How can I use SSH in Bitbucket Pipelines?

I would like to use SSH in Bitbucket Pipelines to clone another repository from Bitbucket.

6 answers

2 accepted

How do you actually use that key in a command?

The keys are injected into your build and should be available to commands that need them (in a similar way to how it would run locally).

Note that you'll still need to add the corresponding public key to whichever service you're trying to contact.

Yeah ive dropped the pipeline pub key onto my server in .ssh/authorized_keys

A simple "ssh -i" doesn't work

Ill keep trying

What error message are you getting? Key not found, or authentication errors?

@Elliot Borstthe -i option let you change the default key but you don't specify any file. You should remove this option.

"ssh  Pseudo-terminal will not be allocated because stdin is not a terminal.Host key verification failed."  


The pub key is on the other box, I can ssh fine from my Mac, I can see the connection come through our firewall ok.  Seems like pipelines isn't sending the private key with my command

Oh I worked it out, I wasn't actually adding the known host after doing the lookup.

Pseudo-terminal will not be allocated because stdin is not a terminal

take a look on ssh -t option if necessary

1 vote

Up to date as of 04/04/2018.

For example. I want to clone repo-2 into a build from repo-1

To use SSH to clone another repository from Bitbucket you need to do the following.

  1. In repo-1 generate a Pipelines SSH key to be injected into your build container. Follow Step 1 here:
    • Note that if the known hosts information for and are injected by default. If you are using any other site you will need to configure Known Hosts, by following Step 2 in the above documentation.
  2. Add an Access Key to repo-2. Paste in the public key that was generated in the previous step.
  3. Configure your bitbucket-pipelines-yml to use git.

An example bitbucket-pipelines.yml is:

image: ubuntu:16.04

- step:
- apt-get update -y
- apt-get install -y git
- git clone <your_repo_here> # For example,
Khue Bui I'm New Here Jul 10, 2018

Hi Philip,

I followed your steps above to add submodule from another bitbucket repo to my pipeline, but unfortunately encounter error:

 Host key verification failed.fatal: Could not read from remote repository.


4 votes

For a slightly more general guide for using ssh and ssh-based tools from a pipeline (not just for cloning another Bitbucket repository) see this other question:

It is similar to Philip's answer but also covers server key fingerprints and uploading your public key to other types of servers.


Out of date response. Content here still works, but is much more work to set up.



There's a few steps required to do this.

First, you need to generate a key-pair to use for Bitbucket.

Generate a new SSH key-pair for use in Bitbucket. 

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "

Do not use a passphrase, when prompted.

Once you have generated the key-pair, add the public key to your account:

If you already had an SSH key, and skipped the set up, start reading from here.

Now, we can set up SSH in Bitbucket Pipelines:

First, we will add the SSH key as an environment variable.

As of right now, Pipelines does not support line breaks in the environment variable, so we need to encode the private key first:

$ base64 &lt;path&gt;/&lt;to&gt;/id_rsa | pbcopy # probably path is ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Now create a secured environment variable in Bitbucket Pipelines called PRIVATE_KEY, with the contents of the base64 encoded private key:

Now, create a bitbucket-pipelines.yml with the following content (I can't find the original source of this example sorry, share if you know smile):

# You can use a Docker image from Docker Hub or your own container
# registry for your build environment.
    - step:
        script: # Modify the commands below to build your repository.
          - echo $PRIVATE_KEY &gt; ~/.ssh/id_rsa.tmp
          - base64 -d ~/.ssh/id_rsa.tmp &gt; ~/.ssh/id_rsa
          - chmod 600 ~/.ssh/id_rsa
          - base64 ~/.ssh/id_rsa
          - git clone;account_name&gt;/&lt;repo_name&gt;.git

You should see that the build successfully cloned your repository.


Q: The clone asks for a passphrase:

A: There are two things you should double check. When you created the SSH key-pair, did you create them without a passphrase? (If there's a passphrase, things get much more complicated than expected). If you did not have a passphrase, double check that the key (the private key) you have stored is base64 encoded.


Out of date response. Content here still works, but is much more work to set up.


 This line is superfluous and can be deleted: 
- base64 ~/.ssh/id_rsa


I added the above to my config file but on the first statement, echo $PRIVATE_KEY > ~/.ssh/id_rsa.tmp, I received the following: bash: /root/.ssh/id_rsa.tmp: No such file or directory

Add this statement before you echo the PRIVATE_KEY:

mkdir ~/.ssh

Does that help? smile

Maybe this will help... I have configured the  SSH key-pair without passphrase but when i tried to clone the repo with the above code i get the the request to enter some passphrase . For me the solution was to add -i to the command that write the key   . I dont know why i have this behavior. The encoding was done with version  8.25 and decoded with 8.21.

base64 -d  -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.tmp > ~/.ssh/id_rsa

after running
git clone

+ git clone
Cloning into 'repo_name'...
The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is 97:8c:1b:f2:6f:14:6b:5c:3b:ec:aa:46:46:74:7c:40.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?

and can't do anything else

try this : 

 - ssh-keyscan >> ~/.ssh/known_hosts

That will work, but it's not very secure (it's essentially bypassing host key checking because the key scan is performed on every build). A better option is to do the key scan just once locally and then include the full host key in your script or add a known_hosts file to your repository. That way your build will fail if the host key changes (which would indicate a potential security issue). You can find more details in step 4 of the following answer: How do I set up ssh public-key authentication so that I can use ssh, sftp or scp from my Bitbucket Pipelines pipeline?

As of right now, Pipelines does not support line breaks in the environment variable 

@Steven Vaccarella
Would you PLEASE add this potentially time-saving information to your ENV var documentation page?

This info is crucial and nowhere to be found in the docs. Wasted a few hours trying to understand what the hell was wrong with my keys. 

For Docker within Docker + composer install, your new "easy" solution does not work (my docker build will run composer install and inside the built container your Bitbucket keys are nowhere to be found, nor do I want to rely on it - my build tool should work anywhere, not specifically in bitbucket pipelines).


@André Ferro CadeteGood call! I've updated the environment variables page accordingly. Sorry you had such a painful experience, but hopefully now others won't have the same.

(Pipelines writer)

Hi @Linette Voller,


Thanks for the quick response and action. And no problem, was a learning experience as always ;)

Great, this worked. Thanks! 

I'm attempting to use `npm` packages installed from private repositories in the same team account as the pipelines repo is running. I tried the steps for adding ssh but no luck any advice?

Screenshot 2018-01-02 21.00.48.png

I have the same issue when I'm trying to install a dependency from a private repo. Did you find the solution?

Suggest an answer

Log in or Sign up to answer
How to earn badges on the Atlassian Community

How to earn badges on the Atlassian Community

Badges are a great way to show off community activity, whether you’re a newbie or a Champion.

Learn more
Community showcase
Posted Jun 12, 2018 in Bitbucket

Do you use any Atlassian products for your personal projects?

After spinning my wheels trying to get organized enough to write a book for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I took my affinity for Atlassian products from my work life and decided to tr...

29,452 views 26 12
Join discussion

Atlassian User Groups

Connect with like-minded Atlassian users at free events near you!

Find a group

Connect with like-minded Atlassian users at free events near you!

Find my local user group

Unfortunately there are no AUG chapters near you at the moment.

Start an AUG

You're one step closer to meeting fellow Atlassian users at your local meet up. Learn more about AUGs

Groups near you