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Using multiple github accounts with ssh keys

Problem

I have two Github accounts: oanhnn (personal) and superman (for work). I want to use both accounts on same computer (without typing password everytime, when doing git push or pull).

Solution

Use ssh keys and define host aliases in ssh config file (each alias for an account).

How to?

  1. Generate ssh key pairs for accounts and add them to GitHub accounts.

  2. Edit/Create ssh config file (~/.ssh/config):

    # Default github account: oanhnn
    Host github.com
       HostName github.com
       IdentityFile ~/.ssh/oanhnn_private_key
       IdentitiesOnly yes
       
    # Other github account: superman
    Host github-superman
       HostName github.com
       IdentityFile ~/.ssh/superman_private_key
       IdentitiesOnly yes
    

    NOTE: If you use any account frequently, you should use the default hostname (github.com).

  3. Add ssh private keys to your agent:

    $ ssh-add ~/.ssh/oanhnn_private_key
    $ ssh-add ~/.ssh/superman_private_key
  4. Test your connection

    $ ssh-keyscan github.com >> ~/.ssh/known_hosts
    $ ssh -T git@github.com
    $ ssh -T git@github-superman

    If everything is OK, you will see these messages:

    Hi oanhnn! You've successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not provide shell access.
    Hi superman! You've successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not provide shell access.
  5. Now all are set, you need remeber

    git@github-superman:org/project.git => user is superman
    git@github.com:org/project.git.     => user is oanhnn
    
  • If you need clone a repository, just do:
$ git clone git@github-superman:org1/project1.git /path/to/project1
$ cd /path/to/project1
$ git config user.email "superman@example.com"
$ git config user.name  "Super Man"
  • If you already have the repo set up, after the ssh config instructions, you need change the URL of origin, just do:
$ cd /path/to/project2
$ git remote set-url origin git@github-superman:org2/project2.git
$ git config user.email "superman@example.com"
$ git config user.name  "Super Man"
  • If you are creating a new repository on local:
$ cd /path/to/project3
$ git init
$ git remote add origin git@github-superman:org3/project3.git
$ git config user.email "superman@example.com"
$ git config user.name  "Super Man"
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "Initial commit"
$ git push -u origin master

Done! Goodluck!

Addon:

The bash script that prompts for your git account. Thank @davorpa

#!/bin/bash

# silent prompt
read -p 'GIT profile: ' profile

# switch
case $profile in
  superman)
    git config user.email "superman@example.com"
    git config user.name "superman" 
    git config user.signingKey "superman_gpg_public_key"
    ;;
  oanhnn)
    git config user.email "oanhnn@example.com"
    git config user.name "oanhnn" 
    git config user.signingKey "oanhnn_gpg_public_key"
    ;;
  # default case: raise error
  *)
    >&2 echo "ERR: Unknown profile: $profile"
    exit 1
esac
@IbroRebronja
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Very useful!

@David7ce
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David7ce commented Apr 2, 2024

Now is fixed. (I had the same Host I misunderstood, and put the same Hostname instead of the same Host.
The Host must be differ.

NOTE: If you use any account frequently, you should use the default hostname (github.com)

I have a problem, I have configured the config and add the pair of SSH keys both locally (to agent) and the remote server (GitHub) to two of my GitHub accounts. The pair of keys works fine independently if only have one pair of keys (moving the other outside), but if I have the two pairs of keys in the ~/.ssh/ the test only show me

ssh -T git@github.com
Hi <other-user> ! You've successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not provide shell access.

Here's is my config, I have two "Host github.com" but this should work fine and I think I have used in the past.

# Default github account: david7ce
Host github.com
   HostName github.com
   User git
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/david7ce

# Second github account: <other-user> 
Host github.com
   HostName github.com
   User git
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/<other-user> 

@IbroRebronja
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IbroRebronja commented Apr 2, 2024

You have two keys for the same door, but they're getting mixed up. Let's label one key for your main account and the other for your second account, so each key knows which door to open.

# Default github account: david7ce
Host github.com
   HostName github.com
   User git
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/david7ce

# Second github account: <other-user> 
Host github-other
   HostName github.com
   User git
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/<other-user>

@David7ce
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David7ce commented Apr 3, 2024

@IbroRebronja yes that was the issue, thanks for explanation

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