How to Contribute to a Project on GitHub

A quick how-to in contributing to an open source project hosted on GitHub. These instructions assume you’ve already created a GitHub account and properly set up your machine. For more details, GitHub also publishes similar instructions.

Set Up Your Repository

Fork a project by visiting its URL on GitHub and clicking the “Fork” button

Clone your fork to your local machine:

git clone

Assign the original repository to a remote called “upstream” to retrieve updates from the original repository you forked:

cd project-name
git remote add upstream git://

Routinely pull all the “upstream” updates to your local repository:

git fetch upstream

And merge them to your forked master:

git merge upstream/master

Write Code

Create and check out a feature branch to house your edits:

git branch branchName
git checkout branchName

This can be shortened to:

git checkout -b branchName

Make edits and commit them:

git add someFile.js
git commit -m "Your commit message."

Push your new branch to GitHub:

git push origin branchName

Visit your forked project on GitHub and switch to your branchName branch.

Click “Pull Request” to request that your features be merged to the “upstream” master.