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How to manage secrets in Travis CI

This guide shows you how you can use SecretHub for your pipeline secrets. You’ll be able to define the required secrets in the .travis.yml.

Before you begin

To follow along, you will need to:

Step 1: Write your secrets

If you haven’t done so already, store your secrets on SecretHub. You can use the following commands to get everything set up:

In the examples we’ll be using two AWS secrets: company/app/aws/access_key_id and company/app/aws/secret_access_key, but the same principle applies to all secrets.

Step 2: Set up your Travis CI configuration

To configure your Travis CI pipeline add a file named .travis.yml to your repository, similar to this one:

language: node_js
node_js:
  - 7

before_install:
  - echo "deb [trusted=yes] https://apt.secrethub.io stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/secrethub.sources.list
  - sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y secrethub-cli

env:
  - AWS_REGION="us-east-1"
  - AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID="secrethub://company/app/aws/access_key_id"
  - AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY="secrethub://company/app/aws/secret_access_key"

script:
  - secrethub run -- ./deploy.sh

There are three things to note here: Fist of all, AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY are set to reference the path at which they’re on SecretHub.

Futhermore, in the before_install the SecretHub CLI is installed. The CLI will be used later to provision the secrets. Alternatively, you can include the installation in the docker image on which the job runs, to save one step every time your job is executed.

The last thing to note is that the command that requires the secrets, ./deploy.sh in this case, is wrapped in secrethub run --. run replaces the secret references in the environment of the subcommand with the secret values.

For jobs that you’d like to be able to run locally as well (e.g. your tests), consider using environment files. They’re also a good fit if you have secrets for multiple environments, as they support templating.

Step 4: Create a SecretHub service account

SecretHub uses service accounts to grant non-human parties (such as CIs) access to secrets.

To create a service account, run the secrethub service init command:

secrethub service init --permission read company/app

This command will output the generated account credential. Make sure to copy it as it will be needed in the next step.

The --permission read flag will grant the service read access to the specified repo.

Note that you can use the --clip flag to write the output of the command to your clipboard:

secrethub service init --clip --permission read company/app

Step 5: Provide the credential to Travis CI

  1. Log in to the Travis CI web interface and navigate to your repository
  2. Choose “Settings” from the “More options” menu
    Choose settings from the More Options menu
  3. Scroll to the “Environment Variables” section
  4. Set the variable name to SECRETHUB_CREDENTIAL and the value to the key generated in the previous step. Make sure that DISPLAY VALUE IN BUILD LOG is unchecked and click Add.
    Choose settings from the More Options menu

You have successfully configured your Travis CI pipeline to fetch secrets from SecretHub. Moreover, you can now rotate your secrets and the pipeline will automatically use their latest version.

See also

Happy coding!