How to Force git to Prompt You For a Password

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A fun git challenge! I had to make a request against a remote repository in git. The only issue is that only a shared GitHub account had access, not my own account (due to a vendor limitation). So when I occasionally needed to use this remote, I would have to log out and log in as the service account. It just seemed a bit messy.

I found a reasonable way to do this, and I’ll run through the steps below. (Have a better way? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!)

Generate an Access Token for the Shared Account

  • Login with the shared account. Since I had the credentials, I did this via a normal browser session (in a private window since I was just logging in once.)
  • Generate a personal access token. If you’re unfamiliar with this, you can follow the steps in the GitHub docs.
  • Store in my password manager. This access token is as good as a password, so I treat it with the respect it deserves.

Add the Remote in Git

  • Add the remote if it’s not already added: git remote add REMOTE_NAME THE_URL_OF_THE_REMOTE

Unset the git credential manager temporarily

I’m doing the steps here manually but it could almost certainly be automated in a tiny script.

  • Check the value of credential manager: git config --system credential.helper. Note this value for later; you will need it to set things back.
  • Unset the credential manager, which will prompt you for PW going forward: git config --system --unset credential.helper

Running the command

  • Run your applicable command, e.g. git fetch upstream in my case. You’ll be prompted for a password.
  • Use the shared account username, and the personal access token as the password

Return things to normal

  • Set the value of the credential manager back to what it was, e.g manager-core in my case: git config --system credential.helper manager-core

That will let you quickly do one-time operations as the other account without needing to log out / in, mess up your other git credentials, etc.

Happy gitting!

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