I'm trying to do a git clone trough a bash script, but the first time that I run the script and the server is not known yet the script fails. I have something like this:

yes | git clone [email protected]:repo/repoo.git
The authenticity of host 'github.com (' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is 16:27:ac:a5:76:28:2d:36:63:1b:56:4d:eb:df:a6:48.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? 

But it's ignoring the yes. Do you know how to force git clone to add the key to the known hosts?

  • What about echo yes | git clone [email protected]:repo/repoo.git?
    – asfallows
    Aug 16, 2011 at 20:33
  • 3
    @asfallows, @Rafael: echo yes is not a good approach: the second time you run the command, ssh won't ask if you want to continue because the server key will already be known. Aug 16, 2011 at 23:27
  • Perhaps check whether the repo you're trying to connect to has an entry in known_hosts or not (using grep) and if not then do the echo Y step. Aug 16, 2021 at 0:25

5 Answers 5


Add the following to your ~/.ssh/config file:

Host github.com
    StrictHostKeyChecking no

Anything using the open-ssh client to establish a remote shell (with the git client does) should skip the key checks to github.com.

This is actually a bad idea since any form of skipping the checks (whether you automatically hit yes or skip the check in the first place) creates room for a man in the middle security compromise. A better way would be to retrieve and validate the fingerprint and store it in the known_hosts file before needing to run some script that automatically connects.

  • 2
    With a strong preference to retrieve and validate the fingerprint and store it in the known_hosts file before. Aug 16, 2011 at 23:27
  • 1
    Thanks a lot for your answer, I ended up following the approach of adding the finger print in the known_hosts. It's like more secure :)
    – Rafael
    Aug 19, 2011 at 0:08
  • Oh I'm using puppet to do this. If someone is interested in using it here is the recipe: gist.github.com/1155725
    – Rafael
    Aug 19, 2011 at 0:49
  • I read this post. After modifying the ~/.ssh/config file, sudo chmod 400 ~/.ssh/config is required, isnt it?
    – Hobin C.
    Feb 1, 2021 at 7:23
  • @HobinC. If you create the file from scratch, yes you need to make sure the privs on it are locked down, chmod 400 is good. The ~./ssh dir needs to be somewhat limited as well.
    – Caleb
    Feb 1, 2021 at 17:41

yes outputs y. RSA key acceptance needs yes. You could try yes yes | git clone [email protected]:repo/repoo.git so yes outputs yes instead of y.

  • 6
    For some reason, that didn't work with git clone, for me.
    – Matt V.
    Dec 15, 2011 at 23:17
  • 1
    Neither it worked for me. Also echo "yes" | ... doesn't. I think git doesn't accept piping. Maybe only in some version?
    – udondan
    Feb 16, 2015 at 10:19

Running ssh-keyscan -H github.com >> ~/.ssh/known_hosts before cloning will add the key and prevent the prompt from appearing.

Of course this approach is also vulnerable to a MITM attack.


Run the command below (change root with your user):

ssh-keyscan -t rsa github.com >> /root/.ssh/known_hosts

I used this script:
with the first IF check if the file /root/.ssh/known_hosts exists, if it no exist (else), I create it and save the key. If file exist check the key for github.com was added, if no add it. Remember to change root with your user if you use a different.

if [ -f "/root/.ssh/known_hosts" ]; then
  if [ ! -n "$(grep "^github.com" /root/.ssh/known_hosts)" ]; then
    ssh-keyscan -t rsa github.com >> /root/.ssh/known_hosts 2>/dev/null;
  ssh-keyscan -t rsa github.com >> /root/.ssh/known_hosts 2>/dev/null;

I've run into this issue before. Albeit it was on a Windows machine but we needed to use ssh to connect to a remote host. We ran into the same problem that the first connect always failed because it wouldn't recognize the keys.

I solved it by connecting manually and finding the registry key and importing it at the beginning of the script. In Linux it should be the same general idea: you want to add this server to a list of trusted hosts so that ssh won't ask you if you trust him every time.

Once you connect manually, find the key file and add it to your known_hosts file. This way ssh will look over that file, assume you know what you're doing and proceed without asking you about the fingerprint.

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