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backup a github user or organization

Project description

PyPI Python Versions

This project is considered feature complete for the primary maintainer. If you would like a bugfix or enhancement and cannot sponsor the work, pull requests are welcome. Feel free to contact the maintainer for consulting estimates if desired.

backup a github user or organization


  • GIT 1.9+


Using PIP via PyPI:

pip install github-backup

Using PIP via Github:

pip install git+


CLI Usage is as follows:

github-backup [-h] [-u USERNAME] [-p PASSWORD] [-t TOKEN] [--as-app]
              [-o OUTPUT_DIRECTORY] [-i] [--starred] [--all-starred]
              [--watched] [--followers] [--following] [--all]
              [--issues] [--issue-comments] [--issue-events] [--pulls]
              [--pull-comments] [--pull-commits] [--pull-details]
              [--labels] [--hooks] [--milestones] [--repositories]
              [--bare] [--lfs] [--wikis] [--gists] [--starred-gists]
              [--skip-existing] [-L [LANGUAGES [LANGUAGES ...]]]
              [-N NAME_REGEX] [-H GITHUB_HOST] [-O] [-R REPOSITORY]
              [-P] [-F] [--prefer-ssh] [-v]
              [--keychain-name OSX_KEYCHAIN_ITEM_NAME]
              [--keychain-account OSX_KEYCHAIN_ITEM_ACCOUNT]
              [--releases] [--assets] [--exclude [REPOSITORY [REPOSITORY ...]]
              [--throttle-limit THROTTLE_LIMIT] [--throttle-pause THROTTLE_PAUSE]

Backup a github account

positional arguments:
  USER                  github username

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -u USERNAME, --username USERNAME
                        username for basic auth
  -p PASSWORD, --password PASSWORD
                        password for basic auth. If a username is given but
                        not a password, the password will be prompted for.
  -t TOKEN, --token TOKEN
                        personal access, OAuth, or JSON Web token, or path to
                        token (file://...)
  --as-app              authenticate as github app instead of as a user.
                        directory at which to backup the repositories
  -i, --incremental     incremental backup
  --starred             include JSON output of starred repositories in backup
  --all-starred         include starred repositories in backup [*]
  --watched             include JSON output of watched repositories in backup
  --followers           include JSON output of followers in backup
  --following           include JSON output of following users in backup
  --all                 include everything in backup (not including [*])
  --issues              include issues in backup
  --issue-comments      include issue comments in backup
  --issue-events        include issue events in backup
  --pulls               include pull requests in backup
  --pull-comments       include pull request review comments in backup
  --pull-commits        include pull request commits in backup
  --pull-details        include more pull request details in backup [*]
  --labels              include labels in backup
  --hooks               include hooks in backup (works only when
  --milestones          include milestones in backup
  --repositories        include repository clone in backup
  --bare                clone bare repositories
  --lfs                 clone LFS repositories (requires Git LFS to be
                        installed, [*]
  --wikis               include wiki clone in backup
  --gists               include gists in backup [*]
  --starred-gists       include starred gists in backup [*]
  --skip-existing       skip project if a backup directory exists
                        only allow these languages
  -N NAME_REGEX, --name-regex NAME_REGEX
                        python regex to match names against
  -H GITHUB_HOST, --github-host GITHUB_HOST
                        GitHub Enterprise hostname
  -O, --organization    whether or not this is an organization user
                        name of repository to limit backup to
  -P, --private         include private repositories [*]
  -F, --fork            include forked repositories [*]
  --prefer-ssh          Clone repositories using SSH instead of HTTPS
  -v, --version         show program's version number and exit
  --keychain-name OSX_KEYCHAIN_ITEM_NAME
                        OSX ONLY: name field of password item in OSX keychain
                        that holds the personal access or OAuth token
  --keychain-account OSX_KEYCHAIN_ITEM_ACCOUNT
                        OSX ONLY: account field of password item in OSX
                        keychain that holds the personal access or OAuth token
  --releases            include release information, not including assets or
  --assets              include assets alongside release information; only
                        applies if including releases
  --exclude [REPOSITORY [REPOSITORY ...]]
                        names of repositories to exclude from backup.
  --throttle-limit THROTTLE_LIMIT
                        start throttling of GitHub API requests after this
                        amount of API requests remain
  --throttle-pause THROTTLE_PAUSE
                        wait this amount of seconds when API request
                        throttling is active (default: 30.0, requires
                        --throttle-limit to be set)

The package can be used to backup an entire organization or repository, including issues and wikis in the most appropriate format (clones for wikis, json files for issues).


Note: Password-based authentication will fail if you have two-factor authentication enabled.

Using the Keychain on Mac OSX

Note: On Mac OSX the token can be stored securely in the user’s keychain. To do this:

  1. Open Keychain from “Applications -> Utilities -> Keychain Access”

  2. Add a new password item using “File -> New Password Item”

  3. Enter a name in the “Keychain Item Name” box. You must provide this name to github-backup using the –keychain-name argument.

  4. Enter an account name in the “Account Name” box, enter your Github username as set above. You must provide this name to github-backup using the –keychain-account argument.

  5. Enter your Github personal access token in the “Password” box

Note: When you run github-backup, you will be asked whether you want to allow “security” to use your confidential information stored in your keychain. You have two options:

  1. Allow: In this case you will need to click “Allow” each time you run github-backup

  2. Always Allow: In this case, you will not be asked for permission when you run github-backup in future. This is less secure, but is required if you want to schedule github-backup to run automatically

About Git LFS

When you use the “–lfs” option, you will need to make sure you have Git LFS installed.

Instructions on how to do this can be found on


Backup all repositories, including private ones:

github-backup WhiteHouse --token $ACCESS_TOKEN --organization --output-directory /tmp/white-house --repositories --private

Backup a single organization repository with everything else (wiki, pull requests, comments, issues etc):

# e.g.
github-backup $ORGANIZATION -P -t $ACCESS_TOKEN -o . --all -O -R $REPO


This project currently contains no unit tests. To run linting:

pip install flake8
flake8 --ignore=E501

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