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How to Convert .pem Private Key File to .ppk Format (For PuTTY Only)

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PuTTY does not natively support the private key format (.pem), hence the private key should be converted to .ppk format.

Important: You may follow this tutorial if you are using PuTTY as your SSH client. There are other clients that support .pem private key format, so you can skip this tutorial and proceed to access your Linux instance via SSH.



  1. If you do not have PuTTY installed, download and install PuTTY from here. PuTTYgen is included in the PuTTY installation.
  2. Obtain the private key (the private key is in .pem file format).


Convert your private key using PuTTYgen

1. Launch PuTTYgen (for example, from the Start menu, choose All Programs > PuTTY > PuTTYgen).


2. Choose Load to the .pem private key file into PuTTYgen.


3. Browse the location where you store the .pem private key file.

Note: To select your .pem key file, you need to choose the option to display All Files (*.*).


4. Select your .pem key file for the key pair that you specified when you launch your instance, and then choose Open.


5. Choose OK to dismiss the confirmation dialog box.


6. Under Type of key to generate, choose RSA. You can leave number of bits in its default value.

Note: If you’re using an older version of PuTTYgen, choose SSH-2 RSA.


7.  Choose Save private key to save the key in the format that PuTTY can use.


8. PuTTYgen displays a warning about saving the key without a passphrase. Choose Yes.


9. Specify the same name for the key that you used for the key pair (for example, keypair-cloud), then Save.


Your private key is now in the correct format for use with PuTTY. You can now connect to your instance using PuTTY’s SSH client. You can find the tutorial here.