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Deployment via git and Bitbucket

Every time I have a new project that needs to be deployed via git I forget how I did the previous time, this article is a guide on how to deploy bia git using bitbucket.

First steps

  1. We have installed a repo on bitbucket and comitted some files, the repo ssh address should be like
  2. We have ssh access with sudo privileges to the live server we are going to deploy to
  3. We are at the root directory of the server ~

Generating ssh keys

We'll generate ssh keys for our user account and the www-data account to allow both to perform a git pull command.

ssh-keygen -t rsa
  1. Keep the default file path /root/.ssh/id_rsa
  2. keep the passphrase blank
  3. If there's a key already you may rewrite it if you want

Now bring the newly created key by running:

cat ~/.ssh/

Copy the key and keep it aside.

Now we need to generate a key for the www-data user, which is user used by nginx to access the server.

# First we move to /var/www and create a .ssh directory
cd /var/www
mkdir .ssh

# Now we'll create the ssh key inside this directory
ssh-keygen -t rsa

This time the key will be generated in /var/www/.ssh/id_rsa, now copy the key like the previous one.

cat ~/../var/www/.ssh/

# We need to give www-data write permissions over the generated key pair
chgrp www-data ~/../var/www/.ssh/ ~/../var/www/.ssh/id_rsa

# Now we give the group a write access
chmod 660 ~/../var/www/.ssh/ ~/../var/www/.ssh/id_rsa

Now that we have the two ssh public keys let's add them to Bitbucket.


If you created keys with anything other than id_rsa you'll need to add them to your ssh-agent

eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"
ssh-add ~/path/to/custom_key

Adding deployment keys to bitbucket

  1. Browser to the repository settings, select the Deployment Keys tab.
  2. Add a new key and call it Human User and paste the first key you generated here.
  3. Create a new key and call it wwwdata User and paste the second key we generated.

Fetching the repository

Now back to your server, head to the directory where you want to clone the repository, here we'll assume it's called cite

cd /site

# Run these commands
git init
git remote add origin[username]/[repo-name].git
git pull origin master

Now you've initialised a git repo and pulled the files from bitbuckedt.

Connecting as www-data

We are at the site directory

sudo -u www-data git remote show origin

You should see something like

* remote origin
Fetch URL:
Push URL:
HEAD branch: master
Remote branch:
master tracked
Local ref configured for 'git push':
master pushes to master (up to date)

Now we know we can pull from the server, however we need to give www-data write access over the .git directory

chgrp -R www-data .git
chmod -R 770 .git

We also need to allow www-data to write files in the project directory

chgrp -R www-data site
chmod -R 770 site

Now we should be able to run

sudo -u www-data git pull origin master

Writing the deploy script

I'm going to write the scrip in php, but you are free to use whatever language you want

On your local machine, inside the project public directory create a deploy.php file with the following content

exec('cd /site/ && git pull origin master');

Commit your changes and then pull from the server to upload the deploy.php file.

Make sure the file is accessable from the browser / deploy.php - for example, try making changes on your local machine, push to the repo, now point your browser to the deploy.php file. The script should be executed and the changes you made should be pulled.

Registering a Hook

Open the repository settings page on bitbucket and head to the Hooks tab.

Add a new POST Hook and write the URL that leads to your deploy.php file.

Now on every new commit, Bitbucket will hit the url you added to the Hook, the script will run, and the changes will reflect on the server immediately.