git – Is there a way to cache GitHub credentials for pushing commits?

The Question :

1916 people think this question is useful

I recently switched to synchronizing my repositories to https:// on GitHub (due to firewall issues), and it asks for a password every time.

Is there a way to cache the credentials, instead of authenticating every time that git push?

The Question Comments :
  • See also superuser.com/questions/199507/…
  • You now can use a credential helper to encrypt the _netrc file containing your credentials. See my answer below. I found that safer that the git-credential-winstore.exe (memory cache) which is a bit buggy on Windows.
  • See also Git push requires username and password and Git keeps prompting me for password.
  • git-credential-winstore worked the best for Windows. What’s buggy? Setting up ssh is the preferred option, although I have done it several times, it is way more error prone and sometimes just plain doesn’t work when you have to connect to multiple hosts.
  • By “SSH certificate” I assume you mean “SSH private key.”

The Answer 1

2425 people think this answer is useful

With Git version 1.7.9 and later

Since Git 1.7.9 (released in late January 2012), there is a neat mechanism in Git to avoid having to type your password all the time for HTTP / HTTPS, called credential helpers. (Thanks to dazonic for pointing out this new feature in the comments below.)

With Git 1.7.9 or later, you can just use one of the following credential helpers:

git config --global credential.helper cache

… which tells Git to keep your password cached in memory for (by default) 15 minutes. You can set a longer timeout with:

git config --global credential.helper "cache --timeout=3600"

(That example was suggested in the GitHub help page for Linux.) You can also store your credentials permanently if so desired, see the other answers below.

GitHub’s help also suggests that if you’re on Mac OS X and used Homebrew to install Git, you can use the native Mac OS X keystore with:

git config --global credential.helper osxkeychain

For Windows, there is a helper called Git Credential Manager for Windows or wincred in msysgit.

git config --global credential.helper wincred # obsolete

With Git for Windows 2.7.3+ (March 2016):

git config --global credential.helper manager

For Linux, you would use (in 2011) gnome-keyring(or other keyring implementation such as KWallet).

Nowadays (2020), that would be (on Linux)

Fedora

sudo dnf install git-credential-libsecret
git config --global credential.helper /usr/libexec/git-core/git-credential-libsecret

Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install libsecret-1-0 libsecret-1-dev
cd /usr/share/doc/git/contrib/credential/libsecret
sudo make
git config --global credential.helper /usr/share/doc/git/contrib/credential/libsecret/git-credential-libsecret


With Git versions before 1.7.9

With versions of Git before 1.7.9, this more secure option is not available, and you’ll need to change the URL that your origin remote uses to include the password in this fashion:

https://you:password@github.com/you/example.git

… in other words with :password after the username and before the @.

You can set a new URL for your origin remote with:

git config remote.origin.url https://you:password@github.com/you/example.git

Make sure that you use https, and you should be aware that if you do this, your GitHub password will be stored in plaintext in your .git directory, which is obviously undesirable.

With any Git version (well, since version 0.99)

An alternative approach is to put your username and password in your ~/.netrc file, although, as with keeping the password in the remote URL, this means that your password will be stored on the disk in plain text and is thus less secure and not recommended. However, if you want to take this approach, add the following line to your ~/.netrc:

machine <hostname> login <username> password <password>

… replacing <hostname> with the server’s hostname, and <username> and <password> with your username and password. Also remember to set restrictive file system permissions on that file:

chmod 600 ~/.netrc

Note that on Windows, this file should be called _netrc, and you may need to define the %HOME% environment variable – for more details see:

The Answer 2

729 people think this answer is useful

You can also have Git store your credentials permanently using the following:

git config credential.helper store

Note: While this is convenient, Git will store your credentials in clear text in a local file (.git-credentials) under your project directory (see below for the “home” directory). If you don’t like this, delete this file and switch to using the cache option.

If you want Git to resume to asking you for credentials every time it needs to connect to the remote repository, you can run this command:

git config --unset credential.helper

To store the passwords in .git-credentials in your %HOME% directory as opposed to the project directory: use the --global flag

git config --global credential.helper store

The Answer 3

103 people think this answer is useful

TLDR; Use an encrypted netrc file with Git 1.8.3+.

Saving a password for a Git repository HTTPS URL is possible with a ~/.netrc (Unix) or %HOME%/_netrc (note the _) on Windows.

But: That file would store your password in plain text.

Solution: Encrypt that file with GPG (GNU Privacy Guard), and make Git decrypt it each time it needs a password (for push/pull/fetch/clone operation).


Note: with Git 2.18 (Q2 2018), you now can customize the GPG used to decrypt the encrypted .netrc file.

See commit 786ef50, commit f07eeed (12 May 2018) by Luis Marsano (“).
(Merged by Junio C Hamano — gitster in commit 017b7c5, 30 May 2018)

git-credential-netrc: accept gpg option

git-credential-netrc was hardcoded to decrypt with ‘gpg‘ regardless of the gpg.program option.
This is a problem on distributions like Debian that call modern GnuPG something else, like ‘gpg2


Step-by-Step instructions for Windows

With Windows:

(Git has a gpg.exe in its distribution, but using a full GPG installation includes a gpg-agent.exe, which will memorize your passphrase associated to your GPG key.)

  • Install gpg4Win Lite, the minimum gnupg command-line interface (take the most recent gpg4win-vanilla-2.X.Y-betaZZ.exe), and complete your PATH with the GPG installation directory:

    set PATH=%PATH%:C:\path\to\gpg
    copy C:\path\to\gpg\gpg2.exe C:\path\to\gpg\gpg.exe
    
    

(Note the ‘copy‘ command: Git will need a Bash script to execute the command ‘gpg‘. Since gpg4win-vanilla-2 comes with gpg2.exe, you need to duplicate it.)

  • Create or import a GPG key, and trust it:

    gpgp --import aKey
    # or
    gpg --gen-key
    
    

(Make sure to put a passphrase to that key.)

  • Trust that key

  • Install the credential helper script in a directory within your %PATH%:

    cd c:\a\fodler\in\your\path
    curl -o c:\prgs\bin\git-credential-netrc https://raw.githubusercontent.com/git/git/master/contrib/credential/netrc/git-credential-netrc.perl
    
    

(Beware: the script is renamed in Git 2.25.x/2.26, see below)

(Yes, this is a Bash script, but it will work on Windows since it will be called by Git.)

  • Make a _netrc file in clear text

    machine a_server.corp.com
    login a_login
    password a_password
    protocol https
    
    machine a_server2.corp.com
    login a_login2
    password a_password2
    protocol https
    
    

(Don’t forget the ‘protocol‘ part: ‘http‘ or ‘https‘ depending on the URL you will use.)

  • Encrypt that file:

    gpg -e -r a_recipient _netrc
    
    

(You now can delete the _netrc file, keeping only the _netrc.gpg encrypted one.)

  • Use that encrypted file:

    git config --local credential.helper "netrc -f C:/path/to/_netrc.gpg -v"
    
    

(Note the ‘/‘: C:\path\to... wouldn’t work at all.) (You can use at first -v -d to see what is going on.)

From now on, any Git command using an HTTP(S) URL which requires authentication will decrypt that _netrc.gpg file and use the login/password associated to the server you are contacting. The first time, GPG will ask you for the passphrase of your GPG key, to decrypt the file. The other times, the gpg-agent launched automatically by the first GPG call will provide that passphrase for you.

That way, you can memorize several URLs/logins/passwords in one file, and have it stored on your disk encrypted.
I find it more convenient than a “cache” helper”, where you need to remember and type (once per session) a different password for each of your remote services, for said password to be cached in memory.


With Git 2.26 (Q1 2020), the sample credential helper for using .netrc has been updated to work out of the box. See patch/discussion.

See commit 6579d93, commit 1c78c78 (20 Dec 2019) by Denton Liu (Denton-L).
(Merged by Junio C Hamano — gitster in commit 1fd27f8, 25 Dec 2019)

contrib/credential/netrc: make PERL_PATH configurable

Signed-off-by: Denton Liu

The shebang path for the Perl interpreter in git-credential-netrc was hardcoded.
However, some users may have it located at a different location and thus, would have had to manually edit the script.

Add a .perl prefix to the script to denote it as a template and ignore the generated version.
Augment the Makefile so that it generates git-credential-netrc from git-credential-netrc.perl, just like other Perl scripts.

The Makefile recipes were shamelessly stolen from contrib/mw-to-git/Makefile.

And:

With 2.26 (Q1 2020), Sample credential helper for using .netrc has been updated to work out of the box.

See commit 6579d93, commit 1c78c78 (20 Dec 2019) by Denton Liu (Denton-L).
(Merged by Junio C Hamano — gitster in commit 1fd27f8, 25 Dec 2019)

contrib/credential/netrc: work outside a repo

Signed-off-by: Denton Liu

Currently, git-credential-netrc does not work outside of a git repository. It fails with the following error:

fatal: Not a git repository: . at /usr/share/perl5/Git.pm line 214.

There is no real reason why need to be within a repository, though. Credential helpers should be able to work just fine outside the repository as well.

Call the non-self version of config() so that git-credential-netrc no longer needs to be run within a repository.

Jeff King (peff) adds:

I assume you’re using a gpg-encrypted netrc (if not, you should probably just use credential-store).
For “read-only” password access, I find the combination of pass with config like this is a bit nicer:

[credential "https://github.com"]
  username = peff
  helper = "!f() { test $1 = get &amp;&amp; echo password=`pass github/oauth`; }; f"

The Answer 4

45 people think this answer is useful

Use a credential store.

For Git 2.11+ on OS X and Linux, use Git’s built in credential store:

git config --global credential.helper libsecret

For msysgit 1.7.9+ on Windows:

git config --global credential.helper wincred


For Git 1.7.9+ on OS X use:

git config --global credential.helper osxkeychain

The Answer 5

44 people think this answer is useful

There’s an easy, old-fashioned way to store user credentials in an HTTPS URL:

https://user:password@github.com/...

You can change the URL with git remote set-url <remote-repo> <URL>

The obvious downside to that approach is that you have to store the password in plain text. You can still just enter the user name (https://user@github.com/...) which will at least save you half the hassle.

You might prefer to switch to SSH or to use the GitHub client software.

The Answer 6

40 people think this answer is useful

You can just use

git config credential.helper store

When you enter password next time with pull or push, it will be stored in file .git-credentials as plain text (a bit unsecure, but just put it into a protected folder).

And that’s it, as stated on this page:

git-credential-store

The Answer 7

23 people think this answer is useful

It wasn’t immediately obvious to me that I needed to download the helper first! I found the credential.helper download at Atlassian’s Permanently authenticating with Git repositories.

Quote:

Follow these steps if you want to use Git with credential caching on OS X:

Download the binary git-credential-osxkeychain.

Run the command below to ensure the binary is executable:

chmod a+x git-credential-osxkeychain

Put it in the directory /usr/local/bin.

Run the command below:

git config --global credential.helper osxkeychain

The Answer 8

23 people think this answer is useful

Simply include the login credentials as part of the URL:

git remote rm origin
git remote add origin https://username:mypassword@github.com/path/to/repo.git

Note: I do not recommend this method, but if you are in rush and nothing else works, you can use this method.

The Answer 9

21 people think this answer is useful

On a GNU/Linux setup, a ~/.netrc works quite well too:

$ cat ~/.netrc
machine github.com login lot105 password howsyafather

It might depend on which network libraries Git is using for HTTPS transport.

The Answer 10

17 people think this answer is useful

For Windows you can use the Git Credential Manager (GCM) plugin. It is currently maintained by Microsoft. The nice thing is that it saves the password in the Windows Credential Store, not as plain text.

There is an installer on the releases page of the project. This will also install the official version of Git for Windows with the credential manager built-in. It allows two-factor authentication for GitHub (and other servers). And has a graphical interface for initially logging in.

For Cygwin users (or users already using the official Git for Windows), you might prefer the manual install. Download the zip package from the releases page. Extract the package, and then run the install.cmd file. This will install to your ~/bin folder. (Be sure your ~/bin directory is in your PATH.) You then configure it using this command:

git config --global credential.helper manager

Git will then run the git-credential-manager.exe when authenticating to any server.

The Answer 11

13 people think this answer is useful

If you don’t want to store your password in plaintext like Mark said, you can use a different GitHub URL for fetching than you do for pushing. In your configuration file, under [remote "origin"]:

url = git://github.com/you/projectName.git
pushurl = git@github.com:you/projectName.git

It will still ask for a password when you push, but not when you fetch, at least for open source projects.

The Answer 12

13 people think this answer is useful

OAuth

You can create your own personal API token (OAuth) and use it the same way as you would use your normal credentials (at: /settings/tokens). For example:

git remote add fork https://4UTHT0KEN@github.com/foo/bar
git push fork

.netrc

Another method is to configure your user/password in ~/.netrc (_netrc on Windows), e.g.

machine github.com
login USERNAME
password PASSWORD

For HTTPS, add the extra line:

protocol https

A credential helper

To cache your GitHub password in Git when using HTTPS, you can use a credential helper to tell Git to remember your GitHub username and password every time it talks to GitHub.

  • Mac: git config --global credential.helper osxkeychain (osxkeychain helper is required),
  • Windows: git config --global credential.helper wincred
  • Linux and other: git config --global credential.helper cache

Related:

The Answer 13

10 people think this answer is useful

You can use credential helpers.

git config --global credential.helper 'cache --timeout=x'

where x is the number of seconds.

The Answer 14

10 people think this answer is useful

After you clone repository repo, you can edit repo/.git/config and add some configuration like below:

[user]
    name = you_name
    password = you_password
[credential]
    helper = store

Then you won’t be asked for username and password again.

The Answer 15

9 people think this answer is useful

I know this is not a secure solution, but sometimes you need just a simple solution – without installing anything else. And since helper = store did not work for me, I created a dummy helper:

Create a script and put it in your users bin folder, here named credfake, this script will provide your username and your password:

#!/bin/bash
while read line
do
  echo "$line"
done < "/dev/stdin"
echo username=mahuser
echo password=MahSecret12345

make it executable:

chmod u+x /home/mahuser/bin/credfake

then configure it in git:

git config --global credential.helper /home/mahuser/bin/credfake

(or use it without –global for the one repo only)

and – voilá – git will use this user + password.

The Answer 16

7 people think this answer is useful

An authentication token should be used instead of the account password. Go to GitHub settings/applications and then create a personal access token. The token can be used the same way a password is used.

The token is intended to allow users not use the account password for project work. Only use the password when doing administration work, like creating new tokens or revoke old tokens.


Instead of a token or password that grants a user whole access to a GitHub account, a project specific deployment key can be used to grant access to a single project repository. A Git project can be configured to use this different key in the following steps when you still can access other Git accounts or projects with your normal credential:

  1. Write an SSH configuration file that contains the Host, IdentityFile for the deployment key, maybe the UserKnownHostsFile, and maybe the User (though I think you don’t need it).
  2. Write an SSH wrapper shell script that virtually is ssh -F /path/to/your/config $*
  3. Prepend GIT_SSH=/path/to/your/wrapper in front of your normal Git command. Here the git remote (origin) must use the git@github.com:user/project.git format.

The Answer 17

7 people think this answer is useful

It is better to use credentials for security, but you can keep it for some time using the cache:

git config --global credential.helper cache
git config credential.helper 'cache --timeout=3600'

Your credentials will be saved for 3600 seconds.

The Answer 18

5 people think this answer is useful

Things are a little different if you’re using two-factor authentication as I am. Since I didn’t find a good answer elsewhere, I’ll stick one here so that maybe I can find it later.

If you’re using two-factor authentication, then specifying username/password won’t even work – you get access denied. But you can use an application access token and use Git’s credential helper to cache that for you. Here are the pertinent links:

And I don’t remember where I saw this, but when you’re asked for your username – that’s where you stick the application access token. Then leave the password blank. It worked on my Mac.

The Answer 19

5 people think this answer is useful

Usually you have a remote URL, something like this,

git remote -v

origin    https://gitlab.com/username/Repo.git (fetch)
origin    https://gitlab.com/username/Repo.git (push)

If you want to skip username and password while using git push, try this:

 git remote set-url origin https://username:password@gitlab.com/username/Repo.git

I’ve just added the same URL (with user details including password) to origin.

NOTE: It doesn’t work if username is an email Id.

git remote -v

origin    https://username:password@gitlab.com/username/Repo.git (fetch)
origin    https://username:password@gitlab.com/username/Repo.git (push)

The Answer 20

4 people think this answer is useful

This works for me I’m using Windows 10

git config --global credential.helper wincred

The Answer 21

3 people think this answer is useful

I got my answer from gitcredentials(7) Manual Page. For my case, I don’t have credential-cache in my Windows installation; I use credential-store.

After I use credential-store, the username/password are stored in [user folder]/.git-credentials file. To remove the username/password, just delete the content of the file.

The Answer 22

2 people think this answer is useful

The composer documentation mentions that you can prevent it from using the GitHub API, so that it acts like git clone:

If you set the no-api key to true on a GitHub repository it will clone the repository as it would with any other Git repository instead of using the GitHub API. But unlike using the git driver directly, composer will still attempt to use GitHub’s zip files.

So the section would look like this:

"repositories": [
    {
        "type": "vcs",
        "no-api": true,
        "url": "https://github.com/your/repo"
    }
],

Keep in mind that the API is there for a reason. So it this should be a method of last resort regarding the increased load on github.com.

The Answer 23

2 people think this answer is useful

You also edit the bashrc file and add a script in it.

This would ask for your password once when you start Git and then remembers it until you log off.

SSH_ENV=$HOME/.ssh/environment
  
# Start the ssh-agent
function start_agent {
    echo "Initializing new SSH agent..."

    # Spawn ssh-agent
    /usr/bin/ssh-agent | sed 's/^echo/#echo/' > "${SSH_ENV}"
    echo succeeded
    chmod 600 "${SSH_ENV}"
    . "${SSH_ENV}" > /dev/null
    /usr/bin/ssh-add
}
  
if [ -f "${SSH_ENV}" ]; then
     . "${SSH_ENV}" > /dev/null
   ps -ef | grep ${SSH_AGENT_PID} | grep ssh-agent$ > /dev/null || {
      start_agent;
  }
else
    start_agent;
fi

The Answer 24

0 people think this answer is useful

If you are using osxkeychain and had a token expire and want to update it, follow these steps:

Run in terminal, then press enter twice.

git credential-osxkeychain erase
 host=github.com
 protocol=https

Now you should be prompted for a username/password. However sometimes it seems this does not ‘take’ and you have to keep re-entering.

If so, restart your computer. Now the next time you run a git command and enter your username/password, it will be saved.

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