Using SSH keys with Ansible for secure server management is a common practice. Ansible allows you to automate server management tasks and configure multiple servers simultaneously, and using SSH keys adds an extra layer of security by eliminating the need to use passwords for authentication. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use SSH keys with Ansible:

Generate SSH key pair:
If you don't have an SSH key pair already, generate one on your local machine by running the following command in your terminal:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096

This will generate a private key (id_rsa) and a public key ( in the ~ / . ssh / directory.

Copy the public key to the target servers:
Copy the public key ( to the servers you want to manage using Ansible. You can use the ssh-copy-id command to automatically copy the key to the remote server. For example:
ssh-copy-id user@server_ip_address

Repeat this step for each server you want to manage with Ansible.

Test SSH key authentication:
Ensure that SSH key authentication is working correctly by SSHing into one of the target servers using the SSH key:
ssh user@server_ip_address

You should be able to log in without entering a password.

Configure Ansible to use SSH keys:
Create or modify the Ansible configuration file (ansible.cfg) in your project directory or the default location (/ etc / ansible /) and add the following lines:

Replace / path / to / private_key with the path to your private key (id_rsa).

Test Ansible connection:
To test if Ansible can connect to your servers using SSH keys, create a simple playbook (test.yml) with the following contents:
- name: Test connection
  hosts: your_server_group
    - name: Ping

Replace your_server_group with the appropriate group or individual server name from your inventory.

Run the playbook using the ansible-playbook command:
ansible-playbook -i inventory_file test.yml

If the playbook runs successfully and you see a "pong" response, then Ansible is able to connect to the servers using SSH keys.

By following these steps, you can securely manage your servers using Ansible and SSH keys, eliminating the need for passwords and enhancing the overall security of your server management workflow.