Getting Ready for Class

While you are waiting for class to begin, please take a few minutes to set up your local work environment.

Step 1: Set Up Your Account

For this class, we will use a public account on We do this for a few reasons:

  • We don't want you to "practice" in repositories that contain real code.
  • We are going to break some things so we can teach you how to fix them. (therefore, refer to the bullet above)

You can set up your free account by following these steps:

  1. Access and click Sign up.
  2. Choose the free account.
  3. You will receive a verification email at the address provided.
  4. Click the link to complete the verification process.

If you already have an account, verify that you can visit within your organization's network.

GitHub is designed to run on the current versions of all major browsers. In particular, if you use Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE), you must be using the latest version. Take a look at our list of supported browsers.

Step 2: Install Git

Git is an open source version control application. You will need Git installed for this class.

You may already have Git installed so let's check! Open Terminal if you are on a Mac, or PowerShell if you are on a Windows machine, and type:

$ git --version

You should see something like this:

$ git --version
git version 2.11.0

Anything over 2.0 will work for this class!

Downloading and Installing Git

If you don't already have Git installed, you can download Git at

If you need additional assistance installing Git, you can find more information in the ProGit chapter on installing Git:

Where is Your Shell?

Now is a good time to create a shortcut to the command line application you will want to use with Git:

  • If you are working on Windows, we recommend Git Bash which is installed with the Git packagem, so that you can follow along with the facilitator who will be using Bash.
  • If you are working on a Mac or other Unix-based system, you can use the build-in Terminal application.

Step 3: Try cloning with HTTPS

Open your chosen shell, and type:

git clone

If the clone is successful you'll see:

$ git clone
Cloning into 'scratch'...
remote: Counting objects: 6, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (2/2), done.
remote: Total 6 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 0
Unpacking objects: 100% (6/6), done.

If your clone is unsuccessful, read about authenticating with GitHub from Git. Please note: many corporate networks restrict SSH traffic, so we highly recommend using HTTPS and verifying the clone works before class. Also, if you have two-factor authentication enabled and wish to use HTTPS, you will need to set up a personal access token.

Proxy configuration

If your organization uses a proxy, you will need to configure the proxy settings in Git. Open Git Bash (on Windows) or Terminal (on Mac or *nix) and complete the appropriate steps below:

If your proxy does not require authentication:

git config --global http.proxy https://YOUR.PROXY.SERVER:8080

Replace YOUR.PROXY.SERVER with your proxy's URL.

If your proxy does require authentication:

git config --global http.proxy https://YOUR_PROXY_USERNAME:YOUR_PROXY_PASSWORD@YOUR.PROXY.SERVER:8080

Replace YOUR_PROXY_USERNAME with the username used to authenticate into your proxy, YOUR_PROXY_PASSWORD with the password used to authenticate into your proxy, and YOUR.PROXY.SERVER with your proxy's URL.

Step 4: Set Up Your Text Editor

For this class, we will use a basic text editor to interact with our code. Let's make sure you have one installed and ready to work from the command line.

Pick Your Editor

You can use almost any text editor, but we have the best success with the following:

If you do not already have a text editor installed, go ahead and download and install one of the above editors now! You can also configure Atom as your default text editor for Git commands using the instructions at

Your Editor on the Command Line

After you have installed an editor, confirm you can open it from the command line.

If installed properly, the following command will open the Atom text editor:

$ atom .

If you are working on a Mac, you will need to Install Shell Commands from the Atom menu, this happens as part of the installation process for Windows.


Congratulations! You should now have a working version of Git and a text editor on your system. If you still have some time before class begins, here are some interesting resources you can check out:

  • Explore is a showcase of interesting projects in the GitHub Universe. See something you want to re-visit? Star the repository to make it easier to find later.
  • The Learning Lab bot will guide you through projects and provide feedback right from your GitHub repository, helping you build every step of the way.

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