GitHub & SSH Keys

Linux Feb 2, 2016

Recently I have needed to use my GitHub username and password whenever I do a push. I can't remember if it was due to the hardware swapout I recently did with my Mac or some other reason.

╰ ➤ git push

Username for '': clijockey
Password for '':
Counting objects: 3, done.
Delta compression using up to 8 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (3/3), done.
Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 349 bytes | 0 bytes/s, done.
Total 3 (delta 2), reused 0 (delta 0)
   5cf4d29..79635e7  master -> master

It's been a bit of a pain so I decided to resolve the issue so that my GitHub account makes use of SSH keys simimlar to how I log onto servers (previous post on that).

Generate SSH Key

If you have already got yourself some SSH Keys you don't need to do this again you could always reuse what is already setup. However if never been done before first of all create a new SSH key and follow the onscreen instructions;

ssh-keygen -t rsa 

Now that the keys are generated you will want to copy the public key to your clipboard so that we can add them to your GitHub account. This can either be using pbcopy to put straight into your clipboard or the traditional way for using cat and cut & paste functions.

pbcopy < ~/.ssh/

Add to GitHub account

Now that we have the public key we need to log onto out GitHub account and go to settings (top righthand side, click on profile picture) and navigate to the SSH keys section;

GitHub SSH Keys

Now if you click 'Add SSH Key' you can populate your public key and associate a name with it;

Add SSH Key.


Now that you have added your key to your GitHub account we should now test everything is working;

╰ ➤ ssh -T
The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is SHA256:nThbg6kXUpJWGl7E1IGOCspDomTxdCARLvlKw6E5SY8.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added ',' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.

Hi clijockey! You've successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not provide shell access.

If you get the successful message you should be good to now do a test push back to you repo and see if you are challenged for a username/password again or if it works using your keys.

If you are still prompted it could be that the repo was originally setup using HTTPS method rather than SSH so you will need to alter your local git configuration. Its a lot easier than it sounds, first of all navigate to the repo in question and copy the SSH destination;

GitHub Repo SSH

Now from the local machine issue the following to change from using HTTPS to SSH;

git remote set-url origin

Now when I do a git push I dont need to enter a username/password and my SSH keys are used;

╰ ➤ git push

Everything up-to-date


Rob Edwards

Northern (UK) chap focusing on platforms, automation, cloud and cloud native applications. Recovering network engineer, although it turns out networking is as important, if not more, now than before!

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