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Created March 10, 2014 23:34
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What would you like to do?
Download a single file from a private GitHub repo. You'll need an access token as described in this GitHub Help article:
curl -H 'Authorization: token INSERTACCESSTOKENHERE' -H 'Accept: application/vnd.github.v3.raw' -O -L
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ksridhar commented Jan 23, 2019

thanks to
@peteratticusberg commented on Aug 9, 2015
would like to add that if you want to retrieve a file stored in a specific tag (say: my_unit_test) you would specify the curl command as follows (as in a bash script):

curl \
    -u "$USER:$PASSWD" \
    -H 'Accept: application/vnd.github.v4.raw' \

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emmahsax commented Nov 22, 2019

Does anyone else run into the issue where when they get the zipped or tarred file, they cannot unzip it (or untar it)?

$ curl -H 'Authorization: token my-oauth-token-here' -H 'Accept: application/vnd.github.v3.raw' -O -L
% Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100   130  100   130    0     0    473      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:--   474
$ ls
$ tar xvzf v1.1.0.tar.gz 
tar: Unrecognized archive format
tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors.

Somehow, using the command line doesn't get the full zipped/tarred file. when I click the link in the UI, I can successful unzip/untar the file via the command line after it downloads to my machine.

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emmahsax commented Nov 22, 2019

Ah I figured it out. This works!

REPO_DOWNLOAD_URL=$(curl -u "${ACCESS_TOKEN}:" -s | \
  awk '/tag_name/ {print "" substr($2, 2, length($2)-3) ""}'

curl -u "${ACCESS_TOKEN}:" -LkSs "{$REPO_DOWNLOAD_URL}" -o - | tar xzf -

This finds the latest release for repository owner-name/repo-name, and then grabs the tar of it and opens it up in the current directory. A user just needs an Oauth access token!

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jakeonfire commented Dec 24, 2020

when using -O to save a file with the same name, it includes request params in the file name. so i prefer setting ref via -d like this:

curl -GLOf -H "Authorization: token ${GITHUB_TOKEN?not set}" -H "Accept: application/vnd.github.v4.raw" \
  "$ORG/$REPO/contents/$FILEPATH" -d ref="$REVISION"

-G causes data (specified by -d) to be added as URL request params, but not the saved filename. -f ensures if there is an issue, like 401 bad auth, the command returns an error instead of just saving the file with the error response.

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porthunt commented Aug 6, 2021

I've created this simple gist in case someone needs to download a json file from a private repository and use it as a dictionary:

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