Contributor’s Guide

We welcome pull requests from #freeCodeCamp #campers (our #students) and seasoned #JavaScript #developers alike! Follow these steps to contribute:

Find an issue that needs assistance by searching for the Help Wanted tag.

Let us know you are working on it by posting a comment on the issue.

Follow the Contribution Guidelines to start working on the issue.

Remember to feel free to ask for help in our Contributors Gitter room.

Working on your first Pull Request? You can learn how from this free series How to Contribute to an Open Source Project on GitHub

If you’ve found a bug that is not on the board, follow these steps.

Contribution Guidelines

Forking The Project
Create A Branch
Setup Linting
Setup freeCodeCamp
Make Changes
Run The Test Suite
Squash Your Commits
Creating A Pull Request
Common Steps
How We Review and Merge Pull Requests
How We Close Stale Issues
Next Steps
Other resources

Prerequisite Version
MongoDB ~ ^3
Node.js ~ ^6
npm (comes with Node) ~ ^3
Updating to the latest releases is recommended.
If Node or MongoDB is already installed in your machine, run the following commands to validate the versions:

node -v
mongo –version
If your versions are lower than the prerequisite versions, you should update.

Platform-specific guides to setting up a development environment:

How to clone and setup the freeCodeCamp website on a Windows pc
How to Clone and Setup the freeCodeCamp Website on a Mac
Forking The Project

Setting Up Your System

Install Git or your favorite Git client.
(Optional) Setup an SSH Key for GitHub.
Create a parent projects directory on your system. For this guide, it will be assumed that it is /mean/
Forking freeCodeCamp

Go to the top level freeCodeCamp repository:
Click the “Fork” Button in the upper right hand corner of the interface (More Details Here)
After the repository has been forked, you will be taken to your copy of the FCC repo at yourUsername/freeCodeCamp
Cloning Your Fork

Open a Terminal / Command Line / Bash Shell in your projects directory (i.e.: /yourprojectdirectory/)
Clone your fork of freeCodeCamp
$ git clone
(make sure to replace yourUsername with your GitHub Username)

This will download the entire FCC repo to your projects directory.

Setup Your Upstream

Change directory to the new freeCodeCamp directory (cd freeCodeCamp)
Add a remote to the official FCC repo:
$ git remote add upstream
Congratulations, you now have a local copy of the FCC repo!

Maintaining Your Fork

Now that you have a copy of your fork, there is work you will need to do to keep it current.

Rebasing from Upstream

Do this prior to every time you create a branch for a PR:

Make sure you are on the staging branch
$ git status
On branch staging
Your branch is up-to-date with ‘origin/staging’.
If your aren’t on staging, resolve outstanding files / commits and checkout the staging branch
$ git checkout staging
Do a pull with rebase against upstream
$ git pull –rebase upstream staging
This will pull down all of the changes to the official staging branch, without making an additional commit in your local repo.
(Optional) Force push your updated staging branch to your GitHub fork
$ git push origin staging –force
This will overwrite the staging branch of your fork.
Create A Branch

Before you start working, you will need to create a separate branch specific to the issue / feature you’re working on. You will push your work to this branch.

Naming Your Branch

Name the branch something like fix/xxx or feature/xxx where xxx is a short description of the changes or feature you are attempting to add. For example fix/email-login would be a branch where you fix something specific to email login.

Adding Your Branch

To create a branch on your local machine (and switch to this branch):

$ git checkout -b [name_of_your_new_branch]
and to push to GitHub:

$ git push origin [name_of_your_new_branch]
If you need more help with branching, take a look at this.

Setup Linting

You should have ESLint running in your editor, and it will highlight anything doesn’t conform to freeCodeCamp’s JavaScript Style Guide (you can find a summary of those rules here).

Please do not ignore any linting errors, as they are meant to help you and to ensure a clean and simple code base.
Setup freeCodeCamp

Once you have freeCodeCamp cloned, before you start the application, you first need to install all of the dependencies:

  1. Install NPM dependencies

npm install

  1. Install Gulp globally

npm install -g gulp
Then you need to add the private environment variables (API Keys):

  1. Create a copy of the “sample.env” and name it as “.env”.
  2. Populate it with the necessary API keys and secrets:

cp sample.env .env
Then edit the .env file and modify the API keys only for services that you will use.

Note: Not all keys are required, to run the app locally, however MONGOHQ_URL is the most important one. Unless you have MongoDB running in a setup different than the defaults, the URL in the sample.env should work fine.

You can leave the other keys as they are. Keep in mind if you want to use more services you’ll have to get your own API keys for those services and edit those entries accordingly in the .env file.

Now you will need to start MongoDB, and then seed the database, then you can start the application:

  1. Start the mongo server in a separate terminal


  1. Initialize freeCodeCamp
  2. This will seed the database for the first time.
  3. This command should only be run once.

npm run only-once

  1. start the application

Now navigate to your browser and open http://localhost:3000. If the app loads, congratulations – you’re all set. Otherwise, let us know by asking in the Contributors chat room on Gitter. There also might be an error in the console of your browser or in Bash / Terminal / Command Line that will help identify the problem. If the app launches but you are encountering errors with the UI itself, for example if fonts are not being loaded or if the code editor is not displaying properly, you may try the following:

  1. Remove all installed node modules

rm -rf node_modules

  1. Reinstall npm packages

npm install

  1. Seed the database (optional)

node seed

  1. Re-start the application

Make Changes

This bit is up to you!

How to find the code in the freeCodeCamp codebase to fix/edit?

The best way to find out any code you wish to change/add or remove is using the GitHub search bar at the top of the repository page. For example, you could search for a challenge name and the results will display all the files along with line numbers. Then you can proceed to the files and verify this is the area that you were looking forward to edit. Always feel free to reach out to the chat room when you are not certain of any thing specific in the code.

Changes to the seed files

If you made changes to any file in the /seed directory, you need to run

$ node seed
in order to see the changes.

Run The Test Suite

When you’re ready to share your code, run the test suite:

$ npm test
and ensure all tests pass.

Squash Your Commits

When you make a pull request, all of your changes need to be in one commit.

If you have made more than one commit, then you will need to squash your commits.

To do this, see Squashing Your Commits.

Creating A Pull Request

What is a Pull Request?

A pull request (PR) is a method of submitting proposed changes to the freeCodeCamp Repo (or any Repo, for that matter). You will make changes to copies of the files which make up freeCodeCamp in a personal fork, then apply to have them accepted by freeCodeCamp proper.

Need Help?

freeCodeCamp Issue Mods and staff are on hand to assist with Pull Request related issues in our Contributors chat room.


Take away only one thing from this document: Never, EVER make edits to the staging branch. ALWAYS make a new branch BEFORE you edit files. This is critical, because if your PR is not accepted, your copy of staging will be forever sullied and the only way to fix it is to delete your fork and re-fork.


There are two methods of creating a pull request for freeCodeCamp:

Editing files on a local clone (recommended)
Editing files via the GitHub Interface
Method 1: Editing via your Local Fork (Recommended)

This is the recommended method. Read about How to Setup and Maintain a Local Instance of freeCodeCamp.

Perform the maintenance step of rebasing staging.
Ensure you are on the staging branch using git status:
$ git status
On branch staging
Your branch is up-to-date with ‘origin/staging’.

nothing to commit, working directory clean
If you are not on staging or your working directory is not clean, resolve any outstanding files/commits and checkout staging git checkout staging

Create a branch off of staging with git: git checkout -B branch/name-here Note: Branch naming is important. Use a name like fix/short-fix-description or feature/short-feature-description. Review the Contribution Guidelines for more detail.

Edit your file(s) locally with the editor of your choice

Check your git status to see unstaged files.

Add your edited files: git add path/to/filename.ext You can also do: git add . to add all unstaged files. Take care, though, because you can accidentally add files you don’t want added. Review your git status first.

Commit your edits: git commit -m “Brief Description of Commit”. Do not add the issue number in the commit message.

Squash your commits, if there are more than one.

Push your commits to your GitHub Fork: git push -u origin branch/name-here

Go to Common Steps

Method 2: Editing via the GitHub Interface

Note: Editing via the GitHub Interface is not recommended, since it is not possible to update your fork via GitHub’s interface without deleting and recreating your fork.

Read the Wiki article for further information

Common Steps

Once the edits have been committed, you will be prompted to create a pull request on your fork’s GitHub Page.

By default, all pull requests should be against the FCC main repo, staging branch.

Submit a pull request from your branch to freeCodeCamp’s staging branch.

The title (also called the subject) of your PR should be descriptive of your changes and succinctly indicates what is being fixed.

Do not add the issue number in the PR title or commit message.

Examples: Add Test Cases to Bonfire Drop It Correct typo in Waypoint Size Your Images

In the body of your PR include a more detailed summary of the changes you made and why.

If the PR is meant to fix an existing bug/issue then, at the end of your PR’s description, append the keyword closes and #xxxx (where xxxx is the issue number). Example: closes #1337. This tells GitHub to close the existing issue, if the PR is merged.
Indicate if you have tested on a local copy of the site or not.

How We Review and Merge Pull Requests

freeCodeCamp has a team of volunteer Issue Moderators. These Issue Moderators routinely go through open pull requests in a process called Quality Assurance (QA).

If an Issue Moderator QA’s a pull request and confirms that the new code does what it is supposed without seeming to introduce any new bugs, they will comment “LGTM” which means “Looks good to me.”

Another Issue Moderator will QA the same pull request. Once they have also confirmed that the new code does what it is supposed to without seeming to introduce any new bugs, they will merge the pull request.

If you would like to apply to join our Issue Moderator team – which is a Core Team position – message @BerkeleyTrue with links to 5 of your pull requests that have been accepted and 5 issues where you have helped someone else through commenting or QA’ing.

How We Close Stale Issues

We will close any issues or pull requests that have been inactive for more than 15 days, except those that match the following criteria:

bugs that are confirmed
pull requests that are waiting on other pull requests to be merged
features that are a part of a GitHub project
Next Steps

If your PR is accepted

Once your PR is accepted, you may delete the branch you created to submit it. This keeps your working fork clean.

You can do this with a press of a button on the GitHub PR interface. You can delete the local copy of the branch with: git branch -D branch/to-delete-name

If your PR is rejected

Don’t despair! You should receive solid feedback from the Issue Moderators as to why it was rejected and what changes are needed.

Many Pull Requests, especially first Pull Requests, require correction or updating. If you have used the GitHub interface to create your PR, you will need to close your PR, create a new branch, and re-submit.

If you have a local copy of the repo, you can make the requested changes and amend your commit with: git commit –amend This will update your existing commit. When you push it to your fork you will need to do a force push to overwrite your old commit: git push –force

Be sure to post in the PR conversation that you have made the requested changes.

Other resources

Style Guide for freeCodeCamp Challenges

Searching for Your Issue on GitHub

Creating a New GitHub Issue

Select Issues for Contributing Using Labels

How to clone the freeCodeCamp website on a Windows pc

How to log in to your local FCC site – using GitHub

Writing great git commit messages

Contributor Chat Support – For the FCC Repositories, and running a local instance