This article is about Codeship Pro.

Deploying With SSH

Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins

To follow this tutorial on your own computer, please install the jet CLI locally first.

Using SSH/SCP To Deploy

To deploy using SSH and SCP with Codeship Pro, you will need to create a container that can connect to your server via SSH. Then, you will pass this container the necessary deployment commands.

To do this you need to set up an encrypted SSH Key that is available as either a build argument or as an environment variable. It will also need to be able to write to the .ssh folder.

Configuring SSH Deployments

Creating Your SSH Key

The first thing you will need to do is generate a usable SSH key locally. If you have an existing key, you can use it, or you can use the following recommended commands to generate the key:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "" -f keyfile.rsa

When you run this command, it will generate two files in your local repository: keyfile.rsa and

  • keyfile.rsa contains the private key that you will add to your repository so that it can be used by your Codeship Pro build containers to authenticate with your external servers. Note the instructions below for encrypting this file to keep it secure at all times.

  • is the corresponding public key, which you will add to all resources that your Codeship Pro builds will be attempting to authenticate with.

Encrypting The Key

Now that the you have the keyfile.rsa file, you will need to encrypt this file into either a encrypted build arguments file or an encrypted environment variable file to saved in your repository and used during your builds.

Note that you may need the key as both a build argument and an environment variable, since build arguments are only available via the Dockerfile and environment variables are only available via the codeship-steps.yml file after your containers have built.

Whether using build arguments or environemnt variables, you will need to be sure to replace newlines with \n so that the entire SSH key is in one line. For example:


To encrypt your key and add it to your build process, follow the specific tutorials for either build arguments or environment variables using your escaped key.

You will ultimately add the encrypted key to a service with the encrypted_env_file option or the encrypted_args_file option.

For example:

  build: .
    encrypted_args_file: sshkey.args.encrypted


  build: .
  encrypted_env_file: sshkey.env.encrypted

Loading The Key For Use

Before running any command that requires the SSH key to be available, make sure to run the following commands in that container.

These commands will load the SSH key into the required container directory so that is available for use. This will usually happen inside your Dockerfile, although in some cases it may happen with via a script in your codeship-steps.yml file:

mkdir -p "$HOME/.ssh"
echo -e $PRIVATE_SSH_KEY >> $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa

Note that $PRIVATE_SSH_KEY will change depending on what you have specifically named your build argument or environment variable.

Deploying Your Code

Now you will need to connect VIA SSH and deploy you code. This is accomplished via standard SSH commands set up as steps in your codeship-steps.yml file.

- service: ssh
  command: scp -rp .

Note that the service references on the step will be whatever service you have set your key up in via your codeship-services.yml file.

Also note that you may run your SSH commands separately, as individual steps, or you may group them together as a single script that you call:

- service: ssh

Common Problems

Authentication Failure

If your SSH authentication commands are failing, there are several troubleshooting steps to take.

  • First, try connecting using that key locally to verify the key and the corresponding public key are configured and working as intended.

  • Next, try running your deployments locally with the local to see if you recieve the same error messages.

  • Often times these issues are related to character escaping or issues loading the key into the proper directory, so running printenv and ls commands will help you verify that the correct key has been loaded and that it is where you want it to be.