Before you generate an SSH key, you can check to see if you have any existing SSH keys.

  1. Open TerminalTerminalGit Bash.

  2. Enter ls -al ~/.ssh to see if existing SSH keys are present:

    ls -al ~/.ssh
    # Lists the files in your .ssh directory, if they exist
  3. Check the directory listing to see if you already have a public SSH key.

By default, the filenames of the public keys are one of the following:


  • If you don't have an existing public and private key pair, or don't wish to use any that are available to connect to GitHub, then generate a new SSH key.

  • If you see an existing public and private key pair listed (for example and id_rsa) that you would like to use to connect to GitHub, you can add your SSH key to the ssh-agent.

Tip: If you receive an error that ~/.ssh doesn't exist, don't worry! We'll create it when we generate a new SSH key.