git-shell — Restricted login shell for Git-only SSH access


chsh -s $(command -v git-shell) <user>
git clone <user>@localhost:/path/to/repo.git
ssh <user>@localhost


This is a login shell for SSH accounts to provide restricted Git access. It permits execution only of server-side Git commands implementing the pull/push functionality, plus custom commands present in a subdirectory named git-shell-commands in the user’s home directory.


git shell accepts the following commands after the -c option:

git receive-pack <argument>, git upload-pack <argument>, git upload-archive <argument>

Call the corresponding server-side command to support the client’s git push, git fetch, or git archive --remote request.

cvs server

Imitate a CVS server. See git-cvsserver(1).

If a ~/git-shell-commands directory is present, git shell will also handle other, custom commands by running "git-shell-commands/<command> <arguments>" from the user’s home directory.

Interactive Use

By default, the commands above can be executed only with the -c option; the shell is not interactive.

If a ~/git-shell-commands directory is present, git shell can also be run interactively (with no arguments). If a help command is present in the git-shell-commands directory, it is run to provide the user with an overview of allowed actions. Then a "git> " prompt is presented at which one can enter any of the commands from the git-shell-commands directory, or exit to close the connection.

Generally this mode is used as an administrative interface to allow users to list repositories they have access to, create, delete, or rename repositories, or change repository descriptions and permissions.

If a no-interactive-login command exists, then it is run and the interactive shell is aborted.


To disable interactive logins, displaying a greeting instead:

$ chsh -s /usr/bin/git-shell
$ mkdir $HOME/git-shell-commands
$ cat >$HOME/git-shell-commands/no-interactive-login <<\EOF
printf '%s\n' "Hi $USER! You've successfully authenticated, but I do not"
printf '%s\n' "provide interactive shell access."
exit 128
$ chmod +x $HOME/git-shell-commands/no-interactive-login

To enable git-cvsserver access (which should generally have the no-interactive-login example above as a prerequisite, as creating the git-shell-commands directory allows interactive logins):

$ cat >$HOME/git-shell-commands/cvs <<\EOF
if ! test $# = 1 && test "$1" = "server"
        echo >&2 "git-cvsserver only handles \"server\""
        exit 1
exec git cvsserver server
$ chmod +x $HOME/git-shell-commands/cvs

See Also

ssh(1), git-daemon(1), contrib/git-shell-commands/README


Part of the git(1) suite

Referenced By

git(1), git-annex-shell(1), gitcvs-migration(7), giteveryday(7), githooks(5).

11/04/2019 Git 2.24.0 Git Manual