Git Authentication

Cargo supports some forms of authentication when using git dependencies and registries. This appendix contains some information for setting up git authentication in a way that works with Cargo.

If you need other authentication methods, the net.git-fetch-with-cli config value can be set to cause Cargo to execute the git executable to handle fetching remote repositories instead of using the built-in support. This can be enabled with the CARGO_NET_GIT_FETCH_WITH_CLI=true environment variable.

HTTPS authentication

HTTPS authentication requires the credential.helper mechanism. There are multiple credential helpers, and you specify the one you want to use in your global git configuration file.

# ~/.gitconfig

helper = store

Cargo does not ask for passwords, so for most helpers you will need to give the helper the initial username/password before running Cargo. One way to do this is to run git clone of the private git repo and enter the username/password.

macOS users may want to consider using the osxkeychain helper.
Windows users may want to consider using the GCM helper.

Note: Windows users will need to make sure that the sh shell is available in your PATH. This typically is available with the Git for Windows installation.

SSH authentication

SSH authentication requires ssh-agent to be running to acquire the SSH key. Make sure the appropriate environment variables are set up (SSH_AUTH_SOCK on most Unix-like systems), and that the correct keys are added (with ssh-add).

Windows can use Pageant (part of PuTTY) or ssh-agent. To use ssh-agent, Cargo needs to use the OpenSSH that is distributed as part of Windows, as Cargo does not support the simulated Unix-domain sockets used by MinGW or Cygwin. More information about installing with Windows can be found at the Microsoft installation documentation and the page on key management has instructions on how to start ssh-agent and to add keys.

Note: Cargo does not support git’s shorthand SSH URLs like Use a full SSH URL like ssh://

Note: SSH configuration files (like OpenSSH’s ~/.ssh/config) are not used by Cargo’s built-in SSH library. More advanced requirements should use net.git-fetch-with-cli.

SSH Known Hosts

When connecting to an SSH host, Cargo must verify the identity of the host using “known hosts”, which are a list of host keys. Cargo can look for these known hosts in OpenSSH-style known_hosts files located in their standard locations (.ssh/known_hosts in your home directory, or /etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts on Unix-like platforms or %PROGRAMDATA%\ssh\ssh_known_hosts on Windows). More information about these files can be found in the sshd man page. Alternatively, keys may be configured in a Cargo configuration file with net.ssh.known-hosts.

When connecting to an SSH host before the known hosts has been configured, Cargo will display an error message instructing you how to add the host key. This also includes a “fingerprint”, which is a smaller hash of the host key, which should be easier to visually verify. The server administrator can get the fingerprint by running ssh-keygen against the public key (for example, ssh-keygen -l -f /etc/ssh/ Well-known sites may publish their fingerprints on the web; for example GitHub posts theirs at

Cargo comes with the host keys for built-in. If those ever change, you can add the new keys to the config or known_hosts file.

Note: Cargo doesn’t support the @cert-authority or @revoked markers in known_hosts files. To make use of this functionality, use net.git-fetch-with-cli. This is also a good tip if Cargo’s SSH client isn’t behaving the way you expect it to.