Calculate RSA key fingerprint – Dev

The best answers to the question “Calculate RSA key fingerprint” in the category Dev.


I need to do the SSH key audit for GitHub, but I am not sure how do find my RSA key fingerprint. I originally followed a guide to generate an SSH key on Linux.

What is the command I need to enter to find my current RSA key fingerprint?


The newer SSH commands will list fingerprints as a SHA256 Key.

For example:

ssh-keygen -lf ~/.ssh/ 
1024 SHA256:19n6fkdz0qqmowiBy6XEaA87EuG/jgWUr44ZSBhJl6Y (DSA)

If you need to compare it against an old fingerprint you also need to specify to use the MD5 fingerprint hashing function.

ssh-keygen -E md5 -lf ~/.ssh/
2048 MD5:4d:5b:97:19:8c:fe:06:f0:29:e7:f5:96:77:cb:3c:71 (DSA)

Also available: -E sha1

Update… YES…yes… I know… DSA keys for SSH should no longer be used, the older RSA key or newer ecliptic keys should be used instead.

To those ‘admins’ that keep editing the command I used in the above. STOP CHANGING IT! You make the command and resulting output mis-match!


Run the following command to retrieve the SHA256 fingerprint of your SSH key (-l means “list” instead of create a new key, -f means “filename”):

$ ssh-keygen -lf /path/to/ssh/key

So for example, on my machine the command I ran was (using RSA public key):

$ ssh-keygen -lf ~/.ssh/
2048 00:11:22:33:44:55:66:77:88:99:aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff /Users/username/.ssh/ (RSA)

To get the GitHub (MD5) fingerprint format with newer versions of ssh-keygen, run:

$ ssh-keygen -E md5 -lf <fileName>

Bonus information:

ssh-keygen -lf also works on known_hosts and authorized_keys files.

To find most public keys on Linux/Unix/OS X systems, run

$ find /etc/ssh /home/*/.ssh /Users/*/.ssh -name '*.pub' -o -name 'authorized_keys' -o -name 'known_hosts'

(If you want to see inside other users’ homedirs, you’ll have to be root or sudo.)

The ssh-add -l is very similar, but lists the fingerprints of keys added to your agent. (OS X users take note that magic passwordless SSH via Keychain is not the same as using ssh-agent.)


A key pair (the private and public keys) will have the same fingerprint; so in the case you can’t remember which private key belong to which public key, find the match by comparing their fingerprints.

The most voted answer by Marvin Vinto provides the fingerprint of a public SSH key file. The fingerprint of the corresponding private SSH key can also be queried, but it requires a longer series of step, as shown below.

  1. Load the SSH agent, if you haven’t done so. The easiest way is to invoke

    $ ssh-agent bash


    $ ssh-agent tcsh

    (or another shell you use).

  2. Load the private key you want to test:

    $ ssh-add /path/to/your-ssh-private-key

    You will be asked to enter the passphrase if the key is password-protected.

  3. Now, as others have said, type

    $ ssh-add -l
    1024 fd:bc:8a:81:58:8f:2c:78:86:a2:cf:02:40:7d:9d:3c [email protected] (DSA)

    fd:bc:... is the fingerprint you are after. If there are multiple keys, multiple lines will be printed, and the last line contains the fingerprint of the last loaded key.

  4. If you want to stop the agent (i.e., if you invoked step 1 above), then simply type `exit’ on the shell, and you’ll be back on the shell prior to the loading of ssh agent.

I do not add new information, but hopefully this answer is clear to users of all levels.


To see your key on Ubuntu, just enter the following command on your terminal:

ssh-add -l

You will get an output like this:
2568 0j:20:4b:88:a7:9t:wd:19:f0:d4:4y:9g:27:cf:97:23 [email protected] (RSA)

If however you get an error like; Could not open a connection to your authentication agent.
Then it means that ssh-agent is not running. You can start/run it with:
ssh-agent bash (thanks to @Richard in the comments) and then re-run ssh-add -l