Use ssh-copy-id with an OpenSSH Server Listening On a Different Port

Posted on in Categories , , , , last updated June 24, 2015

My OpenSSH server listening on TCP port number 2222. How can I use ssh-copy-id with an sshd server with listening on a different port on a Linux or Unix-like systems?

The ssh-copy-id is a shell script that uses ssh command to log into a remote machine using a login password to install your public key in a remote machine’s authorized_keys. The script also secure the remote user’s home, ~/.ssh, and ~/.ssh/autho-rized_keys files by changing the permissions.


The syntax is as follows to install ssh-keys:

ssh-copy-id user@server-name-here
ssh-copy-id -i /path/to/identity-file user@server-name-here


Install key for server42, enter:

ssh-copy-id vivek@nas01

Install key for for OpenSSH server listen on IP port 22 (default), enter:

ssh-copy-id nixcraft@

Sample outputs:

/usr/local/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: attempting to log in with the new key(s), to filter out any that are already installed
/usr/local/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: 1 key(s) remain to be installed -- if you are prompted now it is to install the new keys
[email protected]'s password: 
Number of key(s) added:        1
Now try logging into the machine, with:   "ssh [email protected]'"
and check to make sure that only the key(s) you wanted were added.

Using ssh-copy-id with an SSH server listening on a different port # 2222

If your remote server listen on a different port than 22, you need to use the following syntax:

## old syntax. only valid for older ssh-copy-id (see below for new syntax) ##
ssh-copy-id '-p PORT-NUMBER-HERE [email protected]'
ssh-copy-id '-p 2222 [email protected]'
ssh-copy-id '-p 2222 [email protected]'


## new syntax ##
ssh-copy-id -p 2222 nixcraft@

Sample outputs:

Fig.01: Using ssh-copy-id with an SSH server listening on a different port # 2222
Fig.01: Using ssh-copy-id with an SSH server listening on a different port # 2222

Test it

Now try logging into the machine, with:

ssh -p 2222 nixcraft@

Sample outputs:

Welcome to Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.13.0-46-generic x86_64)
 * Documentation:
Last login: Sat Mar  7 17:55:48 2015 from viveks-macbook-pro.local

See ssh-copy-id(1) for more info.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

3 comment

  1. The second example code using the “-i identityfile” flag isn’t explained further. I think it’s a good idea to either delete that line or explain it further.


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