What is a PPK Key?

A PPK key is a private key used for Secure Shell (SSH) authentication. It is commonly used by Windows users who prefer the Putty SSH client. The PPK key format is not compatible with Mac or Linux systems, which require the PEM key format.

Why Convert PPK to PEM?

If you need to connect to a Linux or Mac server from a Windows system using SSH, you will need to convert your PPK key to the PEM format. This is because Mac and Linux systems do not support the PPK format.

Step 1: Install Putty

To convert your PPK key to PEM on a Mac, you will need to install the Putty SSH client. This can be done using a package manager like Homebrew or by downloading the installer from the Putty website.

Step 2: Install Puttygen

Puttygen is a key generator tool that comes with the Putty SSH client. It can be used to convert PPK keys to PEM format. To install Puttygen on a Mac, open the Terminal app and enter the following command:



Step 3: Convert PPK to PEM

Once you have installed Putty and Puttygen, you can convert your PPK key to PEM format. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Puttygen by typing puttygen in the Terminal app.
  2. Click on the “Load” button and select your PPK key.
  3. Enter the passphrase for your PPK key if prompted.
  4. Click on the “Save private key” button and save the key in PEM format.

Your PPK key is now converted to PEM format and can be used on Mac or Linux systems.

FAQs – Convert PPK Key to PEM on Mac

What is a PPK key and why do I need to convert it to a PEM format?

A PPK key is a private key file used by the PuTTY SSH client to connect to a remote server securely. However, most Mac users prefer to use the native Terminal app or other SSH clients that require PEM format keys. Thus, converting a PPK key to PEM format allows Mac users to connect to remote servers using alternative tools.

How do I convert a PPK key to PEM format on a Mac?

To convert a PPK key to PEM format on your Mac, you need to install a conversion tool called puttygen. Puttygen should be included in the PuTTY package you downloaded when using PPK keys. Once installed, open puttygen, and select File > Load Private Key to open your PPK file. Once your PPK key file is loaded in puttygen, click Conversions > Export OpenSSH key. In the dialog box, choose the destination folder and set a new name for your converted PEM file.

Can I convert a PPK key to PEM format using the Terminal app?

Yes, you can convert a PPK key to a PEM format using the Terminal app on your Mac. However, the process is more complicated and prone to errors than using a conversion tool such as puttygen. You would need to convert the PPK file to a PuTTY-compatible OpenSSH format, then use the native ssh-keygen tool in the Terminal app to convert the OpenSSH-format file to a PEM file.

Is there any risk of data loss during the PPK to PEM conversion process?

Converting a PPK key to a PEM format is a simple process that involves copying your PPK key data and pasting it into a new PEM file. Thus, there is minimal risk of losing any data during the conversion process. However, it’s always a good practice to make a backup of your PPK file before attempting any conversion process.

Can I use the converted PEM key on other devices, such as Windows or Linux?

Yes, once you’ve converted your PPK key to a PEM format, you can use the converted PEM key on other devices that support the format, including Windows and Linux. PEM format is a widely-used format for SSH keys and is compatible with most SSH clients. So, you can use your converted PEM key on any device or platform that supports SSH protocol.