How to Download From GitHub: A Beginner's Guide

Jamie Juviler
Jamie Juviler

Published:

GitHub is one of the largest developer resources, and an absolute must-know for aspiring web developers to explore and share projects online.

person using a computer do download from github

If you’re just starting out with git and GitHub, taking open-source code from GitHub to experiment with or add to your own projects is one great way to learn. To do that, you’ll need to learn the basics: getting a file from GitHub onto your computer.

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In this post, we’ll show you how to download different resources from GitHub. We’ll cover:

Let’s get started.

How to Download a File From GitHub

To download a single file from GitHub, follow these steps:

1. Navigate to the GitHub repository page that contains the file. If it’s a public repository, you can visit the page without logging in. If it’s a private repository, you’ll need to log in and have the proper permissions to access it.

2. From the main repository page, locate the file you want to download. You can do this by navigating the folders, or by clicking Go to File near the top of the page. This opens a list of all files in the repository that you can search.

file search in github

3. Click the file you want to download. This will open the file in GitHub.

4. On the file page, click the Raw button. This opens the raw code in your browser.

the raw code view in github

5. Right-click the page and select Save as…, then name the file and choose where to save it on your device.

How to Download a GitHub Repository

GitHub is made up of repositories. A repository is a place where all files in a project can be stored, accessed, tracked, and modified. To download a repository, follow these steps:

1. Navigate to the GitHub repository page. If it’s a public repository, you can visit the page without logging in. If it’s a private repository, you’ll need to log in and have the proper permissions to access it.

2. On the main repository page, click the green Code button.

the main github page with the code button circled

3. In the menu that appears, click Download ZIP. The entire repository will be downloaded to your device as a zipped file.

the github download zip button

With that, you should be able to open the file locally.

How to Download a Release From GitHub

Repositories may also put out releases, which are packaged versions of the project. To download a release:

1. Navigate to the GitHub repository page. If it’s a public repository, you can visit the page without logging in. If it’s a private repository, you’ll need to log in and have the proper permissions to access it.

2. Click Releases, located on the right-side panel.

the releases option int he github side panel

3. You’ll be brought to a page listing releases from newest to oldest. Under the release that you want to download, locate the Assets section. Click a file under this section to download it.

assets in the github releases menu

You’ll be able to open this zipped file on your local device.

How to Download Multiple Files From GitHub

Unless you want to download an entire repository or release, there’s currently no way to bulk-download multiple files from GitHub. Depending on how many files you need from a repository, it may be best to download each individual file you need, or download the entire repository/release and delete the files you don’t need.

Get files from GitHub.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to using GitHub — the platform packs a ton of features, and it can seem intimidating to newcomers. However, GitHub does an excellent job of making its tools simple and accessible. Case in point: downloading a single file or an entire repository is possible with just a few clicks.

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