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Adding an SSH Key to CircleCI

If deploying to your servers requires SSH access, you’ll need to add SSH keys to CircleCI.


There are two reasons to add SSH keys to CircleCI:

  1. To check out code from version control systems.
  2. To enable running processes to access other services.

If you are adding an SSH key for the first reason, refer to the GitHub and Bitbucket Integration document. Otherwise, follow the steps below to add an SSH key to your project.


  1. In the CircleCI application, go to your project’s settings by clicking the gear icon next to your project.

  2. In the Permissions section, click on SSH Permissions.

  3. Click the Add SSH Key button.

  4. In the Hostname field, enter the key’s associated host (for example, “”). If you don’t specify a hostname, the key will be used for all hosts.

  5. In the Private Key field, paste the SSH key you are adding.

  6. Click the Add SSH Key button.

Note: Since CircleCI cannot decrypt SSH keys, every new key must have an empty passphrase. CircleCI also will not accept OpenSSH’s default file format - use ssh-keygen -m pem if you are using OpenSSH to generate your key.

Adding SSH Keys to a Job

Even though all CircleCI jobs use ssh-agent to automatically sign all added SSH keys, you must use the add_ssh_keys key to actually add keys to a container.

To add a set of SSH keys to a container, use the add_ssh_keys special step within the appropriate job in your configuration file.

version: 2
      - add_ssh_keys:
            - "SO:ME:FIN:G:ER:PR:IN:T"

Note: All fingerprints in the fingerprints list must correspond to keys that have been added through the CircleCI application.

See Also

GitHub and Bitbucket Integration