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I've read alot of documentation on the ssh key stuff but I am unable to get a passwordless login to my server. I have given my public keys over to the other side. I think the issue is that the server uses the ssh protocal with a .ssh2/ file extension and my client machine has the standard .shh/ extension. I created a lookalike set of directories on the server and put the public key there but still can't access it without a password. any ideas anyone?
if so, you probably need .ssh on both machines. Also, I assume you have created an ssh2 key (nowadays on modern Linux boxes you need to explicitely tell ssh-keygen to create an ssh1 key, so unless you know better, it's likely you have an ssh2 key)?
I don't know if you have renamed your private key to some custom name. If so, fire ssh like 'ssh -i <private key file> -l <user> <hostname>'.
On the destination machine, you should also have a .ssh directory, relative to your homedir (so: ~/.ssh), with therein the file authorized_keys2.
The rights on the files are critical..
your .ssh directory can better be no other than mode 0700, as well as your authorized_keys2 file. They don't need to be this mode both per say, but I 'm unable to remember which needs this, so I put it on both).
Try if you already have done these and see if it works.
Remember to put a passphrase on the private key (unless it's a machine auto-ssh key for cronjobs) for security reasons. you can even use ssh-agent for entering your passphrase once per login session.