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PHP Github Updater is a utility class that helps you create an "auto-update" function for your open-source project hosted on Github.
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PHP Github Updater

PHP Github Updater is a utility class that helps you create an "auto-update" function for your open-source project hosted on Github.

It will check the releases on Github and compare it with your current version number, then allow you to download the latest or next zipball/tarball and uncompress it, replacing your files.

If you want to know how releases work on Github, check this page.


  1. PHP 5.3 or above (with cURL)
  2. Write access on your directories to download an archive, uncompress it and replace your files
  3. Github API v3 compatible


Basic Example

You'll only need one file: php-github-updater.class.php

$user = 'yosko';
$repository = 'jotter';
$localVersion = 'v0.2';

$updater = new PhpGithubUpdater($user, $repository);
if( !$updater->isUpToDate($localVersion) ) {


  1. new PhpGithubUpdater() prepare the update handler
  2. isUpToDate() fetch existing versions and checks if current version correspond to the latest
  3. installLatestVersion() downloads, extracts and installs the latest version from Github

Example with exception handling

You can catch exceptions while calling installLatestVersion():

// /!\ WARNING /!\ You should perform a backup of your current installation here!
try {
} catch (PguRemoteException $e) {
    //couldn't download latest version
} catch (PguExtractException $e) {
    //the zip is corrupted or you don't have persmission to write to the extract location
} catch (PguOverwriteException $e) {
    //version was downloaded and extracted, but the installation failed
    // /!\ WARNING /!\ You should restore your backup here!

Advanced example

You can handle each step separatly (see the documentation below).

It can be useful, for example, if you want to show your user a description of the update, or even allowing them to download a backup of their install before installing the new version.

First of all, get all the information you need, download the zip, create a backup:

$user = 'yosko';
$repository = 'jotter';
$localVersion = 'v0.2';

$updater = new PhpGithubUpdater($user, $repository);

try {
    $isUpToDate = $updater->isUpToDate($localVersion);
} catch (PguRemoteException $e) {
    //couldn't access Github API

if( !$isUpToDate ) {
    $root = '/path/to/app/root';
    $tempDir = '/temporary/download/path';
    $nextVersion = $updater->getNextVersion($localVersion);

    //download zip file onto your server in a temporary directory
    try {
        $archive = $updater->downloadVersion( $nextVersion, $tempDir );
    } catch (PguRemoteException $e) {
        //couldn't download latest version

    //extract zip file to the same temporary directory
    try {
        $extractDir = $updater->extractArchive($archive);
    } catch (PguRemoteException $e) {
        //the zip is corrupted or you don't have persmission to write to the extract location

    //BACKUP: you could do a backup here

    //get a description of the update to show to your user
    $updateTitle = $updater->getTitle($nextVersion);
    $updateDescription = $updater->getDescription($nextVersion);

Then show those informations to your user, and when the want to go to the next level, you can do the install:

$updater = new PhpGithubUpdater('yosko', 'ddb');
try {
    //note that $tempDir, $extractDir and $root were defined in the previous script
    $result = $updater->moveFilesRecursive(
} catch (PguOverwriteException $e) {
    //couldn't overwrite existing installation
    // /!\ WARNING /!\ You should restore your backup here!

//if there is any data/database upgrade to perform, you might do it here


  • Always do a backup of your installation before overwriting it!
  • You shouldn't check for newer version on each page load in your project because it access Github remotely.


If you would rather do it step by step all by yourself, here is the class documentation.

All methods are public.


Declare your updater object. A request for existing version numbers will be sent to Github API.

  • $user (required):
  • $repository (required): required repository information
  • $server (optional): useful if you want to use it on Github Enterprise, but not yet tested (default:

installVersion() and installLatestVersion()

Performs the complete download from Github and installation of a version of your app.

  • $version (required): version to install (only in installVersion())
  • $root (required): where to install version (root of your app)
  • $tempDirectory (required): where to temporary put and extract downloaded archive
  • Depends mostly on: downloadVersion(), extractArchive() and moveFilesRecursive()
  • Can throw PguOverwriteException


Save ZIP or TAR.GZ archive from Github.

  • $version (required): version to download
  • $destDirectory (required): where to save archive
  • $extension (optional): '.zip' (default) or '.tar.gz'
  • Uses getZipballUrl() or getTarballUrl()
  • Can throw PguRemoteException


Extract files from downloaded archive

  • $path (required): path to archive
  • Returns the directory name where files were extracted (looks like <user>-<repository>-<lastCommitHash>)
  • Can throw PguExtractException


Generic method to move all files from a directory to another.

  • $source (required): path to extracted files
  • $destination (required): path to files to overwrite
  • Returns true on success or false on error


Get existing releases. To also get prereleases, call fetchPrereleasesToo() first.


Gives the name of the version immediately following the given one.

  • $version (required): version to compare
  • Returns a version number or false if no result
  • Uses compareVersions()


Gives the name of the latest version existing on Github or false if no result.

getZipballUrl() and getTarballUrl()

Gives the URL to a Zip or Tar ball to download the requested version.

  • $version (required)
  • Returns a URL or false if not found

getTitle() and getDescription()

Gives the title or description (Github flavored Markdown format) of the requested version.

  • $version (required)
  • Returns a string (title or description), or an empty string if nothing found.


Checks if the given version is equal or more recent than the latest one on Github.

  • $version (required): version to check
  • Returns true if version is up-to-date
  • Uses compareVersions()


Just a wrapper for PHP's version_compare(). You might want to extend the class PhpGithubUpdater and overwrite this to implement a custom version compare algorithm.

Exemple of how it works by default: v1-anyOtherString < v1-dev < v1-alpha = v1-a < v1-beta = v1-b < v1-RC = v1-rc < v1-# < v1-pl = v1-p < v1 < v1.1

  • $version1 (required): first version to compare
  • $version2 (required): second version to compare
  • Returns
    • 1 if version1 > version2
    • 0 if version1 = version2
    • -1 if version1 < version2


Utility method to get JSONs and ZIPs from Github using cURL.


If your server is behind a proxy, you might want to define the proxy URL

  • $proxy (required): url/ip and port


Configure the type of releases you want to fetch (only main releases if you don't call fetchPrereleasesToo()). You might want to force another check after that (getReleases(true)).

  • $prereleasesToo (optional): set to false I you don't want prereleases


PHP Github Updater was written by Yosko, all rights reserved. It is distributed under the GNU LGPL license.


  • v2 (2014-01-08):
    • switched from tags to releases
    • option to fetch prereleases too
    • access to release title and description
    • added version number at the top of the file
    • rewrote some methods
    • multiple fixes
  • v1 (2014-01-02): initial version
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