Import existing source code to GitHub


How can I import source code from my computer to my GitHub account?

4/9/2016 8:27:50 PM

Accepted Answer

If you've got local source code you want to add to a new remote new git repository without 'cloning' the remote first, do the following (I often do this - you create your remote empty repository in bitbucket/github, then push up your source)

  1. Create the remote repository, and get the URL such as [email protected]:/youruser/somename.git or

    If your local GIT repo is already set up, skips steps 2 and 3

  2. Locally, at the root directory of your source, git init

    2a. If you initialize the repo with a .gitignore and a you should do a git pull {url from step 1} to ensure you don't commit files to source that you want to ignore ;)

  3. Locally, add and commit what you want in your initial repo (for everything, git add . then git commit -m 'initial commit comment')

  4. to attach your remote repo with the name 'origin' (like cloning would do)
    git remote add origin [URL From Step 1]

  5. Execute git pull origin master to pull the remote branch so that they are in sync.
  6. to push up your master branch (change master to something else for a different branch):
    git push origin master
6/25/2014 7:56:22 PM

This is explained in the excellent free eBook ProGit. It assumes you already have a local Git repository and a remote one. To connect them use:

$ git remote
$ git remote add pb git://
$ git remote -v
origin    git://
pb    git://

To push the data from the local repository to GitHub use:

$ git push pb master

If you have not setup a local and/or a remote repository yet, check out the help on GitHub and the previous chapters in the book.


One of the comments mentioned using the GitHub GUI, but it didn't give any specific help on using and notice that most if not all the answers were useful at the command prompt only.

If you want to use the GitHub GUI, you can follow these steps:

  1. Click the "+" button and choose "Add Local Repository" Enter image description here
  2. Navigate to the directory with your existing code and click the "Add" button.
  3. You should now be prompted to "Create a new local Git repository here" so click the "Yes" button. Enter image description here
  4. Add your "Commit Summary" and "Extended description" as desired. By default, all of your files should selected with checkmarks already. Click the "Commit & Sync" button. Enter image description here
  5. Now you will be prompted to add the name and description of your project as well as which account to push it to (if you have multiple). Click the "Push Repository" button Enter image description here

After a moment with a spinning GitHub icon, your source code will belong to a local repository and pushed/synchronised with a remote repository on your GitHub account. All of this is presuming you've previously set up the GitHub GUI, your GitHub account, and SSH keys.


As JB quite rightly points out, it's made incredibly easy on GitHub by simply following the instructions.

Here's an example of the instructions displayed after setting up a new repository on GitHub using when you're logged in.

Global setup:

 Set up Git:
  git config --global "Name"
  git config --global [email protected]

Next steps:

  mkdir audioscripts
  cd audioscripts
  git init
  touch README
  git add README
  git commit -m 'first commit'
  git remote add origin [email protected]:ktec/audioscripts.git
  git push -u origin master

Existing Git repository?

  cd existing_git_repo
  git remote add origin [email protected]:ktec/audioscripts.git
  git push -u origin master

Importing a Subversion repository?

  Check out the guide for step-by-step instructions.

It couldn't be easier!!


Yes. Create a new repository, doing a git init in the directory where the source currently exists.

More here:


I had a bit of trouble with merging when trying to do Pete's steps. These are the steps I ended up with.

  1. Use your OS to delete the .git folder inside of the project folder that you want to commit. This will give you a clean slate to work with. This is also a good time to make a .gitignore file inside the project folder. This can be a copy of the .gitignore created when you created the repository on Doing this copy will avoid deleting it when you update the repository.

  2. Open Git Bash and navigate to the folder you just deleted the .git folder from.

  3. Run git init. This sets up a local repository in the folder you're in.

  4. Run git remote add [alias][gitUserName]/[RepoName].git. [alias] can be anything you want. The [alias] is meant to tie to the local repository, so the machine name works well for an [alias]. The URL can be found on, along the top ensure that the HTTP button out of HTTP|SSH|Git Read-Only is clicked. The git:// URL didn't work for me.

  5. Run git pull [alias] master. This will update your local repository and avoid some merging conflicts.

  6. Run git add .

  7. Run git commit -m 'first code commit'

  8. Run git push [alias] master


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