SSH Agent Forwarding on Snow Leopard

01 Jul 2012

This post fairly accurately describes the frustration I had authenticating myself with remote services once I had shelled into another machine. For example, trying to connect to a Github private repo from within a Vagrant virtual machine would yield Permission denied (publickey).

I’m me! Can’t you see?

Agent forwarding should have been taking care of this for me, but it’s turned off by default in Snow Leopard. To switch it back on edit the file /etc/ssh_config so that ForwardAgent is set to ‘yes’.

Host *
ForwardAgent yes

A further complication was that I needed to let the ssh authentication agent know about my identity file.


By default this will add your ~/.ssh/id_rsa keyfile. If you have others to add you will need to name them explicitly.

ssh-add -K [path/to/keyfile]

Now, whether I’m logging in to a local Vagrant virtual machine, or an EC2 instance, I no longer need to copy across or generate a key in order to authenticate with Github.