Accessing private GitHub repos

GitHub is used to store class materials (lab notebooks, lecture notebooks, etc), and nbgitpuller is used to distribute it to students. By default, nbgitpuller only supports public GitHub repositories. However, Berkeley’s JupyterHubs are set up to allow pulling from private repositories as well.

Public repositories are still preferred, but if you want to distribute a private repository to your students, you can do so.

  1. Go to the GitHub app for the hub you are interested in.

    1. R Hub

    2. DataHub

    3. Open an issue if you want more hubs supported.

  2. Click the ‘Install’ button.

  3. Select the organization / user containing the private repository you want to distribute on the JupyterHub. If you are not the owner or administrator of this organization, you might need extra permissions to do this action.

  4. Select ‘Only select repositories’, and below that select the private repositories you want to distribute to this JupyterHub.

  5. Click the ‘Install’ button. The JupyterHub you picked now has access to this private repository. You can revoke this anytime by coming back to this page, and removing the repo from the list of allowed repos. You can also totally uninstall the GitHub app.

  6. You can now make a link for your repo at If you had just created your repo, you might have to specify main instead of master for the branch name, since GitHub changed the name of the default branch recently.

That’s it! You’re all set. You can distribute these links to your students, and they’ll be able to access your materials! You can also use more traditional methods (like the git commandline tool, or RStudio’s git interface) to access this repo as well.

Note: Everyone on the selected JupyterHub can clone your private repo if you do this. They won’t be able to see that this repo exists, but if they get their hands on your nbgitpuller link they can fetch that too. More fine-grained permissions coming soon.