The GitHub logo on a grey background

If you’re trying to download a program, file, or source code from GitHub, finding the right download link can be confusing. We’ll give you some tips so you can locate the right download link on any GitHub project page.

Check “Releases” First

First, open a web browser and load the GitHub site of the project that contains a program (binaries) or source code you’d like to download. When it opens, look in the column on the right side of the screen for a “Releases” section.

To download the project, locate the "Releases" section on GitHub.

Click the first item in the “Releases” list, which will usually have a “Latest” label beside it.

On the Releases page, scroll down to the “Assets” section and click the link for the file you’d like to download. Usually, it will be a file that matches your platform. For example, on a Linux machine, you might download a .DEV, .RPM, or .TAR.GZ file. On Windows, you might click a .ZIP, .MSI, or .EXE file. On a Mac, you’ll probably download a .DMG or .ZIP file. If you’re just looking for source code, click “Source Code.”

The file will download to your device, and you can usually find it in your “Downloads” folder.

Check the “README” File

Many Github Projects have a “README” section just below the list of code files at the top of the website. This is a section that developers can format like a traditional web page that can include images (such as screenshots) and links that describe the project.

After loading the GitHub page of the project you want to download, scroll down to the README section and look for a section called “Downloads” or maybe a “Download” link. Click it.

Look in the "README" section for a download link on GitHub.

You’ll either download the file you need, or you’ll be taken to the proper “Releases” page or some other archive that includes the files you want to download.

Check the Project Website

If you don’t see any releases or README listed, look for a link to the project’s website, which you can usually find on the right side of the GitHub page under the “About” section.

Once you click that, you’ll be taken to the official website of the project, where you might be able to find a download link.

If All Else Fails, Get The Code

If the GitHub page doesn’t have any “Releases” posted and there is no project website, then it probably only exists as source code on GitHub. To download it, navigate to the “Code” tab on the GitHub project’s page. Click the “Code” button, and in the menu that pops up, select “Download ZIP.”

This will automatically compress the entire contents of the repository into a ZIP file and download it your machine. Good luck, and happy coding!

RELATED: What Is GitHub, and What Is It Used For?

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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