[FIXED] [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) – Unveiling the 2023 Solutions to Resolve Your Git Troubles

by Sachin



  • The [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) error usually occurs due to issues with SSH keys and, sometimes, wrong URL formats.
  • Multiple solutions exist to tackle this problem, including checking SSH keys, using HTTPS URLs instead of Git, and contacting support.
  • Implementing these solutions can get your GitHub operations back on track, ensuring smooth project collaborations.
  • If all else fails, contacting GitHub support or using specific software can help resolve the issue.
  • Taking preventive measures like maintaining SSH keys and using correct URL formats can help avoid this problem in the future.

Understanding the [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) Issue

The error message “[email protected]: permission denied (publickey)” is a familiar issue developer face when working with Git, a version control system for tracking changes in computer files and coordinating work on those files among multiple people. This error typically occurs when pushing to or pulling from a GitHub repository.

The root cause of this issue is usually an incorrect configuration of SSH keys. SSH keys serve as a means of identifying yourself to an SSH server using public-key cryptography and challenge-response authentication. When the server cannot identify you, it rejects your request, leading to the permission denied error.

Sometimes, the error may be due to using the wrong URL format when cloning the repository. There are two URL types that you can use for connecting to a GitHub repository – SSH and HTTPS. If you’re using the Git URL instead of the HTTPS URL, it can lead to this problem.

What’s the Ideal Scenario Without the [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) Issue?

In an ideal scenario, when you execute a Git command like git push or git pull, your local Git application communicates with the GitHub server to push your changes or pull the latest changes from the repository. It does this by using your SSH keys to authenticate your identity.

When the authentication is successful, you can freely interact with the repository – push changes, pull updates, and clone repositories without facing the [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) error. It allows smooth collaboration and code management, pivotal for software development.

When Does [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) Error Occur?

The [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) error typically arises when you try to interact with a GitHub repository using Git commands. For instance, when you attempt to push your changes to a remote GitHub repository with the command git go origin main, or when you try to clone a GitHub repository with git clone [email protected]:username/repo.git.

The error might also surface when you’re setting up Git on a new machine and haven’t correctly configured your SSH keys or when you’ve changed your machine or reinstalled the operating system and the SSH keys are different or not configured correctly.

Basic Troubleshooting: Have You Tried These Steps?

Before diving into the deeper solutions, let’s make sure that you’ve tried the following basic troubleshooting steps:

  • Reboot your system. Sometimes, a simple restart can fix minor issues with software configurations.
  • Verify that you have the correct access rights to the repository and that the repository exists.
  • Check your internet connection. A poor or unstable connection can disrupt communications between your local Git application and the GitHub server.

Why It’s Important to Resolve [email protected]: permission denied (publickey)

Resolving the [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) error is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, this error prevents you from pushing your changes to the remote repository, hindering the progress of your project. If you are working in a team, it can disrupt the entire workflow and slow down development.

Secondly, if you cannot pull changes from the repository, you could work with outdated code, leading to conflicts and inconsistencies. Lastly, if you cannot clone repositories, it restricts your ability to work with different projects or contribute to open-source projects.

Practical Solutions to Fix [email protected]: permission denied (publickey)

SOLUTION 1: Check Your SSH Keys

Check Your SSH Keys

One of the most common reasons for this error is that your SSH keys are incorrectly set up. Follow these steps to verify and correct your SSH keys:

  1. Open a terminal and type ls -al ~/.ssh to check if you have existing SSH keys. This command will list all files in your .ssh directory.
  2. If you don’t see files named id_rsa.pub or id_dsa.pub, you need to create new SSH keys. To do this, type ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "[email protected]" in your terminal, then follow the prompts.
  3. Once you have your SSH keys, add them to the ssh-agent. Start the ssh-agent in the background, then add your SSH private key to the ssh-agent with ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa.
  4. Finally, you need to add your SSH key to your GitHub account. Open the file with your public key (id_rsa.pub) In a text editor, copy the contents, then go to GitHub. Navigate to Settings > SSH and GPG keys > New SSH key, paste your key into the “Key” field, add a descriptive title, and click “Add SSH key”.

SOLUTION 2: Use the HTTPS URL Instead of the Git URL

Use the HTTPS URL Instead of the Git URL

Sometimes, cloning a repository can solve this issue using the HTTPS URL instead of the Git URL. Follow these steps to clone a repository using the HTTPS URL:

  1. Navigate to the main page of the repository on GitHub.
  2. Click the green “Code” button.
  3. Make sure “HTTPS” is selected in the dropdown, then click the clipboard icon to copy the URL.
  4. Open a terminal, navigate to the directory where you want to clone the repository, then type git clone and paste the URL. Press enter to clone the repository.

SOLUTION 3: Reach Out to Support


If you’ve tried everything and the error persists, it’s time to contact GitHub support. You can contact them via their contact page and provide them with the details of the issue. Be sure to include the exact error message, the steps you’ve taken to resolve the problem, and any relevant screenshots.

How to Prevent g[email protected]: permission denied (publickey) Error in the Future

To prevent this error in the future, make sure to correctly set up your SSH keys and add them to your GitHub account whenever you set up Git on a new machine. Also, always check if you use the correct URL format when cloning a repository.


Although the [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) error can be frustrating, it’s usually quite simple to resolve. Following the steps outlined in this guide, you should be able to get your GitHub operations back on track in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About [email protected]: permission denied (publickey)

1. What does the [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) error mean?

This error means that GitHub is not accepting your SSH key. This could be due to several reasons, such as the key not being added to your GitHub account, not being associated with your local Git repository, or not being generated.

2. How do I generate a new SSH key?

Open a terminal and type ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "[email protected]", then follow the prompts. This will generate a new SSH key.

3. How do I add my SSH key to my GitHub account?

Open the file with your public key (id_rsa.pub) In a text editor, copy the contents, then go to GitHub. Navigate to Settings > SSH and GPG keys > New SSH key, paste your key into the “Key” field, add a descriptive title, and click “Add SSH key”.

4. Can I use the HTTPS URL instead of the Git URL to clone a repository?

Yes, using the HTTPS URL instead of the Git URL when cloning a repository can sometimes solve the [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) error.

5. What should I do if I still can’t resolve the error?

If you’ve tried all the solutions in this guide and the error persists, it’s time to contact GitHub support. You can contact them via their contact page and provide them with the details of the issue.

By understanding the causes of the [email protected]: permission denied (publickey) error and following the solutions provided, you should be able to resolve this issue and continue your GitHub operations successfully.

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