Is GitHub down? What it means and how to treat it (2023)

If you are one ofmore than 94 millionDevelopers who use GitHub in more than 330 million repositories, you will be more than worried if one day you discover that the service is not working normally.

But fear not! If that happens, you can get to the root of the problem with minimal effort, whether it's a GitHub platform issue or a user or technology-related issue.

In this article, we'll consider the various scenarios that can cause GitHub not to work and the steps you can take to resolve them, including resorting to a comprehensive backup solution such asRevert backups to GitHub.

What is GitHub and why is it so popular?

GitHub is a popular choice for developers who want to host and version control their source code repositories. GitHub is known for its iterative improvements to the developer experience. It regularly releases new features focused on advanced automation and promoting closer collaboration between development teams. Some of its more notable toolsets include:

  • GitHub Actions– an integrated CI/CD tool and Codespaces, a development box in the cloud.
  • GitHub pages– a tool that allows users to host publicly or privately accessible websites from GitHub repositories in a matter of minutes.
  • Server management and database configuration.– all managed by GitHub on your behalf.

How to confirm it's not just you when GitHub is down

If your GitHub account is performing poorly or is unavailable, the first thing to do is check if it's just you or if the GitHub platform is having issues.

Outages happen on GitHub from time to time. Earlier this year, inrecognitionfrequency of platform outages, Keith Ballinger, SVP of Engineering at GitHub, said:

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“In recent weeks we have had several incidents due to the integrity of our database, which resulted in the degradation of the service of our platform. We know that this affects the productivity of many of our customers and we take it very seriously. We wanted to share with you what we know about these incidents as our team continues to address these issues."

GitHub extended outages are frustrating, as they can result in limited or disabled access to your account and data.

To see if there are any ongoing crashes or issues on GitHub, visit theGitHub status page. Other helpful resources includefall detectormiis under.

What can you do if GitHub is not working?

If GitHub is not available, the only way to access your data is to clone it from your Amazon S3 Bucket (if connected) or your third-party backup servers.

Revert backups to GitHubis a popular disaster recovery service for corporate customers on GitHub. Rewind works with GitHub OAuth and is based on the GitHub API. You can check theGitHub API status here.

If GitHub is down, you won't be able to log in to the normal Rewind UI. However, if you have an ssh key linked to your GitHub account and have enabled the "Clone from BackHub" feature in your account settings, you can clone your repositories directly from the Rewind servers.

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Good to know:

Rewind Backups for GitHub was formerly known as BackHub.Rewind acquired BackHub in 2021. Despite the name change, there is no difference between the original service provided by BackHub and Rewind Backups for GitHub.

GitHub is not disabled. What else could be the problem?

If you've established that the GitHub platform is working, it's time to consider the internal factors that might make your GitHub data unavailable. Here are some common scenarios:

Accidental or malicious deletion of data

An unintentional mistake or malicious act by a disgruntled employee could result in the removal of a branch or repository.

a cyber attack

The media is abuzz with reports of new types of cybercrime, and hackers are always looking for new entry points into organizations. GitHub is no exception. In December 2022, it wasreportedthat an Iranian-backed group was using GitHub to broadcast malware instructions. According to the press report:

“Using GitHub allows attackers to evade detection more easily. Using GitHub as a virtual deadlock helps malware blend in. All traffic to GitHub is encrypted, which means defensive technologies can't see what's being passed back and forth. And because GitHub is a legitimate service, it raises fewer questions."

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And in November 2022, Dropbox suffered a data breach from a successful phishing attack. In accordance withGitGuardianName, This is what happened:

  • The attacker distributed a phishing email impersonating CircleCI, the internal CI/CD platform used by Dropbox.
  • The email took the victim to a mock CircleCI login page, where they entered their GitHub credentials. CircleCI allowed users to log in with GitHub credentials.
  • The copycat site required the user to enter a one-time password (OTP) generated by a hardware authentication key.
  • The hacker used this OTP and credentials to access the user's GitHub account, where he cloned 130 internal repositories.comprising public and private code.

Server or other local infrastructure issues

GitHub performance degradation or accessibility issues may be tied to server, application, memory, or connectivity issues in your environment. User error can also be a factor.Learnhow to solve the most common problems in the REST API or troubleshootconnectivity problems.

Why it makes sense to back up your GitHub data

Backing up GitHub with a trusted third-party backup solution avoids creating a "single point of failure" vulnerability.

in the wordsfrom one of Rewind's customers:

“If you are using GitHub and your codebase resides exclusively on GitHub, then you are completely dependent on GitHub. Unfortunately, sometimes the platforms fall over. We knew that if something happened to, we could access a separate copy of our codebase and remain productive until the outage was resolved. Rewind doesn't just give us a full codebase backup with just a few clicks; it also provides us with a worst-case business continuity plan.”

He adds that Rewind also guarantees a more complete restore result than you would if you simply relied on a clone:

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“Some companies just create a clone of their code and store it on their local infrastructure. The downside of this approach is that you can't retrieve all of your metadata; all you can get back is your codebase.”

Another important (but not very well known) reason to back up GitHub is theShared Responsibility Model. Here's how it works: Just because your data is stored in the cloud doesn't mean it's safe to lose. SaaS providers and their usersto sharethe responsibility to protect the data stored on the platform. Most SaaS providers explicitly limit their liability for any form of data loss, theft, or compromise. Consider these provisions included in GitHub'sConditions of service:

“You understand and agree that we will not be liable to you or any third party for any loss of profit, use, goodwill, or data, or for any incidental, indirect, special, consequential, or exemplary damages, howsoever caused, arising from in :

  • the use, disclosure or display of your User Generated Content;
  • your use or inability to use the Service;
  • any modification, price change, suspension or discontinuation of the Service;
  • the Service in general or the software or systems that make the Service available;
  • unauthorized access to or alterations to your transmissions or data;
  • statements or conduct of third parties on the Service;
  • any other user interaction you enter or receive through your use of the Service; either
  • any other matter related to the Service.

Our liability is limited whether or not we have been advised of the possibility of such damages, and even if a remedy set forth in this Agreement fails of its essential purpose. We shall have no liability for any failure or delay due to matters beyond our reasonable control."

Understanding GitHub backup options

When backing up to GitHub, you have two options: build or buy. With the former, you allocate internal resources to develop and maintain a custom backup solution. With the latter, you invest in a third-party tool.

Your decision will depend on where you want your internal resources to be focused and how much maintenance you want your developers to do. A DIY backup model means you'll have to divert valuable time and resources from higher-priority work.

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(insert DIY backup cost calculator widget)

Learn more about rolling back backups to GitHub

Rewind Backups for GitHub offers several important features beyond simple repository recovery:

  • nightly backups
  • Synchronize with Amazon S3
  • audit log
  • Backup of issues, milestones, pull requests, and other essential metadata
  • Restore directly to GitHub
  • No 90-day limit on backup retention

If you're interested in getting serious about code backups, check out Rewind'sGitHub repository backupand recovery tool.


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