SSH certificates are an interesting SSH feature that is relatively new. Certificates are a bit more than just SSH public key authentication.

Is there a Windows SSH client that supports certificates?

I'm initially mostly interested in host certificates, and will be interested in user certificates in the future.

  • Have you checked PuTTY or KiTTY? They should support certificates. I will confirm it and post an answer when I get to a PC
    – Tymric
    Aug 4, 2014 at 11:27
  • @Timmy - yes I have checked. Just to be clear, I am asking about certificates, not keys.
    – paj28
    Aug 4, 2014 at 13:38
  • Please help me with this. What is SSH Certificate exactly? The link that you have shared, implies the same concept as KEYS. Jun 14, 2015 at 5:58
  • Something that I wanted to mention though is that Microsoft is planning to add SSH support to their power shell, that is the first official support of Microsoft for SSH Jun 14, 2015 at 6:00
  • 1
    @Musa - read the link again, it does explain the difference. In short, SSH certificates save you having to include your public key in authorized_keys on all the hosts you connect to.
    – paj28
    Jun 14, 2015 at 19:33

3 Answers 3


Well, this question is a bit old, but ZOC SSH Client should support SSH private keys and also certificate keys. Its feature page says it's built on openssh 6.6 and certificate keys are part of openssh since 5.6 and the feature page lists certificates as a SSH login method.

Also, meanwhile there is another OpenSSH implementation too, that's not CygWin.

  • 1
    Great info! But I think that certificate keys came to OpenSSH just a little (six months) earlier, in OpenSSH 5.4 (rather than 5.6). Confirmed this in the 5.4 release notes (that are linked at the following reference), after noticing the note on this added to the "Features" table, "CA Certificates" column, "OpenSSH" row of the Wikipedia SSH clients comparison: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_SSH_clients. Follow the footnote link from the table (it's presently footnote numbered "f") for the Release Notes pointer.
    – M.Bearden
    Feb 17, 2023 at 20:51

For most of my windows SSH work, I use cygwin. It's pretty much a mini linux emulator for windows (with a good chunk of packages available). It also comes with a really nice package search engine to check which ones are available.

One of the packages happens to be OpenSSH, which should be able to handle any certificate needs that you may have (I believe it's the only version of it to run on windows, and it is used by most linux distributions).

  • Sorry, I had let this sit for over a year. Accepted with reluctance because although this does solve the problem, it's quite limiting that cygwin runs in console windows, which are not nearly as nice to use as putty windows.
    – paj28
    Jun 14, 2015 at 19:35

Meanwhile Windows 10 ships with an official port of the OpenSSH client. The ssh-agent is an alternative implementation making use of the Windows LSASS credential cache.

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