Other Git servers

If your Git server isn't an integrated repository provider, then you can trigger builds using Git hook scripts and the Buildkite REST API.

This guide explains how to trigger builds when you push to a Git server. For example, if you're using a proprietary Git server, then you can trigger builds on push with a post-recieve hook. This method can be adapted for other Git events or for running Buildkite builds from arbitrary scripts and services.

Before you start

To follow along with the steps in this guide, you need the following:

  • An API access token

  • The ability to run server-side Git hooks

    If your Git server is hosted on a platform that restricts or prohibits running arbitrary scripts, such as GitHub, then this approach won't work.

  • Familiarity with the concepts of executable shell scripts, Buildkite pipelines and builds, and REST APIs

Git hooks at a glance

Git runs hooks — specially named executables — at certain Git lifecycle events, such as before a commit or after a push.

Git runs executables found in:

  • The hooks directory of a bare repository (more common on servers)
  • The .git/hooks directory of a repository with a worktree (less common on servers)
  • A directory set by the core.hooksPath configuration variable

For example, after a push to the bare repository at the path /repos/demo-repo/, Git checks for the existence of an executable file /repos/demo-repo/hooks/post-receive. If it exists, it runs the file with arguments containing details about the push.

The post-recieve hook is a convenient place to trigger builds using the Buildkite REST API.

Step 1: Create a pipeline

If you haven't already, create a pipeline to run for the repository.

After you've created the pipeline, make a note of the organization slug and pipeline slug in the pipeline URL. You need both for the next step. For example, in the pipeline settings URL https://buildkite.com/example-org/git-pipeline-demo/settings, example-org and git-pipeline-demo are the organization and pipeline slugs, respectively.

Step 2: Create a Git hook to react to pushes

On your Git server, create a post-receive hook script in your repository's hooks directory that calls the Buildkite REST API's Create a build endpoint.

For example, in a bare repository, create a file named hooks/post-receive with the following contents:

#!/usr/bin/env bash


  "commit": "%s",
  "branch": "%s",
  "message": "%s",
  "author": { "name": "%s", "email": "%s" }

while read -r _oldrev newrev ref; do
  branch=$(git rev-parse --abbrev-ref "$ref")
  author=$(git log -1 HEAD --format="format:%an")
  email=$(git log -1 HEAD --format="format:%ae")
  message=$(git log -1 HEAD --format="format:%B")

  curl -X POST \
    "https://api.buildkite.com/v2/organizations/$BUILDKITE_ORG_SLUG/pipelines/$BUILDKITE_PIPELINE_SLUG/builds" \
    -H "Authorization: Bearer $BUILDKITE_API_TOKEN" \
    -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
    -d "$(printf "$BUILDKITE_PAYLOAD_FORMAT" "$newrev" "$branch" "$message" "$author" "$email")"

To use this script:

  • Set the BUILDKITE_API_TOKEN environment variable to an API access token.

    The token is a privileged secret. A best practice for secret storage is to use your own secrets storage service, such as AWS Secrets Manager or Hashicorp Vault.

  • Set a valid BUILDKITE_ORG_SLUG and BUILDKITE_PIPELINE_SLUG, or replace them with environment variables.

  • Make the file executable (for example, in the hooks directory, run chmod +x post-receive).

You can also adapt this script for your application. For example, you can modify it to selectively trigger builds for certain branches, trigger multiple builds, save log output, or to respond to other Git events.

Step 3: Test the hook

To test the hook, push to the Git server.

If you've configured your hook successfully, a new build is scheduled for the specified pipeline.

Learn more