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Created March 26, 2014 18:43
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Github Two-Factor Authentication Failed For HTTPS

I heard from GitHub Two-Factor Authentication]( nearly a couple of days ago when I was reading my RSS feed. I enabled it and couldn' push to any of my repositories anymore. Learn in this blog post how to fix it.

Two-Factor Authentication

"Is a process involving two stages to verify the identity of an entity trying to access services in a computer or in a network". Github solves this authentication with sending an SMS to a device which wants to push to their platform.

Enabling Two-Factor Authentication

  1. Go to your Account Settings.
  2. Set up two-factor authentication.
  3. You'll be given the option of setting up 2FA either through a text message, or through an app you can download onto your smartphone.

Once you type in the number on your github page, your account is verified.

Setting Up Personal Access Token

Since you have enabled 2FA, you can create a personal access token.

  1. Go into your Account Settings.
  2. Click on Applications - this is where you can find the a section where you can create your "Personal Access Token"
  3. Save the password in some encrypted file.

Testing your Personal Access Token


$ curl -u <token>:x-oauth-basic

If everythings works fine then you should get following json output:

  "login": "matthias-guenther",
  "id": 264708,
  "avatar_url": "",
  "gravatar_id": "9172bb642e29e9959f078f329308faa1",
  "url": "",
  "html_url": "",
  "followers_url": "",
  "following_url": "{/other_user}",
  "gists_url": "{/gist_id}",
  "starred_url": "{/owner}{/repo}",
  "subscriptions_url": "",
  "organizations_url": "",
  "repos_url": "",
  "events_url": "{/privacy}",
  "received_events_url": "",
  "type": "User",
  "site_admin": false,
  "name": "Matthias Günther",
  "company": "",
  "blog": "",
  "location": "Berlin",
  "email": "",
  "hireable": true,
  "bio": "software developer, writer, hiker, jogger, and mobile apps lover",
  "public_repos": 64,
  "public_gists": 11,
  "followers": 54,
  "following": 65,
  "created_at": "2010-05-04T16:46:36Z",
  "updated_at": "2014-03-26T04:43:54Z",
  "private_gists": 0,
  "total_private_repos": 0,
  "owned_private_repos": 0,
  "disk_usage": 57682,
  "collaborators": 0,
  "plan": {
    "name": "free",
    "space": 307200,
    "collaborators": 0,
    "private_repos": 0

If something went wrong, you should get a message like the following:

  "message": "Not Found",
  "documentation_url": ""

Pushing To An HTTPS Github URL On Your Own

I had all my repositories checked out via HTTPS. But after enabling 2FA, you can't push to this repositories anymore.

$ git remote -v
  origin (fetch)
  origin (push)

$ git push origin master
  fatal: '' does not appear to be a git repository
  fatal: Could not read from remote repository.

  Please make sure you have the correct access rights
  and the repository exists.

I tried every combination of passwords, personal access token and even created a new ssh-key, but it won't work. I had to change the remote URL to and it worked.

Pushing To An HTTPS GitHub URL On An Organization

I'm the maintainer of and pushing my changes with the git@* remote URL hack did not work out very well:

$ git remote -v
  origin (fetch)
  origin (push)

$ git push
  fatal: '' does not appear to be a git repository
  fatal: Could not read from remote repository.

  Please make sure you have the correct access rights
  and the repository exists.

Most posts out there advices to use osxkeychain to save your credentials. Since I'm using Xubuntu for developing I had to search after another method.

Use .netrc File To Store Credentials

The .netrc file contains login and initialization information for managing the auto-login process.

All you have to do is to setup your crdentials in ~/.netrc:

login matthias-guenther
password <token>
protocol https

login matthias-guenther
password <token>
protocol https

Where <token> is your personal access token. It would be silly to save your password in plain text.

Encrypt .netrc file with gpg

I assume that you already have your gpg key, you need to run the following command:

$ gpg --encrypt --armor --recipient .netrc

And update the credentials helper:

$ git config --global credential.helper "netrc -f ~/.netrc.asc -v"

Now you can push again.

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ghost commented Apr 9, 2018

This information is no longer relevant. There is no "Personal Access Token" section.

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intere commented Apr 20, 2018

@rquinlivan - there is a section for this "Personal Access Tokens", it's just moved:

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check this

Once you have a token, you can enter it instead of your password when performing Git operations over HTTPS.

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Both ways work fine for me:

  1. Changing the URL (HTTPS -> SSH) with the command:
    git remote set-url origin
  2. Using the access token as the password.

Thanks @adsteel for sharing! =]

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