Authentication overview

Azure DevOps Services | Azure DevOps Server 2020 | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 - TFS 2015

Choose a method to securely access the code in Azure Repos, Azure DevOps Server 2019, or Team Foundation Server (TFS) Git repositories. Use these credentials with Git at a command prompt. These credentials also work with any Git client that supports HTTPS or SSH authentication. Limit the scope of access and revoke these credentials when they're no longer needed.

Important

Azure DevOps no longer supports Alternate Credentials authentication since the beginning of March 2, 2020. If you're still using Alternate Credentials, we strongly encourage you to switch to a more secure authentication method (for example, personal access tokens). Learn more.

Azure DevOps Server was formerly named Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.

Tip

Using Visual Studio? Team Explorer handles authentication with Azure Repos for you.

Authentication comparison

Authentication Type When to use Secure? Ease of setup Additional tools
Personal access tokens You need an easy to configure credential or need configurable access controls Very secure (when using HTTPS) Easy Optional (Git credential managers)
SSH You already have SSH keys set up, or are on macOS or Linux Very secure Intermediate Windows users will need the SSH tools included with Git for Windows

Personal access tokens

Personal access tokens (PATs) give you access to Azure DevOps and Team Foundation Server (TFS), without using your username and password directly. These tokens have an expiration date from when they're created. You can restrict the scope of the data they can access. Use PATs to authenticate if you don't already have SSH keys set up on your system or if you need to restrict the permissions that are granted by the credential.

Use Git Credential Manager to generate tokens

Git credential managers is an optional tool that makes it easy to create PATs when you're working with Azure Repos. Sign in to the web portal, generate a token, and then use the token as your password when you're connecting to Azure Repos.

PATs are generated on demand when you have the credential manager installed. The credential manager creates the token in Azure DevOps and saves it locally for use with the Git command line or other client.

Note

Current versions of Git for Windows include the Git credential manager as an optional feature during installation.

Select Enable Git Credential Manager during Git for Windows install

SSH key authentication

Key authentication with SSH works through a public and private key pair that you create on your computer. You associate the public key with your username from the web. Azure DevOps will encrypt the data sent to you with that key when you work with Git. You decrypt the data on your computer with the private key, which is never shared or sent over the network.

Animated GIF showing adding of a SSH public key to Azure DevOps

SSH is a great option if you've already got it set up on your system—just add a public key to Azure DevOps and clone your repos using SSH. If you don't have SSH set up on your computer, you should use PATs and HTTPS instead - it's secure and easier to set up.

Learn more about setting up SSH with Azure DevOps

OAuth

Use OAuth to generate tokens for accessing REST APIs. The Accounts and Profiles APIs support only OAuth.