Use setup keys to run automated deployments and add machines to your network at scale

Setup key is a pre-authentication key that allows to register new machines in your network. It simply associates a machine with an account on a first run.

The setup key can be provided as a parameter to the netbird up command. This makes it possible to run automated deployments with infrastructure-as-code software like Ansible, Cloudformation or Terraform.

Starting NetBird Client

sudo netbird up --setup-key <SETUP KEY>

Types of Setup Keys

There are 2 types of setup keys:

  • One-off key. This type of key can be used only once to authenticate a machine.
  • Reusable key. This type of key can be used multiple times to authenticate machines.

Using Setup Keys

Setup keys are available in the NetBird Management dashboard under the Setup Keys tab

By default, we generate 2 setup keys right after account creation. You can easily add new or revoke keys.



Setup keys are set to expire after 30 days. When expired, the setup key can't be used anymore.

Peer Auto-grouping


NetBird offers a powerful access control feature that allows easy access management of your resources. In a basic scenario, you would create multiple groups of peers and create access rules to define what groups can access each other. Adding peers to groups might become time-consuming in large networks with dozens of machines.

Starting NetBird v0.9.2, when creating or updating a setup key, it is possible to specify a list of auto-assign groups. Every peer registered with this key will be automatically added to these groups. All the access control rules enabled for these groups will apply automatically.

To add Auto-assign groups, open the Setup Keys tab and create or update any existing setup key. Then use this key to enroll new machine.