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Template project for using bedrock with Pantheon (with CircleCI)
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Bedrock template project for Pantheon (CircleCI)

This is a project template for using bedrock with Pantheon. This project shows you how to use bedrock on Pantheon with CircleCI handling continuous deployment.

Creating a project

To create a new project, just use the following command:

$ composer create-project carlalexander/bedrock-pantheon-circleci

You'll then need to update the environment variables in your project's .env file. You can read about all the Bedrock environment variables in the Bedrock documentation.


By itself, the project template only has the code and configuration files required to work on the Pantheon and CircleCI platforms. Both platforms require some additional configuration for the continuous deployment workflow to work.

Configuring SSH

The first thing that you'll need to do is to grant CircleCI SSH access to your account. To do that, you should create a special SSH key just for CircleCI. Start by running this command in your project directory:

$ ssh-keygen -m pem -C "circleci"

This command will create two files, id_rsa and, in your project directory. You'll use these two files to configure CircleCI and Pantheon.

Important: Do not commit the id_rsa and files into your project.


First, we're going to configure CircleCI. In the CircleCI application, go to your bedrock project’s settings by clicking the gear icon next to your project.

Project settings

There, you want to go to the SSH Permissions screen. You then want to click on the Add SSH Key button. This will open a modal window where you can enter the SSH key that you want to add to your CircleCI project. The modal has two fields: Hostname and Private Key.

SSH key modal window

For the Hostname, you want enter This will limit the SSH key use to only Pantheon servers. If you leave it empty, the SSH key will be used for all SSH connections which we don't want.

The Private Key is the content of the id_rsa file that we created with the ssh-keygen command. The content of the id_rsa file will always start with: -----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----. Once you've filled the two form fields, you want to click on Add SSH Key button to add the SSH key.

SSH keys screen

You should then see it appear in the list of SSH keys.


Next, you need to add the SSH key to your Pantheon account. From the dashboard, you want to go to the account page by clicking the Account tab.

Account tab

There you want to go to the SSH Keys section and fill the Add an SSH Key form. For this form, you want to copy the public key instead of the private key. You can find it in the file.

Add an SSH key form

The beginning of the file will always start with ssh-rsa. If you use the -C "circleci" option with the ssh-keygen command, the file will end with circleci. Once you've copied the content of the file, you want to click on Add Key.

SSH keys screen

You should then see it appear in the list of SSH keys.

Creating the initial .env file

Unlike a standard WordPress site, a Bedrock site uses environment variables to manage sensitive credentials. These environment variables can come from different sources. The most important one being .env file which Bedrock uses instead of the standard WordPress wp-config.php file.

Pantheon won't create the initial .env file that your Bedrock site needs. You're going to have to create it yourself and upload it to the Pantheon server. To easiest way to do that is by connecting to your Pantheon server using FTP and creating the .env file.

Connection Info

To connect to your Pantheon site using FTP, go to your site admin panel in the Pantheon dashboard. There, you'll see a Connection Info button to the right as shown above. This will open a menu with all the credentials used to connect to your Pantheon site.

SFTP credentials

You'll find the SFTP credentials at the bottom. Use these SFTP credentials to connect to your Pantheon site. Once connected, you want to go to the files directory and create the private directory. You want to create your .env file in the private directory that you just created with the following:


# Generate your keys here:

It's important that you replace all the keys with new ones that were generated here. You'll also notice that this is a more trimmed down .env file than what you're used to see with Bedrock. That's because Pantheon supplies a lot of the environment variables that we'd store in the .env file normally.

CircleCI environment variables

For the CircleCI Pantheon deployment script to work, we need to configure some project specific environment variables. To do that, you're going to have to go back to your project's setting in CircleCI. You can access them by clicking on the gear icon.

Environment Variables screen

There, you want to navigate to the Environment Variables screen. Next, you'll need to add specific environment variables. The following sections will explain how to get the value for each environment variable.


The TERMINUS_SITE environment variable is the name of the site that we're deploying on the Pantheon platform. The easiest way to get that value is by going to your site on the Pantheon. In the admin panel, you want to click to visit the development version of the site.

Development site button

The URL for the development version of the site should look something like The xxxxxxx is the name of site on the Pantheon platform. You need to use that as the value of your TERMINUS_SITE environment variable.



The TERMINUS_TOKEN environment variable is the token used by terminus to authenticate with the Pantheon platform. You create it by going to the Machine Tokens section in the Account tab of the Pantheon dashboard. You then want to click on Create token to create your machine token.

Create new token page

You'll need to give a name to identify your machine token. Once that's done, you want to click on Generate token. This will generate the token and bring a modal.

Generate token modal

Pantheon will only show you the machine token once. You can save it somewhere if you need to. Otherwise, just head over to your project's settings in CircleCI and add the machine token as the value of your TERMINUS_TOKEN environment variable.


GITHUB_TOKEN (optional)

The deployment script will create multidev environments whenever CircleCI is running for a pull request. These multidev environments won't get cleaned up once the pull request gets merged. For that, you need to allow terminus to connect to your GitHub account.

To do that, you need to add the GITHUB_TOKEN environment variable. The value of the GITHUB_TOKEN environment variable comes from creating a personal access token on GitHub. You can find a guide explaining how to create one here.

GitHub personal token

Once created, GitHub will only show your personal token once. You can save it somewhere if you want. Otherwise, just head over to your project's settings in CircleCI and add the machine token as the value of your GITHUB_TOKEN environment variable.



Thanks to the Roots team for creating and maintaining the Bedrock project. Also thanks to Andrew Taylor for his repo showing how to have advanced deployment workflow with WordPress and Pantheon.

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