How to Automate Manual Steps after SSH

Learn how to automate repetitive commands after connecting to a SSH server

Amit Chaudhary


March 31, 2019

I recently worked on a Django web application which was deployed on a Linux Server with SSH access. Deployments were done manually and the CI/CD pipeline was still in planning.

We had to perform these tasks every time to deploy the latest changes.

I found the process repetitive and researched on whether it was possible to automate the commands I need to run after SSHing into the server.

ssh -i "webapp.pem"

Turns out, we can write a shell script to automate the task. ## Step 1: Create a new shell script file with the following content. Modify it to point to your PEM file, username, and IP address.

ssh -i "webapp.pem" << EOF
    echo "Hello World"

The above code prints ‘Hello World’ on the remote server.

Step 2:

You can write any shell commands between the two EOF and it will be run on the remote server. Add the sequence of commands you currently run manually on the server to this script.

For the Django project, I wrote the following commands that pulls the latest code and restarts the services.

ssh -i "webapp.pem" << EOF
cd /var/www/webapp/

echo "Switching to www-data user"
sudo -Hu www-data bash

echo "Pulling Latest Changes"
git pull

echo "Activating Virtual Environment"
source venv/bin/activate

echo "Installing any new libraries"
pip install -r requirements.txt

echo "Migrating Database"
python migrate

echo "Returning back to Ubuntu user"

echo "Restarting Supervisor and Nginx"
sudo service supervisor restart
sudo service nginx restart

echo "Deployment Finished"

Step 3:

Run the below command to change permissions of the script and make it executable.

chmod a+x

Step 4:

Run the script and it will perform all the deployment.


This simple script has saved me a lot of time until the CI/CD process is in place.