one key or multiple keys

Neil Williams
Sun Jun 22 19:33:02 2003

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On Sunday 22 Jun 2003 2:34 pm, Marcin Gil wrote:
> This question came up recently:
> Should I use only ONE key for every email address I have
> (with multiple IDs, eg. Marcin Gil <email #1>, Marcin Gil <email #2>)
> or should I use multiple keys -- one for every email address?

It's mostly about maintenance. One key is easier to maintain than 4.=20

If you are going to collect signatures from others as part of a Web Of Trus=
it'll be a bit easier if it's all on one key. With separate keys you could=
end up generating lots of signatures on each key just by yourself - signing=
each key with at least one of the alternatives. Keeping separate keys seems=
quite a hassle. (Others can sign all verified UID's at the same time with o=

Having separate encryption keys means that you have to have a way of tellin=
which key has encrypted the file - each with a different password.

The only real reasons I can see to have multiple keys are:
1. accidental (as with me): Generated a second key for a second machine=20
instead of reading up on GnuPG and learning how to export and import secret=
2. Different algorithms or key sizes etc. If you know about the various=20
algorithms and have preferences for one over another for email signatures=20
versus encryption, then you can keep one key for email sigs and one for all=
your encryption.

> Regards,


Neil Williams

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