GitHub Personal Access Token

GitHub Personal Access Token

Introduction to Personal Access Token in GitHub

GitHub Personal Access Tokens (PATs) are a type of token that can be used for authentication and security purposes in the GitHub platform. PATs provide a secure way to access the GitHub API and repositories without needing to enter your username and password each time.

Using PATs can help improve workflow efficiency, simplify API authentication, and enhance the overall security of your GitHub account. PATs differ from other authentication methods in GitHub, such as OAuth or SSH keys, as they are specifically designed for API usage.

Why Use Personal Access Token in GitHub

Using Personal Access Tokens in GitHub is crucial for securing your GitHub account. PATs provide a secure method for authenticating and accessing GitHub API and repositories, without the need for username and password input.

Additionally, using PATs can simplify your workflow by providing a quicker and easier way to access your repositories. PATs also allow for better security control, as you can manage and revoke access for specific tokens, rather than relying on just a username and password.

How to Create Personal Access Token in GitHub

Creating a new PAT in GitHub is a simple process. Follow the steps below to create a new PAT:

  • Log in to your GitHub account.

  • Click on your profile picture and select "Settings".

  • Click on "Developer settings" in the left sidebar, and then click on "Personal access tokens".

  • Click the "Generate new token" button with dropdown. You can choose what type of token you want to generate: Fine-grained, repo-scoped or Classic, for general use. Fine-grained tokens are still in Beta at the moment of writing this article, so I suggest to chose classic token.

  • Enter a name for your token and select the appropriate scopes for your needs.

  • Click "Generate token".

  • Copy the token to a secure location. Once you navigate away from this page, you will not be able to view the token again.

When selecting the appropriate scopes for your token, it is important to choose the minimum required access level to ensure security.

How to Use Personal Access Token in GitHub

Using a PAT in GitHub is straightforward. Here are the steps to use your PAT for API authentication and repository access:

  • For API authentication, simply pass your PAT in the "Authorization" header of your API request.

  • For repository access, enter your PAT in the password field when prompted for authentication.

Best Practices for Personal Access Token in GitHub

It is important to follow best practices when using PATs in GitHub to ensure security and optimal usage. Here are some best practices for managing PATs:

  • Regularly review and revoke unused tokens.

  • Set an expiration date for your tokens to ensure that they are not used indefinitely.

  • Use tokens with the least required access level to ensure security.

  • Do not share your tokens with others, as this can compromise your account security.

  • Consider using separate tokens for different applications or workflows.

Personal Access Tokens are an important tool for securing your GitHub account and enhancing your workflow efficiency. By following the steps outlined in this guide and practicing best practices, you can use PATs safely and efficiently in GitHub. Remember to regularly review and manage your PATs to ensure the security of your GitHub account.

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Ruslan Osipov
Written by author: Ruslan Osipov