Hosting Games on GitHub

Lee Reilly bio photo By Lee Reilly

The intended audience for this post is rather specific: Game-Off, Game On, Global Game Jam and other game jam particpants. Actually, anyone interested in using GitHub to host both their games’ source code and the playable version may be interested.

If you have a static-ish game (HTML5, JavaScript, Flash, Unity, etc) with no serverside dependncies (databases, scoreboards, multiplayer, etc) then you can leverage GitHub Pages for free, fast, and reliable hosting.


If you’re going to follow along with this micro tutorial, I’m assuming the following:

The simple example I have shows basic command line interaction. If you’re not comfortable on the command line, you can can also follow along with GitHub’s Mac or Windows clients.

Level 1: Forking

I’m not going to creating a game from scratch. Instead, I’m just going to fork the game Coil.

Let’s begin with forking that repository now.

Level 2: Cloning

Next, clone the repository that you’ve just forked (replace leereilly with your username obviously):

$ git clone
Cloning into 'Coil'...
remote: Counting objects: 37, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (26/26), done.
remote: Total 37 (delta 11), reused 35 (delta 9)
Unpacking objects: 100% (37/37), done.

Level 3: Playing

If you open the index.html file you should be able to play the game locally.

$ cd Coil/
$ open index.html

Level 4: Pushing

To host the game on GitHub you’ll need to create a branch called gh-pages.

$ git co -b gh-pages
Switched to a new branch 'gh-pages'
$ git push origin gh-pages
Total 0 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0)
 * [new branch]      gh-pages -> gh-pages

Within a few minutes your game will be available at Again, replace leereilly with your username.

Level 5: Custom Domain Names

You can also set up custom domain names. The CNAME file in my leereilly/ repository ensures that that redirects to

Games Hosted on GitHub

Here are a couple of random #ggo12 games that are using GitHub for version control and hosting: