Setting up Git (v1)


Git is a very popular version control system. You’ll become very familiar with this piece of software throughout this course, so don’t worry too much about understanding it at this point. There are multiple lessons focused on Git later in the curriculum.

GitHub is a service that allows you to upload your code using Git and to manage your code with a nice web interface. GitHub and Git are not the same thing or even the same company.

Step 2: Configure Git and GitHub

Step 2.1: Setup Git

For Git to work properly, we need to let it know who we are so that it can link a local Git user (you) to GitHub. When working on a team, this allows people to see what you have committed and who committed each line of code.

The commands below will configure Git. Be sure to enter your own information inside the quotes (but include the quotation marks)!

git config --global "Your Name"
git config --global ""

To enable colorful output with git, type

git config --global color.ui auto

To verify things are working properly, enter these commands and verify that the output matches your name and email address.

git config --get
git config --get

Step 2.2: Create a GitHub Account or Sign In

Go to and create an account! If you already have an account, sign in. You do not need to use the same email address you used before, but it might be a good idea to use the same one to keep things simple.

Step 2.3: Create an SSH Key

An SSH key is a cryptographically secure identifier. It’s like a really long password used to identify your machine. GitHub uses SSH keys to allow you to upload to your repository without having to type in your username and password every time.

First, we need to see if you have an SSH key already installed. Type this into the terminal:

ls ~/.ssh/

If a message appears in the console containing the text "No such file or directory", then you do not yet have an SSH key, and you will need to create one. If no message has appeared in the console output, you already have a key and can proceed to step 2.4.

To create a new SSH key, run the following command inside your terminal. The -C flag followed by your email address ensures that GitHub knows who you are.

Note: The angle brackets (< >) in the code snippet below indicate that you should replace that part of the command with the appropriate information. Do not include the brackets themselves in your command. For example, if your email address is, then you would type ssh-keygen -C You will see this convention of using angle brackets to indicate placeholder text used throughout The Odin Project’s curriculum and other coding websites, so it’s good to be familiar with what it means.

ssh-keygen -C <youremail>
  • When it prompts you for a location to save the generated key, just push Enter.
  • Next, it will ask you for a password; enter one if you wish, but it’s not required.

Step 2.4: Link Your SSH Key with GitHub

Now, you need to tell GitHub what your SSH key is so that you can push your code without typing in a password every time.

First, you’ll navigate to where GitHub receives our SSH key. Log into GitHub and click on your profile picture in the top right corner. Then, click on Settings in the drop-down menu.

Next, on the left-hand side, click SSH and GPG keys. Then, click the green button in the top right corner that says New SSH Key. Name your key something that is descriptive enough for you to remember where it came from. Leave this window open while you do the next steps.

Now you need to copy your public SSH key. To do this, we’re going to use a command called cat to read the file to the console. (Note that the .pub file extension is important in this case.)

cat ~/.ssh/

Highlight and copy the output, which starts with ssh-rsa and ends with your email address.

Now, go back to GitHub in your browser window and paste the key you copied into the key field. Then, click Add SSH key. You’re done! You’ve successfully added your SSH key!

Step 2.5 Testing your key

Follow the directions in this article from GitHub to verify your SSH connection. If the output doesn’t correctly match up, then try going through these steps again or come to Slack to ask for help.

Step 3: Let us know how it went!

You have successfully completed the installations section. If you are doing the front-end or Node courses then you have everything you need.

You probably felt like you were in way over your head, and you probably didn’t understand much of what you were doing. That’s 100% normal. Hang in there. You can do this! And we’ve got your back.