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degit — straightforward project scaffolding

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degit makes copies of git repositories. When you run degit some-user/some-repo, it will find the latest commit on and download the associated tar file to ~/.degit/some-user/some-repo/commithash.tar.gz if it doesn't already exist locally. (This is much quicker than using git clone, because you're not downloading the entire git history.)

Requires Node 8 or above, because async and await are the cat's pyjamas


npm install -g degit



The simplest use of degit is to download the master branch of a repo from GitHub to the current working directory:

degit user/repo

# these commands are equivalent
degit github:user/repo

Or you can download from GitLab and BitBucket:

# download from GitLab
degit gitlab:user/repo

# download from BitBucket
degit bitbucket:user/repo

# download from Sourcehut

Specify a tag, branch or commit

The default branch is master.

degit user/repo#dev       # branch
degit user/repo#v1.2.3    # release tag
degit user/repo#1234abcd  # commit hash

Create a new folder for the project

If the second argument is omitted, the repo will be cloned to the current directory.

degit user/repo my-new-project

Specify a subdirectory

To clone a specific subdirectory instead of the entire repo, just add it to the argument:

degit user/repo/subdirectory

HTTPS proxying

If you have an https_proxy environment variable, Degit will use it.

Private repositories

Private repos can be cloned by specifying --mode=git (the default is tar). In this mode, Degit will use git under the hood. It's much slower than fetching a tarball, which is why it's not the default.

Note: this clones over SSH, not HTTPS.

See all options

degit --help

Not supported

  • Private repositories

Pull requests are very welcome!

Wait, isn't this just git clone --depth 1?

A few salient differences:

  • If you git clone, you get a .git folder that pertains to the project template, rather than your project. You can easily forget to re-init the repository, and end up confusing yourself
  • Caching and offline support (if you already have a .tar.gz file for a specific commit, you don't need to fetch it again).
  • Less to type (degit user/repo instead of git clone --depth 1
  • Composability via actions
  • Future capabilities — interactive mode, friendly onboarding and postinstall scripts

JavaScript API

You can also use degit inside a Node script:

const degit = require('degit');

const emitter = degit('user/repo', {
	cache: true,
	force: true,
	verbose: true,

emitter.on('info', info => {

emitter.clone('path/to/dest').then(() => {


You can manipulate repositories after they have been cloned with actions, specified in a degit.json file that lives at the top level of the working directory. Currently, there are two actions — clone and remove. Additional actions may be added in future.


// degit.json
		"action": "clone",
		"src": "user/another-repo"

This will clone user/another-repo, preserving the contents of the existing working directory. This allows you to, say, add a new or starter file to a repo that you do not control. The cloned repo can contain its own degit.json actions.


// degit.json
		"action": "remove",
		"files": ["LICENSE"]

Remove a file at the specified path.

See also