How-To: Import/Export GPG key pair

1 minute read

This tutorial will show how you can export and import a set of GPG keys from one computer to another.

This way, you can sign/encrypt the same way one different computer.

A simple way of doing it would be to:

$ scp -r ~/.gnupg [email protected]:~/

but this would import all your keyring.

If you want to import only one set of key, you first have to get the listing of your keys and find the one you want to export:

1. Export the GPG key

$ gpg --list-keys
/home/user/.gnupg/pubring.gpg
--------------------------------
pub 1024D/ABCDFE01 2008-04-13
uid firstname lastname (description) <[email protected]>
sub 2048g/DEFABC01 2008-04-13

In this case, I am going to import key ABCDFE01.

$ gpg --output mygpgkey_pub.gpg --armor --export ABCDFE01
$ gpg --output mygpgkey_sec.gpg --armor --export-secret-key ABCDFE01

Then copy thos files over to the remote host:

$ scp mygpgkey_pub.gpg mygpgkey_sec.gpg [email protected]:~/

2. Import the GPG key

Now, log in the remote host:

$ ssh [email protected]

And then import:

[email protected]:~$ gpg --import ~/mygpgkey_pub.gpg
 [email protected]:~$ gpg --allow-secret-key-import --import ~/mygpgkey_sec.gpg
[email protected]:~$ gpg --list-keys
/home/user/.gnupg/pubring.gpg
--------------------------------
pub 1024D/ABCDFE01 2008-04-13
uid firstname lastname (description) <[email protected]>
sub 2048g/DEFABC01 2008-04-13

and then clean up:

[email protected]:~$ rm ~/mygpgkey_sec.gpg ~/mygpgkey_pub.gpg

That’s it :smile: