I have seen people talking about GitHub as a repository for source code and I myself use GitHub for distributed version control, but one thing I didn't understand is why don't people use it for sharing video and audio files?

Sure, the compression takes long time (it took ten minutes for a small 5MB .mp3 file for me) but it's actually possible to upload files like that right?

Note: I know that we can compress audio and video into a format like .tar and upload it painlessly on GitHub, but that's not what I am really concerned about.


  • What in GitHub makes it really bad place to use it for cloud storage?
    Is it just that delta compression process that makes it a bad option?
  • What is the maximum storage space that GitHub offers for free accounts?
  • Is there any way we can hack GitHub commands, using which we can use GitHub like Dropbox? (may be by disabling compression, or something like that)
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    git is a version control program for text document, not a binary compression tool. Jan 15, 2013 at 11:39
  • @Sathya: I think Github uses the delta compression to check differences between previous and current versions and version controls them accordingly. Whereas Dropbox uses the same to check differences, and then synchronizes both of them. I think Dropbox removes older versions of the file, unlike Git where we can revert back to older versions. I can't understand why people don't use Git like their Dropbox. I think it can do what Dropbox does, at least theoretically. Doesn't git version control using pretty much same algorithms? Correct me if I am wrong here. Jan 15, 2013 at 12:03
  • github is a front-end for git - and I really, really doubt it uses delta compressions and what not - all that is done by git, which is why it's an excellent tool for comparing text, not images & other binary data. Dropbox stores revision history of your data as well - 30 days on a free account with an option to store permanently. Theoretically it might seem both do the same, the underlying techniques are pretty different. It's important to note that Dropbox is a sync tool, while git is a version control tool. They aren't the same. Jan 15, 2013 at 12:10
  • @Sathya: Yeah, I know that github is a front end for git. git does use delta compression. You can see more details about it here: stackoverflow.com/questions/9478023/… I didn't knew that detail about Dropbox. Thanks! Yes, they were not intended for same purpose, but I asked this question to know about git even more. I could learn about algorithm, but knowing what git do "that" special to make it specific for "source files only" is a question for which answer couldn't be easily found by me. Jan 15, 2013 at 12:27

3 Answers 3

  • It is not as easy as Dropbox or similar services for that purpose.
  • The free accounts can only have public repositories, so you would also need to pay to keep your private documents on there. Dropbox and such do provide this for free.
  • The more public nature of Github makes me assume takedowns would be more frequent for illegal content sharing.
  • It is not marketed towards that goal. Most people would not think of using it for these reasons.
  • To be frank, all of them are good reasons why people don't use github for that purpose. Seems like there really is no way for us to change how git operates, so that we could change things we share on git. How depressing... :( Jan 15, 2013 at 15:30
  • Why is it depressing? I don't understand your reasons for wanting Github to be used that way. Jan 15, 2013 at 15:32
  • Simply because I think git doesn't have any limits over how much data we can store online - for free. Isn't that true? Jan 15, 2013 at 15:34
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    No, Github repo's have a (soft) limit of 1Gb: help.github.com/articles/what-is-my-disk-quota Jan 15, 2013 at 16:18
  • 1
    That was a good link you gave there... Thanks! Jan 16, 2013 at 9:03

Answer from GitHub: Working with large files

While git is terrific for a great number of use cases, it has trouble with large files. If you are pushing large files to GitHub, you might want to evaluate your workflow to make sure those files are truly necessary. Game assets, such as graphics, might be required for your repository, while SQL database dumps probably aren't.

GitHub warns you when you push a file larger than 50 MB. We'll reject pushes containing files larger than 100 MB. We do this for a few reasons.

In many cases, committing large files is unintentional and causes unneeded repository bloat. Every time someone clones a repository with a large file, they'll have to fetch that file, adding excess time to their download.

In addition, if a repository is 10 GB in size, Git's architecture requires another 10 GB of extra free space available at all times. This allows Git to move the files around in its normal course of operations. Unfortunately, this also means that we must be much less flexible with how we store these repositories.


Bitbucket offers private repos for groups of up to five members:

There is no hard size limit, but they recommend staying under 1 GB: Bitbucket maximum size

You can host your own Git service using a VPS. Digital Ocean is $5/mo. for 20GB:

And some options for privately hosting shareable files: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/3-self-hosted-dropbox-alternatives-tested/

  • 2
    Why the downvote? If you leave some feedback, I can improve the answer.
    – Max Heiber
    Sep 25, 2015 at 18:12

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