Sharing Git credentials with your container

The Dev Containers extension provides out of the box support for using local Git credentials from inside a container. In this section, we'll walk through the two supported options.

If you do not have your user name or email address set up locally, you may be prompted to do so. You can do this on your local machine by running the following commands:

git config --global "Your Name"
git config --global ""

The extension will automatically copy your local .gitconfig file into the container on startup so you should not need to do this in the container itself.

Using a credential helper

If you use HTTPS to clone your repositories and have a credential helper configured in your local OS, no further setup is required. Credentials you've entered locally will be reused in the container and vice versa.

Using SSH keys

There are some cases when you may be cloning your repository using SSH keys instead of a credential helper. To enable this scenario, the extension will automatically forward your local SSH agent if one is running.

You can add your local SSH keys to the agent if it is running by using the ssh-add command. For example, run this from a terminal or PowerShell:

ssh-add $HOME/.ssh/github_rsa

On Windows and Linux, you may get an error because the agent is not running (macOS typically has it running by default). Follow these steps to resolve the problem:


Start a local Administrator PowerShell and run the following commands:

# Make sure you're running as an Administrator
Set-Service ssh-agent -StartupType Automatic
Start-Service ssh-agent
Get-Service ssh-agent


First, start the SSH Agent in the background by running the following in a terminal:

eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"

Then add these lines to your ~/.bash_profile or ~/.zprofile (for Zsh) so it starts on login:

if [ -z "$SSH_AUTH_SOCK" ]; then
   # Check for a currently running instance of the agent
   RUNNING_AGENT="`ps -ax | grep 'ssh-agent -s' | grep -v grep | wc -l | tr -d '[:space:]'`"
   if [ "$RUNNING_AGENT" = "0" ]; then
        # Launch a new instance of the agent
        ssh-agent -s &> $HOME/.ssh/ssh-agent
   eval `cat $HOME/.ssh/ssh-agent`

If you encounter any issues, you may want to check the Dev Containers extension's known limitations.

Sharing GPG Keys

If you want to GPG sign your commits, you can share your local keys with your container as well. You can find out about signing using a GPG key in GitHub's documentation.

If you do not have GPG set up, you can configure it for your platform:

  • On Windows, you can install Gpg4win.
  • On macOS, you can install GPG Tools.
  • On Linux, locally install the gnupg2 package using your system's package manager.
  • On WSL:
    • Install Gpg4win on the Windows side.
    • Install gpg in your WSL distro. sudo apt install gpg
    • Register a pinentry GUI in your WSL distro. echo pinentry-program /mnt/c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Gpg4win/bin/pinentry.exe > ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf
    • Reload the gpg agent in WSL. gpg-connect-agent reloadagent /bye

Note: For Windows user, the gpg signing key must be configured using the Windows GUI or CLI (powershell/cmd) and not in Git Bash. A Dev Container can't access the gpg keys set in Git Bash even though it is in your ~/.gnupg/ folder, accessible in the Windows Explorer.

Next, install gnupg2 in your container by updating your Dockerfile.

For example:

RUN apt-get update && apt-get install gnupg2 -y

Or if running as a non-root user:

RUN sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnupg2 -y

To apply your configuration changes, you need to rebuild the container. You can do this by running Dev Containers: Rebuild Container from the Command Palette (F1). The next time the container starts, your GPG keys should be accessible inside the container as well.

Note: If you used gpg previously in the container, you may need to run Dev Containers: Rebuild Container for the update to take effect.