Activate ReadyAPI on Headless Machines and in CI/CD build runs

Applies to ReadyAPI 3.53, last modified on June 26, 2024

This page is related to the new SmartBear ID-based licenses that we’ve introduced in ReadyAPI 3.8.1.
In this version, we included support for SmartBear-hosted ID-based (online) licenses. Furthermore, from version 3.40.0, we added support for on-premise hosted and offline ID-based licenses.

Running ReadyAPI on a headless machine means that it works from the command line. The same happens when you run ReadyAPI and its test runners from a CI/CD build.

To specify the SmartBear account to be used for the run, you add certain parameters to the command line. See below for details.

If you use SSO to log in to the SmartBear account, you must use the access key. If you do not know whether you use SSO or not, ask your license manager for assistance.


The computer where you are going to run tests must have access to the SmartBear License Servers. The proxies and firewalls running in our network should allow connection to them:


This access is needed both at the product start and during the product runtime. The addresses are for API servers and don’t have a user interface visible in browsers. When products call these hosts, they add some specific paths or URLs to the addresses.

Note: We encrypt all data at rest and over the wire.

Please note, as outlined here and in our Terms of Use:

Floating licenses are required for scenarios including multiple authorized users, service accounts, and machine combinations including virtual machines and containerized environments. Floating licenses are required for any headless use case with virtual machines and docker.

Activate with access key

It is a more secure way to specify the SmartBear account for the run by using an access key generated for your account.

1. Get the access key

You get the key in the SmartBear Licensing Portal:

Getting access key

For complete information, see Get Access Key in the Licensing Portal documentation.

2. Specify the access key in the command line

Activate with Access Key – Get the access key from the SmartBear Licensing Portal and use it as a command-line parameter, either as -accessKey or -K.

Sample Command:

testrunner.bat "c:\my tests\my-proj.xml" -accessKey "9a######-####-####-####-##########97"
Make sure to enclose the access key in quotes.Note: The test engine doesn’t cache the access key on your computer. You need to specify it for every run.
Note: SmartBear License Management's license authentication and request flows were revised in November 2023. Authentication using the username and password is no longer supported for test execution via TestRunners, Jenkins or Azure plugins, and SmartBear-hosted licenses. Username and password are limited to on-prem-hosted licenses only. Access Key is the required option for authentication if using SmartBear-hosted licenses headlessly.

See Also

SmartBear ID-based Licenses
Activate and Use ReadyAPI
Getting Access Key
Starting ReadyAPI Tests by Using Command-Line Runners

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