GitHub Download

Can you download GitHub?  There are a few different answers to that question.

If you are interested in downloading GitHub Enterprise for on-premises use or to install in the cloud, check out the GitHub Enterprise documentation

If you’re looking for how to download GitHub Desktop, see how GitKraken Client compares to GitHub Desktop and then go forth to download whichever fits your needs.

Finally, If you’ve arrived at this page because you want to find out how to download a file from GitHub, then you’re in the right place; we’re going to walk you through just how to do that!

Before we get started, it’s important to understand what GitHub is. At its core, GitHub is a service that hosts code repositories. It allows people interacting with those Git remote repositories to collaborate across the Internet. 

Git, on the other hand, is source control management software. You can have Git repositories stored only on your local computer, and unless you wish to collaborate with others remotely, you won’t have the need to host your repos on a service like GitHub.  It’s common, especially for people new to both applications, to confuse Git vs GitHub. To sum it up, Git is free to download and it’s a software you run, GitHub is an online service that uses Git. 

How to Download from GitHub

The first step we recommend before performing a GitHub download is to create a GitHub account if you don’t already have one. The process is really simple using the prompts on the GitHub website. 

After you’ve created your GitHub account, use the Table of Contents below to quickly navigate to the section that describes your GitHub download situation: 

How to Download a GitHub Repository

With your GitHub account, you can access any public repository on the platform, as well as any private repositories where you have the necessary permissions. 

To download a GitHub repository, you must first start by navigating to the repository in GitHub. If you know the name of the repository, you can enter the name in the search bar on the left of the top nav at the very top of your GitHub user interface. 

Alternatively, if you have the URL of your repository, you can copy and paste that into your browser. 

Once you have your desired repository open, click the small arrow on the green Code button at the top right of the repo contents. From here, select Download Zip. This will download the entire GitHub repository as a zipped folder. 

dice_syntax_gd pubic repository on GitHub

How to Clone a GitHub Repository

Alternatively, if you’re trying to clone a GitHub repository onto your local machine, you can do that with the three options listed in the image above: HTTPS, SSH, or using the CLI

Regardless of which path you choose, cloning a GitHub repository is extremely easy using a Git Client, like GitKraken Client, that not only makes the process of cloning the GitHub repo intuitive, but also provides crucial visual context for interacting with the repository after you have it cloned to your computer. Learn how to clone a GitHub repository with the most popular, free Git GUI + terminal for GitHub.

How to Download a File from GitHub

The above process may be too much if you’re only looking to download a single file from a GitHub repository.  To download a file from GitHub, start by clicking the Go to file button at the top of the repo contents.

accessing the files in a GitHub repository

This will pull up a page that lists all of the files in the GitHub repository. 

View a list of files in a GitHub repository

Click on the file you wish to download from GitHub to open the individual file. From here, right click the Raw button at the top of the file, select Save Link As…, choose the location on your computer where you want to save the file, and select Save.

How to Download Files from GitHub

How you download multiple files from a GitHub repository depends on your use case. If you want to download a majority of the repository with the exception of a few files, the best option is to download a ZIP of the project and then manually delete the files you don’t want. 

Conversely, if you only want a few individual files from a repository, the easiest way to download them from GitHub is to follow the process outlines in the section above and download each file individually. 

How to Download a CSV from GitHub

Looking to download a CSV from GitHub? No problem! To download a CSV from GitHub simply navigate to your desired repository, select the CSV file, right click the Raw button at the top of the file, select Save Link As…, choose the location on your computer where you want to save the file, and select Save.

How to Download a Folder from GitHub

If you find yourself in a situation where you want to download a folder from GitHub repository, but not the entire repository itself, you can use a tool like

To download a folder from GitHub, navigate to your desired repository, select the folder you want to download from GitHub, copy the URL, navigate to and paste the URL into the text box, and hit enter.

Working with Git repositories that have a large number of files and folders can get confusing. GitKraken Client’s beautiful visual commit graph makes working with these repositories a breeze. The commit graph allows you to see how your repository is organized and a high-level view of the project at a glance.

Jump Start your Git Knowledge

Now that you’re comfortable downloading repositories and files from GitHub, you can start working with them to improve your Git skills. These downloaded files are a perfect sandbox to start experimenting with basic Git commands and actions. Don’t be afraid to mess up, you can always go back to the repo and download it again! If you want to fast-track your Git knowledge and start contributing at work or to open source projects, check out the GitKraken Learn Git library, complete with tutorial videos, examples, definitions, and more!

Additional Resources

Table of Contents

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