Quick and Dirty SSH Key Management with Python

Other-python-iconSometimes I need to quickly copy SSH keys to remote systems in a pinch.  I can do this with the Ansible authorized_key module but that’s not always available.  I might be on a random system and Ansible or external internet isn’t available and things need to be pushed out quickly.  Here’s a simple interactive tool to quickly push SSH keys to many hosts, may you never SSH for loop again.


Copy the Tool
Copy the tool from my github below somewhere local or just clone my repo.

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/sadsfae/misc-scripts/master/python/ssh-key-copy.py

Run the Tool
Have a list of hosts handy (one per line) and the SSH public keys you want copied and run the tool.  You’ll paste your hosts and SSH keys, hit ENTER to signify an empty line to tell the tool you are done entering the data.

|   SSH Key Copier 5000   |

Enter Target Hosts

Enter or Copy your Host List

Enter Target Hosts

Copy your SSH Keys

Enter SSH Keys
ssh-rsa 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

Keys Are Copied
You’ll see progress as your keys are copied to external systems.

Copying SSH Keys to
Copying SSH Keys to

Riding Dirty or Ansible?
This is a very simple tool but it’s something I never want to do again with a shell for loop.  I would consider things like this to be one-off but repeatable enough to warrant the time to write a tool.

If you’re managing persistent states of systems properly Ansible is a better choice, it is designed for this type of thing.  You might manage your public SSH keys in a git repo and have Ansible ensure it matches what is on remote servers.

Below you can simply add/remove keys as the organization changes and Ansible will make sure your systems stay in the correct state.

# Manage Admin Keys
- name: Set up authorized_keys for the sysadmins
  authorized_key: user=admin key="{{ item }}"
    - public_keys/ops-mary
    - public_keys/ops-bob

About Will Foster

hobo devop/sysadmin, all-around nice guy.
This entry was posted in open source, sysadmin and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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