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This version of GitHub Enterprise Server will be discontinued on 2024-06-29. No patch releases will be made, even for critical security issues. For better performance, improved security, and new features, upgrade to the latest version of GitHub Enterprise Server. For help with the upgrade, contact GitHub Enterprise support.

Adding a license to a repository

You can include an open source license in your repository to make it easier for other people to contribute.

If you include a detectable license in your repository, people who visit your repository will see it at the top of the repository page. To read the entire license file, click the license name.

Screenshot of the main page of the github-linguist/linguist repository. In the right sidebar, "MIT license," preceded by a law icon, is outlined in dark orange.

Open source licenses enable others to freely use, change, and distribute the project in your repository. For more information on repository licenses, see "Licensing a repository."

Including an open source license in your repository

  1. On your GitHub Enterprise Server instance, navigate to the main page of the repository.

  2. Above the list of files, using the Add file drop-down, click Create new file.

  3. In the file name field, type LICENSE or LICENSE.md (with all caps).

  4. On the Edit new file tab, paste the full text of the license you want to use.

  5. In the "Commit message" field, type a short, meaningful commit message that describes the change you made to the file. You can attribute the commit to more than one author in the commit message. For more information, see "Creating a commit with multiple authors."

  6. Below the commit message fields, decide whether to add your commit to the current branch or to a new branch. If your current branch is main, you should choose to create a new branch for your commit and then create a pull request. For more information, see "Creating a pull request".

    Screenshot of a GitHub pull request showing a radio button to commit directly to the main branch or to create a new branch. New branch is selected.

  7. Click Commit changes or Propose changes.

Further reading