite, because we might have two separate identities (one as admin and one as regular user).

The problem? Even when accessing via the bar alias, the OpenSSH client was still offering the key for foo.

Luckily for me, someone already thought of asking and this came out: How could I stop ssh offering a wrong key? The problem is that I was also relying upon ssh-agent and it was adding its stored keys in addition to the ones set as IdentityFiles in the configuration file.

This is where option IdentitiesOnly comes to the rescue:

Specifies that ssh(1) should only use the configured authentication identity and certificate files (either the default files, or those explicitly configured in the ssh_config files or passed on the ssh(1) command-line), even if ssh-agent(1) or a PKCS11Provider or SecurityKeyProvider offers more identities. The argument to this keyword must be yes or no (the default). This option is intended for situations where ssh-agent offers many different identities.

Hence, as suggested in the accepted answer, I added this at the end of the configuration file:

Host *
   IdentitiesOnly yes

Now the right key is selected, yay!

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