Configuring Docker for use with GitHub Packages

You can configure the Docker client to use GitHub Packages to publish and retrieve docker images.

GitHub Packages is available with GitHub Free, GitHub Pro, GitHub Free for organizations, GitHub Team, GitHub Enterprise Cloud, GitHub Enterprise Server 2.22, and GitHub One.


GitHub Packages is not available for private repositories owned by accounts using legacy per-repository plans. Also, accounts using legacy per-repository plans cannot access GitHub Container Registry since these accounts are billed by repository. For more information, see "GitHub's products."

In this article

About Docker and GitHub Packages

Note: The GitHub Packages Docker registry will be superseded by GitHub Container Registry. To learn how to migrate your existing Docker images and any workflows using them, see "Migrating to GitHub Container Registry for Docker images" and "Getting started with GitHub Container Registry."

When installing or publishing a docker image, GitHub Packages does not currently support foreign layers, such as Windows images.

Authenticating to GitHub Packages

Note: The GitHub Packages Docker registry will be superseded by GitHub Container Registry. To learn how to migrate your existing Docker images and any workflows using them, see "Migrating to GitHub Container Registry for Docker images" and "Getting started with GitHub Container Registry."

You need an access token to publish, install, and delete packages. You can use a personal access token to authenticate with your username directly to GitHub Packages or the GitHub API. When you create a personal access token, you can assign the token different scopes depending on your needs.

To authenticate using a GitHub Actions workflow:

  • For package registries (PACKAGE-REGISTRY.pkg.github.com/OWNER/REPOSITORY/IMAGE-NAME), you can use a GITHUB_TOKEN.
  • For the container registry (ghcr.io/OWNER/IMAGE-NAME), you must use a personal access token.

Authenticating with a personal access token

You must use a personal access token with the appropriate scopes to publish and install packages in GitHub Packages. For more information, see "About GitHub Packages."

You can authenticate to GitHub Packages with Docker using the docker login command.

To keep your credentials secure, we recommend you save your personal access token in a local file on your computer and use Docker's --password-stdin flag, which reads your token from a local file.

$ cat ~/TOKEN.txt | docker login https://docker.pkg.github.com -u USERNAME --password-stdin

To use this example login command, replace USERNAME with your GitHub username and ~/TOKEN.txt with the file path to your personal access token for GitHub.

For more information, see "Docker login."

Authenticating with the GITHUB_TOKEN

If you are using a GitHub Actions workflow, you can use a GITHUB_TOKEN to publish and consume packages in GitHub Packages without needing to store and manage a personal access token. For more information, see "Authenticating with the GITHUB_TOKEN."

Publishing an image

Note: The GitHub Packages Docker registry will be superseded by GitHub Container Registry. To learn how to migrate your existing Docker images and any workflows using them, see "Migrating to GitHub Container Registry for Docker images" and "Getting started with GitHub Container Registry."

Note: Image names must only use lowercase letters.

GitHub Packages supports multiple top-level Docker images per repository. A repository can have any number of image tags. You may experience degraded service publishing or installing Docker images larger than 10GB, layers are capped at 5GB each. For more information, see "Docker tag" in the Docker documentation.

After you publish a package, you can view the package on GitHub. For more information, see "Viewing packages."

  1. Determine the image name and ID for your docker image using docker images.

    $ docker images
    > < >
    > REPOSITORY        TAG        IMAGE ID       CREATED      SIZE
    > IMAGE_NAME        VERSION    IMAGE_ID       4 weeks ago  1.11MB
  2. Using the Docker image ID, tag the docker image, replacing OWNER with the name of the user or organization account that owns the repository, REPOSITORY with the name of the repository containing your project, IMAGE_NAME with name of the package or image, and VERSION with package version at build time.

    $ docker tag IMAGE_ID docker.pkg.github.com/OWNER/REPOSITORY/IMAGE_NAME:VERSION
  3. If you haven't already built a docker image for the package, build the image, replacing OWNER with the name of the user or organization account that owns the repository, REPOSITORY with the name of the repository containing your project, IMAGE_NAME with name of the package or image, VERSION with package version at build time, and PATH to the image if it isn't in the current working directory.

    $ docker build -t docker.pkg.github.com/OWNER/REPOSITORY/IMAGE_NAME:VERSION PATH
  4. Publish the image to GitHub Packages.

    $ docker push docker.pkg.github.com/OWNER/REPOSITORY/IMAGE_NAME:VERSION

    Note: You must push your image using IMAGE_NAME:VERSION and not using IMAGE_NAME:SHA.

Example publishing a Docker image

Note: The GitHub Packages Docker registry will be superseded by GitHub Container Registry. To learn how to migrate your existing Docker images and any workflows using them, see "Migrating to GitHub Container Registry for Docker images" and "Getting started with GitHub Container Registry."

You can publish version 1.0 of the monalisa image to the octocat/octo-app repository using an image ID.

$ docker images

> REPOSITORY           TAG      IMAGE ID      CREATED      SIZE
> monalisa             1.0      c75bebcdd211  4 weeks ago  1.11MB

# Tag the image with OWNER/REPO/IMAGE_NAME
$ docker tag c75bebcdd211 docker.pkg.github.com/octocat/octo-app/monalisa:1.0

# Push the image to GitHub Packages
$ docker push docker.pkg.github.com/octocat/octo-app/monalisa:1.0

You can publish a new Docker image for the first time and name it monalisa.

# Build the image with docker.pkg.github.com/OWNER/REPOSITORY/IMAGE_NAME:VERSION
# Assumes Dockerfile resides in the current working directory (.)
$ docker build -t docker.pkg.github.com/octocat/octo-app/monalisa:1.0 .

# Push the image to GitHub Packages
$ docker push docker.pkg.github.com/octocat/octo-app/monalisa:1.0

Downloading an image

Note: The GitHub Packages Docker registry will be superseded by GitHub Container Registry. To learn how to migrate your existing Docker images and any workflows using them, see "Migrating to GitHub Container Registry for Docker images" and "Getting started with GitHub Container Registry."

You can use the docker pull command to install a docker image from GitHub Packages, replacing OWNER with the name of the user or organization account that owns the repository, REPOSITORY with the name of the repository containing your project, IMAGE_NAME with name of the package or image, and TAG_NAME with tag for the image you want to install.

$ docker pull docker.pkg.github.com/OWNER/REPOSITORY/IMAGE_NAME:TAG_NAME

Note: You must pull the image using IMAGE_NAME:VERSION and not using IMAGE_NAME:SHA.

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