Set up Keybase.io, GPG & Git to sign commits on GitHub
This is a step-by-step guide on how to create a GPG key on keybase.io, adding it to a local GPG setup and use it with Git and GitHub.
Although this guide was written for macOS, most commands should work in other operating systems as well.
There's a Discussion on Hacker News.
$ brew install gpg $ brew cask install keybase
You should already have an account with Keybase and be signed in locally using
$ keybase login. In case you need to set up a new device first, follow the instructions provided by the keybase command during login.
Make sure your local version of Git is at least 2.0 (
$ git --version) to automatically sign all your commits. If that's not the case, use Homebrew to install the latest Git version:
$ brew install git.
Create a new GPG key on keybase.io
$ keybase pgp gen --multi # Enter your real name, which will be publicly visible in your new key: Patrick Stadler # Enter a public email address for your key: email@example.com # Enter another email address (or <enter> when done): # Push an encrypted copy of your new secret key to the Keybase.io server? [Y/n] Y # ▶ INFO PGP User ID: Patrick Stadler <firstname.lastname@example.org> [primary] # ▶ INFO Generating primary key (4096 bits) # ▶ INFO Generating encryption subkey (4096 bits) # ▶ INFO Generated new PGP key: # ▶ INFO user: Patrick Stadler <email@example.com> # ▶ INFO 4096-bit RSA key, ID CB86A866E870EE00, created 2016-04-06 # ▶ INFO Exported new key to the local GPG keychain
Set up Git to sign all commits
$ gpg --list-secret-keys --keyid-format LONG # /Users/pstadler/.gnupg/secring.gpg # ---------------------------------- # sec 4096R/E870EE00 2016-04-06 [expires: 2032-04-02] # uid Patrick Stadler <firstname.lastname@example.org> # ssb 4096R/F9E3E72E 2016-04-06 $ git config --global user.signingkey E870EE00 $ git config --global commit.gpgsign true
Add public GPG key to GitHub
$ open https://github.com/settings/keys # Click "New GPG key" # We can then use `export` with the `-q` or query flag to match on our key (the first 16 characters should do..) $ keybase pgp export -q CB86A866E870EE00 | pbcopy # copy public key to clipboard # Paste key, save
Import key to GPG on another host
$ keybase pgp export # ▶ WARNING Found several matches: # user: Patrick Stadler <email@example.com> # 4096-bit RSA key, ID CB86A866E870EE00, created 2016-04-06 # user: keybase.io/ps <firstname.lastname@example.org> # 4096-bit RSA key, ID 31DBBB1F6949DA68, created 2014-03-26 $ keybase pgp export -q CB86A866E870EE00 | gpg --import $ keybase pgp export -q CB86A866E870EE00 --secret | gpg --allow-secret-key-import --import
gpg failed to sign the data
If you cannot sign a commit after running through the above steps, and have an error like:
$ git commit -m "My commit" # error: gpg failed to sign the data # fatal: failed to write commit object
You can run
echo "test" | gpg --clearsign to find the underlying issue.
If the above succeeds without error, then there is likely a configuration problem that is preventing git from selecting or using the secret key. Confirm that your gitconfig
user.email matches the secret key that you are using for signing.
Optional: Set as default GPG key
$ $EDITOR ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf # Add line: default-key E870EE00
Optional: Fix for Git UIs
If you use a UI such as Git Tower or Github Desktop, you may need to configure git to point to the specific gpg executable:
git config --global gpg.program $(which gpg)
Optional: Disable TTY
If you have problems with making autosigned commits from IDE or other software add no-tty config
$ $EDITOR ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf # Add line: no-tty
Optional: Setting up TTY
Depending on your personal setup, you might need to define the tty for gpg
whenever your passphrase is prompted. Otherwise, you might encounter an
Inappropriate ioctl for device error.
$ $EDITOR ~/.profile # or other file that is sourced every time # Paste these lines GPG_TTY=$(tty) export GPG_TTY