Remote Server Deployment Using GitHub Actions

June 07, 2022 Kehinde Olawuwo 3 minutes

    This tutorial shows how to deploy any app on a Linux server (e.g. Linode, Digital Ocean e.t.c)


    • Linux Server
    • GitHub Repository

    Step 1 - Setup up SSH on Remote Server

    To achieve this, you need to create an SSH key for GitHub Action. Login to your server.

    Generate SSH by entering ssh-keygen, enter a new name if you have an existing key i.e. .ssh/github_action, continue , and you should get a response like a sample below.

    One final thing here is to cp github_action authorized_keys and then cat

    Step 2 - Setup GitHub Action

    Firstly, on the code repository, click on the Settings tab, click on the Secret -> Action -> New secret for

    • SSH_HOST e.g.
    • SSH_KEY e.g. (github_action)
    • SSH_USERNAME e.g. root (or user of the created SSH)

    Note: Copy the SSH public key i.e. and paste the value for SSH_KEY.

    Click the action tab, then set up a workflow yourself.

    You can give it any name you want, for this article, I will be using deployment.yml

    # This is a basic workflow to help you get started with Actions
    name: CI/CD Deployment to Remote Server
    # Controls when the workflow will run
      # Triggers the workflow on push or pull request events but only for the "main" branch
        branches: [ "main" ]
        branches: [ "main" ]
      # Allows you to run this workflow manually from the Actions tab
    # A workflow run is made up of one or more jobs that can run sequentially or in parallel
      # This workflow contains a single job called "deploy"
        # The type of runner that the job will run on
        runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        # Steps represent a sequence of tasks that will be executed as part of the job
          # Checks out your repository under $GITHUB_WORKSPACE, so your job can access it
          - uses: appleboy/ssh-action@v0.1.2
              host: ${{ secrets.SSH_HOST }}
              key: ${{ secrets.SSH_KEY }}
              username: ${{ secrets.SSH_USERNAME }}
              script_stop: true
              script: |
                cd /var/www/html/
                git pull origin main
                # more command or scripts(shell) here            

    For more documentation on the workflow, check out appleboy/ssh-action

    In a case when you need to run a sudo command on the remote server, add an ENV variable by clicking Settings tab, click on the Secret -> Action -> New secret

    • USER_PASSWORD i.e. your sudo password

    then run the command like this echo $USER_PASSWORD | sudo -S systemctl start nginx

    The -S (stdin) option causes sudo to read the password from the standard input instead of the terminal device.

    Read more here

    - uses: appleboy/ssh-action@v0.1.2
          GO_PASSWORD: ${{ secrets.USER_PASSWORD }}
          MORE_VALUES: "....."
          script: |
                    echo $USER_PASSWORD | sudo -S systemctl start nginx

    Step 3 - Commit and Run the Action

    If the steps above are properly followed, the action should run each time you commit and push to main or merge a PR to main.

    Happy Coding 👨🏾‍💻

    If you find this useful, kindly share and repost. Thank you 😊!