Configure GitHub authentication - AWS CodePipeline

Configure GitHub authentication

CodePipeline uses GitHub OAuth tokens and personal access tokens to access your GitHub repositories and retrieve the latest changes. There are two ways to configure authentication in GitHub:

  • AWS creates a default AWS managed OAuth token when you use the console to create or update pipelines.

  • You can create and manage your own customer-generated personal access tokens. You need personal access tokens when you use the CLI, SDK, or AWS CloudFormation to create or update your pipeline.

View your authorized OAuth apps

CodePipeline uses OAuth tokens to integrate with GitHub. GitHub tracks the permissions of the OAuth token for CodePipeline.

To view your authorized integrations in GitHub

  1. In GitHub, from the drop-down option on your profile photo, choose Settings.

  2. Choose Applications, and then choose Authorized OAuth Apps.

  3. Review your authorized apps.

                                Review authorized apps in GitHub.

Use GitHub and the CodePipeline CLI to create and rotate your GitHub personal access token on a regular basis

The advantage of using tokens instead of passwords in a script is that tokens can be revoked or rotated. You can also grant specific privileges and permissions to a personal access token. Tokens should be stored securely and rotated or regenerated routinely. Token rotation is recommended by RFC-6819 (OAuth 2.0 Threat Model and Security Considerations), section

For more information, see Creating a personal access token for the command line on the GitHub website.

After you have regenerated a new personal access token, you can rotate it by using the AWS CLI or API or by using AWS CloudFormation and calling UpdatePipeline.


You might have to update other applications if they are using the same personal access token. As a security best practice, do not share a single token across multiple applications. Create a new personal access token for each application.

Use these steps to rotate your GitHub personal access token and then update the pipeline structure with the new token.


After you rotate your personal access token, remember to update any AWS CLI scripts or AWS CloudFormation templates that contain the old token information.

  1. In GitHub, from the drop-down option on your profile photo, choose Settings.

  2. Choose Developer settings, and then choose Personal access tokens.

  3. Next to your GitHub personal access token, choose Edit.

                                Edit the personal access token.
  4. Choose Regenerate token.

                                Edit the personal access token by regenerating it.
  5. Next to the regenerated token, choose the copy icon.

                                Copy the rotated token.
  6. At a terminal (Linux, macOS, or Unix) or command prompt (Windows), run the get-pipeline command on the pipeline where you want to change the personal access token, and then copy the output of the command to a JSON file. For example, for a pipeline named MyFirstPipeline, you would type something similar to the following:

    aws codepipeline get-pipeline --name MyFirstPipeline >pipeline.json

    The output of the command is sent to the pipeline.json file.

  7. Open the file in a plain-text editor and edit the value in the OAuthTokenField of your GitHub action.

    When you use the AWS CLI to create the pipeline, you can pass your GitHub personal access token in this field. Replace the asterisks (****) with the token you copied from GitHub. When you run get-pipeline to view the action configuration, the four-asterisk mask is displayed for this value. For example, for a personal access token with the value 111222333444555666777888EXAMPLE:

    "configuration": { "Owner": "MyGitHubUserName", "Repo": "test-repo", "Branch": "master", "OAuthToken": "111222333444555666777888EXAMPLE" }

    When you use an AWS CloudFormation template to update the pipeline, you must first store the token as a secret in AWS Secrets Manager. You include the value for this field as a dynamic reference to the stored secret in Secrets Manager. For an example, see GitHub.

  8. If you are working with the pipeline structure retrieved using the get-pipeline command, you must modify the structure in the JSON file by removing the metadata lines from the file. Otherwise, the update-pipeline command cannot use it. Remove the section from the pipeline structure in the JSON file (the "metadata": { } lines and the "created", "pipelineARN", and "updated" fields).

    For example, remove the following lines from the structure:

    "metadata": { "pipelineArn": "arn:aws:codepipeline:region:account-ID:pipeline-name", "created": "date", "updated": "date" }
  9. Save the file, and then run update-pipeline with the --cli-input-json parameter to specify the JSON file you just edited. For example, to update a pipeline named MyFirstPipeline, you would type something similar to the following:


    Be sure to include file:// before the file name. It is required in this command.

    aws codepipeline update-pipeline --cli-input-json file://pipeline.json
  10. When you have finished updating your pipelines, delete the JSON files.

For more information, see Pipeline error: I receive a pipeline error that says: "Could not access the GitHub repository" or "Unable to connect to the GitHub repository".