Configuring Bitbucket with AWS Secrets Manager

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AWS Secrets Manager is a service to retrieve credentials through a runtime call, eliminating hard-coded credentials altogether. This type of encryption is especially useful if you want a secure storage option for your database credentials.

AWS Secrets Manager uses AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) for authentication and access control so you don’t need to create tokens or maintain keys with other third parties.

We don’t currently support automated rotating credentials.

To configure Bitbucket to work with AWS Secrets Manager:

  1. Create your secret in AWS Secrets Manager

  2. Check your permissions to retrieve your secret

  3. Authenticate to AWS

  4. Confirm that you can retrieve your secret

  5. Add the secret to the properties file

The following steps will guide you through the process. For additional help with AWS Secrets Manager, visit

Step 1: Create your secret in AWS Secrets Manager

You can create a secret as plaintext or structured text. Creating a plaintext secret is faster and easier than creating a structured secret. 

To see how they differ, check the following example, which shows how each option looks in the AWS console and your code.

Plaintext secret

AWS console showing a plaintext secret with the name mySecretId:


Plaintext secret

How this might appear in your code:


Structured secret

AWS console showing a structured secret with the name mySecretId, which has a secretPointer value of password:

{"password": "mySecretPassword"}

Structured secret

How this might appear in your code:

{"region":"ap-southeast-2","secretId":"mySecretId", "secretPointer": "/password"}

In the example above, the JSON keys include:

JSON keyDescription
regionThe AWS region ID of the secret source.
secretIDThe ID of the secret.
secretPointerA JSON pointer for the secret value (required if your secret value is in a key/value pair structure). Note that this value should be prefixed with a slash (/).

Detailed steps

  1. Ensure you have decided whether to use a plaintext secret or a structured secret (see the content above these steps for further details).

  2. Follow the instructions provided by AWS to create a secret:

Step 2: Check your permissions to retrieve your secret

To retrieve any secrets from AWS Secrets Manager, Bitbucket must have the appropriate AWS permissions, namely:

  • secretsmanager:GetSecretValue

Here is a sample Identity and Access Management (IAM) policy providing appropriate permissions (based on a least privilege model):

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": {
                "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::123456789012:role/MyRole"
            "Action": "secretsmanager:GetSecretValue",
            "Resource": "arn:aws:secretsmanager:us-west-2:123456789012:secret:1a2b3c"

Additional info

Step 3: Authenticate to AWS

Bitbucket uses the AWS SDK for Java 2.x to communicate with AWS Secrets Manager. The SDK will search for credentials in your Bitbucket environment in the predefined sequence below until it can be authenticated.

Amazon EC2 instance profile credentials are recommended by Amazon. If using this option then it is also advisable to use v2 of the Instance Meta Data Service.

  1. Environment variables
  2. Java system properties

    If using Java system properties be aware that these values may be logged by the product on startup.

  3. Web identity token from AWS Security Token Service

  4. The shared credentials and config files (~/.aws/credentials)

  5. Amazon ECS container credentials

  6. Amazon EC2 instance profile credentials (recommended by Amazon)

For information on setting credentials in your environment, Amazon has developer guides on Working with AWS Credentials.

Step 4: Confirm that you can retrieve your secret

Now that a secret has been created, the correct permissions are in place and Bitbucket is appropriately authenticated to AWS, let’s confirm the secret can be retrieved.

Run the following command from your host environment:

aws secretsmanager get-secret-value --secret-id=mySecretId --region=ap-southeast-2

Step 5: Add the secret to

  1. Back up the <home-directory>/shared/ file. Move the backup to a safe place outside of your instance.

  2. In the bitbucket.properies file, add or modify the encrypted-property.cipher.classname property to contain:
  3. In the file, , add or modify the jdbc.password property to contain the coordinates to the secret in AWS Secrets Manager prefixed with {ENC}:

    {ENC}{"region":"ap-southeast-2","secretId":"mySecretId", "secretPointer": "/password"}

    The value is defined as a JSON object with the following values:

    • region (required) the AWS region where the AWS secret is located
    • secretId (required) the name of the secret
    • secretPointer (optional) the key containing the password in a secret with the key-value structure. If omitted, the password is treated as plaintext.
  4. Once updated, should contain:
    jdbc.password={ENC}{"region":"ap-southeast-2","secretId":"mySecretId", "secretPointer": "/password"}
  5. Restart Bitbucket.

Last modified on Oct 13, 2023

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