A detailed guide to contribute to a project in Github


Simply guide to contribute to any project in Github. The basic workflow consist of

  • Fork the repository
  • Make a fix or contribution
  • Submit a pull request to the original project


A fork is a copy of a repository. Forking a repository allows you to freely experiment with changes without affecting the original project.

Go to the project you want to contribute and press the Fork button.


That will generate a copy of the repository in your Github profile where you can work with the code.

In this example I will fork the following repo: https://github.com/housed/feedr

Clone the forked repo

Make a local copy of the forked repo with git clone.

$ git clone https://github.com/marcanuy/feedr.git
Cloning into 'feedr'...
remote: Counting objects: 65, done.
remote: Total 65 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 65
Ricezione degli oggetti: 100% (65/65), 178.73 KiB | 282.00 KiB/s, done.
Risoluzione dei delta: 100% (22/22), done.
Checking connectivity... fatto.
$ cd feedr

Configure the original repo as a remote

Having the original repo as a remote makes it possible to keep your code up to date with all the contributions made to the original repo and contribute your own code.

The convention is to name this remote repo upstream.

feedr$ git remote add upstream https://github.com/housed/feedr.git
feedr$ git remote -v
origin  [email protected]:marcanuy/feedr.git (fetch)
origin  [email protected]:marcanuy/feedr.git (push)
upstream        https://github.com/housed/feedr.git (fetch)
upstream        https://github.com/housed/feedr.git (push)

Create a branch

Create a topic branch where you fix or improve the code and move to that branch.

$ git checkout -b fix-indentation
Switched to a new branch 'fix-indentation'

Create a branch with new changes

After working in the new branch, making some changes and commits, push the new branch,fix-indentation in this case, to your Github repo.

$ git push origin fix-indentation
Counting objects: 4, done.
Delta compression using up to 2 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (4/4), done.
Writing objects: 100% (4/4), 367 bytes | 0 bytes/s, done.
Total 4 (delta 2), reused 0 (delta 0)
remote: Resolving deltas: 100% (2/2), completed with 2 local objects.
To github.com:marcanuy/feedr.git
 * [new branch]      fix-indentation -> fix-indentation

Create a pull request

Now your changes are in a new branch in your Github repo, it is time to make a pull request to merge your changes in the original repo.

The Github repo webpage shows:

Your recently pushed branches: fix-indentation (less than a minute ago)

and makes it available a button to send the Pull Request.

After pressing the Pull request button, the webpage redirects to Open a pull request page, after selecting the base fork and the head fork, you can make the pull request.

Now just wait to the repo owner to merge your fixes.

marcanuy wants to merge 1 commit into housed:master from marcanuy:fix-indentation


Marcelo Canina
I'm Marcelo Canina, a developer from Uruguay. I build websites and web-based applications from the ground up and share what I learn here.