How to convert pem file to ppk

Before jumping on how to convert pem file to ppk, let’s try and dig in some info about what exactly is pem file and what is ppk file.

What is PEM file and why you need to convert pem to ppk?

PEM is Privacy Enhanced Mail and is a mainly used as X. 509 encoding format used for security certificates. Incase of AWS or other cloud server where you asked to download pem file in order to connect to AWS EC2 instance is basically a private key in a PEM format. Incase of linux you can directly connect to your cloud instances or vm’s using pem file on command line with ssh command, however for windows system you connect through putty software, which requires ppk file, so pem to ppk conversion is required.

What is PPK file?

A PPK file is nothing but a converted form of PEM file. A PEM file is converted to PPK file inorder to connect to a VM or AWS EC2 instance through putty software.

In this post we will try to explain through a step by step tutorial – how to convert pem file to ppk.


1. Open Puttygen

You can open puttygen searching in windows search box or directly clicking on puttygen exe file.


2. Load PEM File

You can click on Load button, it will ask location of file, browse to location of pem file and open it. While browsing make sure to use All files option as highlighted in image below, otherwise by default it search for ppk file only.

Pem file

3. Import Success

On importing, it will show a pop up saying import successful, you can click ok to close the popup.


4. Save Private Key

If you want to keep a passphrase for this key, you can keep by putting in passphrase in the input boxes given on top. Do not fill if you do not need any passphrase. Click save button, it will give a dialog box asking you are using without a passphrase are you sure want to continue. Simply click Ok, now it will ask you to select location where you want to save ppk file. Select your location and give a name for file and click save. This will save your ppk file.

Save PPK File
Location of ppk


You can use putty software to connect to remote hosts like AWS EC2 linux instances or lightsail linux instances or any other vm’s which has key based authentication by uploading this ppk file. Putty is a free software which works on windows as well as linux. These days filezilla also provides conversion feature, you can just select settings in filezilla and click sftp and then add pem file. It will convert to ppk.

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