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Udara Dananjaya
Udara Dananjaya

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Securely Managing Deploy Keys and Cloning GitHub Repositories with SSH

Welcome to a developer's guide on securely managing deploy keys and cloning GitHub repositories using SSH. Deploy keys are a crucial aspect of automating and deploying your code efficiently. In this article, we'll walk you through the process of setting up deploy keys for your GitHub repositories and cloning them securely using SSH keys. Whether you're a seasoned developer or just getting started, this guide will help you streamline your development workflow.

Setting Up Deploy Keys for a GitHub Repository

The first step in automating your code deployment is to set up deploy keys. These keys provide secure, read-only or read-write access to your repository for automation purposes. Here's how you can do it:

1.Generate a New SSH Key:

  • If you don't already have an SSH key pair, generate one using the ssh-keygen command in your terminal. For example:

     ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ""
  • Follow the prompts to create the key pair.

2.Add the SSH Key to Your SSH Agent:

  • Ensure your SSH key is added to the SSH agent using the ssh-add command:

     ssh-add ~/.ssh/your_private_key
  • Replace your_private_key with the actual filename of your SSH private key.

3.Copy the Public Key:

  • The public key is typically stored in ~/.ssh/ You can view it using a text editor or the cat command.

4.Add Deploy Key to GitHub:

  • Visit your GitHub repository's page.
  • Navigate to the "Settings" tab.
  • In the left sidebar, find and click on "Deploy keys."
  • Click the "Add deploy key" button.
  • Provide a title for the key for identification purposes.
  • Paste your public SSH key into the "Key" field.
  • Optionally, specify whether to allow write access.
  • Click the "Add key" button.

With these steps completed, your SSH key is now added as a deploy key to your repository, ready for secure access and automation tasks.

Cloning the GitHub Repository Using SSH Keys

Once you've set up deploy keys, you can easily clone GitHub repositories using SSH keys. Here's how:

1.Add SSH Key to SSH Agent:

  • Open a terminal window.

  • Add your SSH key to the SSH agent with the following command:

     ssh-add ~/.ssh/your_private_key
  • Replace your_private_key with your actual SSH private key filename.

2.Clone the Repository:

  • Navigate to the directory where you want to clone the repository.

  • Use the git clone command with the SSH URL of the repository in this format:

     git clone
  • Replace username with your GitHub username and repository with the repository name.


     git clone


  • Git will automatically use your SSH key for authentication if it's correctly added to the SSH agent and associated with your GitHub account.

4.Completing the Clone:

  • Git will clone the repository to your local machine, providing progress information in the terminal.

By following these steps, you've successfully cloned a GitHub repository using your SSH key. Ensure that you have the necessary permissions to access the repository and that the SSH key you added is associated with your GitHub account.

With deploy keys and SSH authentication, you can enhance your development workflow by automating and securely accessing GitHub repositories. Whether you're deploying code, collaborating with a team, or simply managing your projects, these practices will streamline your work and keep your codebase secure. Happy coding!

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