Can't manage SSH key authentication for non-root/non-cPanel users


Feb 3, 2012
cPanel Access Level
Root Administrator
I am having a problem granting shell access to a regular Linux shell account on a cPanel server.

The account was created from the Linux command line rather than from cPanel because it isn't associated with any website or cPanel account. The purpose of the account was to allow the customer who owns the server to transfer full-backups form a previous company's server over SCP and then to log in and move to the /home directory so they could be restored on the new server. This works fine as long as the user is allowed to use password authentication.

Recently, I enabled WHM's SSH Password Authorization Tweak. Since doing this, I cannot find a way to permit the user to login to SSH. Root works fine, but the user does not require that level of privilege. Disabling this "tweak" again and restoring password authentication allows the user to login, but I feel this is less secure.

I tried creating an .ssh directory in the user's home dir and then adding the requisite key, but this does nothing. sshd just continues to reply "Permission denied (publickey,gssapi-keyex,gssapi-with-mic)." The /var/log/secure log file is useless to me since all it contains is "Connection closed by <IP>".

Please, what on earth am I doing wrong?