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Alternatives to forking into the same account

GitHub Staff

People often ask the Support Team if one GitHub account can own two repositories in the same network. (A network consists of a root repository, its forks, forks of its forks, and so on.) Sometimes, people want to fork the same repository to their user account twice, so they can maintain two diverging projects. Other times, they want to fork an organization's repository to that same organization.


It's not currently possible for one account to own multiple repositories in the same network, but here are some alternative workflows that will accomplish the same goals.


Using GitHub Flow


We recommend using GitHub Flow in most situations. GitHub Flow involves each contributor adding commits to topic branches and then using pull requests to merge those changes into the default branch, usually master. In many ways, each branch is like a fork owned by the same account! For more information, see "Understanding the GitHub Flow."


This approach does involve giving contributors Write permissions to your repository. If you're concerned about contributors making irrevocable changes to important branches like master, you can protect those branches. For more information, see "About protected branches."


Forking into a different account


If you'd rather use two separate repositories, another option is to create a fork in a different user or organization account. This is a great approach when you want someone to contribute to your project without having Write permissions to the original repository. That person can fork the repository to their user account, add commits to their fork, and then open a pull request to merge their changes upstream. For more information, see "Creating a pull request from a fork."


Just remember that private forks have special rules. Private forks inherit the permissions structure of the parent repository and will be automatically deleted if the owner loses access to the parent repository. For more information, see "About forks" and "Deleting a repository."


Duplicating the repository


If the new repository absolutely must be owned by the same account, you can duplicate the repository. This creates a new repository that starts out identical to the original repository but is not a fork. For more information, see "Duplicating a repository."


Because the new repository is not a fork, you won't be able to create pull requests between the two repositories. However, you can still push and pull changes between the two repositories by adding the original repository as remote for the new repository. For more information, see "Adding a remote."


Need help?


Have questions about any of these options? Ask the Support Team! We'd be glad to help.

1 Comment
Ground Controller Lvl 1

This feels like a simple, missing feature, despite the workarounds. If you can still pull and push, you should allow PRs.