Deployment using Actions

Update the website when certain builds succeed

Goal: Update a web page when a certain branch is updated

  • User commits to the translate branch of the neomutt repo
  • Translation is checked
  • Update website:

Some names have been replaced in the examples below:

Variable Value Description
USER neomutt Name of your user or organisation
SRC_REPO neomutt Name of the source repo
DST_REPO Name of the destination repo
SSH_KEY_NAME travis-deploy-github Descriptive name for your SSH key


Create Identity

Create an SSH key. This will be given write privileges to our GitHub repo.

Note: Do not set a password on this key. It will be encrypted later.

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -f SSH_KEY_NAME
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:
Your identification has been saved in SSH_KEY_NAME.
Your public key has been saved in
The key fingerprint is:
The key's randomart image is:
+---[RSA 4096]----+
|      o.OO=+.    |
|     .o%+**+o    |
|     .*.O*=*.o   |
|     . ++=+.* .  |
|        S..o +   |
|          . .    |
|           .     |
|         ..      |
|      E.+o       |

Give Permissions to Identity

Allow the SSH key to write to one specific repo.

  • Open:
  • Add deploy key
    • Title: “Updates from Travis”
    • Key: “ssh-rsa VERY-LONG-RANDOM-STRING”
    • Tick: “Allow write access”
    • Click: “Add key”

For extra security add branch protection.

  • Open:
  • Protected branches
  • main
    • Protect this branch
    • Save changes

This prevents anyone from doing force-pushes to the repo. If anything goes wrong with the deployment, it can only add commits to the repo (which can be undone).

Set up Travis

To use the SSH key securely, it must be encrypted. This is done using the travis command (a Ruby gem).

First install the “rubygems” package on your machine.

Now, install the travis command line (your output may be different).

gem install travis
gem install travis
Fetching: travis-1.8.8.gem (100%)
Successfully installed travis-1.8.8
Parsing documentation for travis-1.8.8
gnstalling ri documentation for travis-1.8.8
Done installing documentation for travis after 18 seconds
2 gems installed

Encrypt the private part of the SSH key (the part with no suffix).

Note: Save the “openssl” command, it will be used later.

travis encrypt-file -r USER/SRC_REPO SSH_KEY_NAME
storing result as SSH_KEY_NAME.enc
storing secure env variables for decryption

Please add the following to your build script (before_install stage in your .travis.yml, for instance):

    openssl aes-256-cbc -K $encrypted_XXXXXXXXXXXX_key -iv $encrypted_XXXXXXXXXXXX_iv -in SSH_KEY_NAME.enc -out SSH_KEY_NAME -d

Pro Tip: You can add it automatically by running with --add.

Make sure to add SSH_KEY_NAME.enc to the git repository.
Make sure not to add SSH_KEY_NAME to the git repository.
Commit all changes to your .travis.yml.

When Travis encrypts the files, it saves two keys to its server.

See the “Environment Variables”, here:

  • encrypted_XXXXXXXXXXXX_iv
  • encrypted_XXXXXXXXXXXX_key

Our SSH key can only be decrypted in SRC_REPO.

For more information about encryption in Travis, see:

Create Scripts

Now, we need some scripts to do the actual work.

The build environment needs setting up to allow ssh and git to work correctly.

Prepare ssh

Note: It would be better to cache a copy of GitHub’s ssh key fingerprint.

mkdir -p ~/.ssh
echo "Host" >> ~/.ssh/config
echo "        StrictHostKeyChecking no" >> ~/.ssh/config
chmod 600 ~/.ssh/config

Prepare ssh-agent

Decrypt the SSH key and run the ssh-agent. This uses the “openssl” command we saved earlier.

Note: This happens in .travis.yml so that the ssh-agent credentials are visible to other scripts.

openssl aes-256-cbc -K $encrypted_XXXXXXXXXXXX_key -iv $encrypted_XXXXXXXXXXXX_iv -in SSH_KEY_NAME.enc -out SSH_KEY_NAME.pem -d
chmod 0400 SSH_KEY_NAME.pem
eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"
ssh-add SSH_KEY_NAME.pem

Prepare git

Set up out git credentials and clone the destination repo.

Note: We use the “git@” reference for the repo.

git config --global ""
git config --global "John Doe (DEPLOY)"

git clone ~/website

Do the work

This script does the actual work – generate a webpage.

Commit your changes

Finally, commit our changes and push them.


  • We’ve chosen to label the commits “[AUTO]”
  • The commits won’t trigger a link-check of the entire site “[ci skip]”
cd ~/website
git add .
git commit -m "[AUTO] commit message" -m "[ci skip]"
git push origin


Every time a translator makes an update, the leaderboard is updated.

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