At the heart of GitHub is an open source version control system (VCS) called Git. Git is responsible for everything GitHub-related that happens locally on your computer.

To use Git on the command line, you'll need to download, install, and configure Git on your computer.

If you want to work with Git locally, but don't want to use the command line, you can instead download and install the GitHub Desktop client. For more information, see "Getting Started with GitHub Desktop."

If you don't need to work with files locally, GitHub lets you complete many Git-related actions directly in the browser, including:

Setting up Git

  1. Download and install the latest version of Git.
  2. Set your username in Git.
  3. Set your email in Git.

Next steps: Authenticating with GitHub from Git

When you connect to a GitHub repository from Git, you'll need to authenticate with GitHub using either HTTPS or SSH.

Connecting over HTTPS (recommended)

If you clone with HTTPS, you can cache your GitHub password in Git using a credential helper.

Connecting over SSH

If you clone with SSH, you must generate SSH keys on each computer you use to push or pull from GitHub.


Congratulations, you now have Git and GitHub all set up! What do you want to do next?