How many users does Github have right now?

15.82M and growing every second. Amazing!

Github, the popular git repository hosting website has been growing tremendously since it’s foundation in 2008. A simple metric to measure this growth lies in the % increase in the number of users on their website every year.

From around 1.2M users in 2012 to 3M users in January, 2013 to around 8M users in November, 2014, the Github users seems to be doubling up every year, i.e, the % increase is around 100%. Thus accordingly, the expected number of Github users by 2015 would be around 16M. Amazing, isn’t it!

The official Github Press currently states that there are 11.7 million users. However, this is way less than the expected number of Github users by 2015.

This made me wonder on how many users does Github actually have right now. So, I started digging into this. The goal was to find the total number of accounts on Github. Turns out, this was simpler than I thought. The Github API is very powerful, and it lets you search for all the new Github users created since a particular user-id.

An example query to get the user details would look something like this:

https://api.github.com/users?since={user-id}  # where user-id is the numeric user-id of the Github user, e.g. 1, 10, 100000, ...

So, the problem was now reduced to finding the first number for which the above query returns an empty set. I started to input big numbers, in millions and tried the run the above query, the first number I tried was 16000000.

https://api.github.com/users?since=16000000

This returned an empty set, so now I know that the total number of Github users are less than 16M at the current point in time (November 13, 2015). The next guesses were obvious, they were 15.XM, where X = 1, 2, … , 9

I got the user lists until 15.8M users, thus indicating that the total number of Github users right now are between 15.8M and 15.9M. Fiddling more with these numbers, I got the number of the users to be between 15.822M and 15.823M. Running a simple linear search with increment of 30 (30 is the number of users returned with each query) would reveal the exact number of users.

So, I wrote a simple JavaScript code to get exact number of Github users. It’s also available here, https://gist.github.com/ankitaggarwal011/b8cba8c8635e7a47ea63 .

function getUserCount(start) {
    $.getJSON("https://api.github.com/users?since=" + start, function(data) {
        if(data.length <= 0) {
            console.log(start);
            return;
        }
        return getUserCount(start + data.length);
    });
}

// Insert jQuery to import getJSON method
var jq = document.createElement('script');
jq.onload = getUserCount(15822000);
jq.src = "//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.4/jquery.min.js";
document.body.appendChild(jq);


This gave me 15822467 Github users at the time of writing this article (November 13, 2015 00:59 IST). There are still more than 45 days to go until 2016, and Github can definitely reach their expected 16M users goal. Amazing growth. Right!


Note: The total accounts would include the deactivated or deleted accounts as well. So, it may not truly represent the number of active Github users.

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