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Enabling Dependabot for your enterprise

You can allow users of your GitHub Enterprise Server instance to find and fix vulnerabilities in code dependencies by enabling Dependabot alerts and Dependabot updates.

Enterprise owners can enable Dependabot.

About Dependabot for GitHub Enterprise Server

Dependabot helps users of your GitHub Enterprise Server instance find and fix vulnerabilities in their dependencies. You can enable Dependabot alerts to notify users about vulnerable dependencies and Dependabot updates to fix the vulnerabilities and keep dependencies updated to the latest version.

About Dependabot alerts

With Dependabot alerts, GitHub identifies insecure dependencies in repositories and creates alerts on your GitHub Enterprise Server instance, using data from the GitHub Advisory Database and the dependency graph service.

We add advisories to the GitHub Advisory Database from the following sources:

After you enable Dependabot alerts for your enterprise, vulnerability data is synced from the GitHub Advisory Database to your instance once every hour. Only GitHub-reviewed advisories are synchronized. For more information about advisory data, see "Browsing security advisories in the GitHub Advisory Database" in the GitHub.com documentation.

You can also choose to manually sync vulnerability data at any time. For more information, see "Viewing the vulnerability data for your enterprise."

Note: When you enable Dependabot alerts, no code or information about code from your GitHub Enterprise Server instance is uploaded to GitHub.com.

When your GitHub Enterprise Server instance receives information about a vulnerability, it identifies repositories in your GitHub Enterprise Server instance that use the affected version of the dependency and generates Dependabot alerts. You can choose whether or not to notify users automatically about new Dependabot alerts.

For repositories with Dependabot alerts enabled, scanning is triggered on any push to the default branch that contains a manifest file or lock file. Additionally, when a new vulnerability record is added to your GitHub Enterprise Server instance, GitHub Enterprise Server scans all existing repositories on your GitHub Enterprise Server instance and generates alerts for any repository that is vulnerable. For more information, see "About Dependabot alerts."

About Dependabot updates

Note: Dependabot security and version updates are currently in public beta and subject to change.

After you enable Dependabot alerts, you can choose to enable Dependabot updates. When Dependabot updates are enabled for your GitHub Enterprise Server instance, users can configure repositories so that their dependencies are updated and kept secure automatically.

Note: Dependabot updates on GitHub Enterprise Server requires GitHub Actions with self-hosted runners.

By default, GitHub Actions runners used by Dependabot need access to the internet, to download updated packages from upstream package managers. For Dependabot updates powered by GitHub Connect, internet access provides your runners with a token that allows access to dependencies and advisories hosted on GitHub.com.

With Dependabot updates, GitHub automatically creates pull requests to update dependencies in two ways.

  • Dependabot version updates: Users add a Dependabot configuration file to the repository to enable Dependabot to create pull requests when a new version of a tracked dependency is released. For more information, see "About Dependabot version updates."
  • Dependabot security updates: Users toggle a repository setting to enable Dependabot to create pull requests when GitHub detects a vulnerability in one of the dependencies of the dependency graph for the repository. For more information, see "About Dependabot alerts" and "About Dependabot security updates."

Enabling Dependabot alerts

Before you can enable Dependabot alerts:

  1. In the top-right corner of GitHub Enterprise Server, click your profile photo, then click Enterprise settings. "Enterprise settings" in drop-down menu for profile photo on GitHub Enterprise Server

  2. In the enterprise account sidebar, click GitHub Connect. GitHub Connect tab in the enterprise account sidebar

  3. Under "Dependabot", to the right of "Users can receive vulnerability alerts for open source code dependencies", select the dropdown menu and click Enabled without notifications. Optionally, to enable alerts with notifications, click Enabled with notifications.

    Screenshot of the dropdown menu to enable scanning repositories for vulnerabilities

    Tip: We recommend configuring Dependabot alerts without notifications for the first few days to avoid an overload of emails. After a few days, you can enable notifications to receive Dependabot alerts as usual.

Enabling Dependabot updates

After you enable Dependabot alerts for your enterprise, you can enable Dependabot updates.

Before you enable Dependabot updates, you must configure your GitHub Enterprise Server instance to use GitHub Actions with self-hosted runners. For more information, see "Getting started with GitHub Actions for GitHub Enterprise Server."

Dependabot updates are not supported on GitHub Enterprise Server if your enterprise uses clustering.

  1. Sign in to your GitHub Enterprise Server instance at http(s)://HOSTNAME/login.

  2. From an administrative account on GitHub Enterprise Server, in the upper-right corner of any page, click .

    Screenshot of the rocket ship icon for accessing site admin settings

  3. If you're not already on the "Site admin" page, in the upper-left corner, click Site admin.

    Screenshot of "Site admin" link

  4. In the left sidebar, click Management Console. Management Console tab in the left sidebar

  5. In the left sidebar, click Security. Security sidebar

  6. Under "Security", select Dependabot security updates.

    Screenshot of the checkbox to enable or disable Dependabot security updates

  7. Under the left sidebar, click Save settings.

    Screenshot of the save settings button in the Management Console

    Note: Saving settings in the Management Console restarts system services, which could result in user-visible downtime.

  8. Wait for the configuration run to complete.

    Configuring your instance

  9. Click Visit your instance.

  10. Configure self-hosted runners to create the pull requests that will update dependencies. For more information, see "Managing self-hosted runners for Dependabot updates on your enterprise."

  11. In the top-right corner of GitHub Enterprise Server, click your profile photo, then click Enterprise settings. "Enterprise settings" in drop-down menu for profile photo on GitHub Enterprise Server

  12. In the enterprise account sidebar, click GitHub Connect. GitHub Connect tab in the enterprise account sidebar

  13. Under "Dependabot", to the right of "Users can easily upgrade to non-vulnerable open source code dependencies", click Enable.

    Screenshot of the dropdown menu to enable updating vulnerable dependencies

When you enable Dependabot alerts, you should consider also setting up GitHub Actions for Dependabot security updates. This feature allows developers to fix vulnerabilities in their dependencies. For more information, see "Managing self-hosted runners for Dependabot updates on your enterprise."

If you need enhanced security, we recommend configuring Dependabot to use private registries. For more information, see "Managing encrypted secrets for Dependabot."