Git: How to solve Permission denied (publickey) error when using Git?

I'm on Mac Snow Leopard and I just installed git.

I just tried

git clone [email protected]:cakebook.git

but that gives me this error:

Initialized empty Git repository in `/Users/username/Documents/cakebook/.git/`
Permission denied (publickey).
fatal: The remote end hung up unexpectedly

What am I missing?
I've also tried doing ssh-keygen with no passphase but still same error.


  • If the user has not generated a ssh public/private key pair set before

    This info is working on theChaw but can be applied to all other git repositories which support SSH pubkey authentications. (See [gitolite][1], gitlab or github for example.)

    First start by setting up your own public/private key pair set. This can use either DSA or RSA, so basically any key you setup will work. On most systems you can use ssh-keygen.

    • First you'll want to cd into your .ssh directory. Open up the terminal and run:

    cd ~/.ssh && ssh-keygen

    • Next you need to copy this to your clipboard.
    • On OS X run: cat | pbcopy
    • On Linux run: cat | xclip
    • On Windows (via Cygwin/Git Bash) run: cat | clip
    • On Windows (Powershell) run: Get-Content | Set-Clipboard (Thx to @orion elenzil)
    • Add your key to your account via the website.
    • Finally setup your .gitconfig.
    • git config --global "bob"
    • git config --global bob@... (don't forget to restart your command line to make sure the config is reloaded)

    That's it you should be good to clone and checkout.

    Further information can be found at (thanks to @Lee Whitney) [1]:


    If the user has generated a ssh public/private key pair set before

    • check which key have been authorized on your github or gitlab account settings
    • determine which corresponding private key must be associated from your local computer

    eval $(ssh-agent -s)

    • define where the keys are located

    ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa