Hacktoberfest 2023 Guide

How to contribute to open source projects during Hacktoberfest

Hacktoberfest 2023 Guide


Hacktoberfest is an annual celebration of open source. This event encourages people from all over the world to contribute to open source projects. It runs throughout October, making it the perfect opportunity for both beginners and experienced developers to get involved in the open source community. You can join their Discord community here.

The goal is to promote open source development, foster a sense of community, and reward contributors with limited-edition Hacktoberfest swag, but this year it will be a digital reward kit.

This article is a guide on how you can take part in Hacktoberfest and make meaningful contributions to open source projects.

Understanding Open Source Software

Before diving into the details, let's clarify what open source software means. Here’s an article to bring you up to speed on the A-Z of open source.

Open source software is software with source code that is open and accessible to anyone. This means that anyone can view, modify, and distribute the code. The open source community thrives on collaboration and contributions from developers worldwide.

Why You Should Participate in Hacktoberfest

Hacktoberfest is a celebration of open source software and the vibrant communities that power it. By participating, you will:

  1. Give Back: Contribute to open source projects and support their continued development.

  2. Learn: Enhance your coding skills, learn new technologies, and gain insights from experienced developers.

  3. Connect: Join a global community of like-minded open source enthusiasts, share ideas, and collaborate on new and exciting projects.

How Can You Participate?

Here are some ways to participate in Hacktoberfest:

Getting Started

Now, let’s dive into the steps to make the most of Hacktoberfest through contributions.

Step 1: Register to participate

To participate in Hacktoberfest, you need a GitHub account. If you don't have one, create it for free. Next, sign up for Hacktoberfest on the official website. You can sign up anytime from now until October 31. You can also read the guidelines for participation here.

Step 2: Prepare Your Workspace

Before you start contributing, ensure your development environment is set up and ready to go:

  • Install Git: If you haven't already, install Git on your computer. You'll need it to clone repositories and manage your contributions.

  • Fork a Repository: Choose a project you're interested in and fork its repository on GitHub. This creates a copy of the project under your account, which you can freely modify.

  • Set Up your Code Editor or tools: Use a code editor like Visual Studio Code, or Sublime Text. Configure it with relevant extensions and plugins for your programming language.

Step 2: Find Projects to Contribute To

Discovering open source projects that match your interests and skills is important. Here's how:

  • Explore GitHub: Use GitHub's search filters to find projects with the "hacktoberfest" topic. Look for issues labelled "good first issue" or "beginner-friendly."

  • Hacktoberfest Website: Visit the official Hacktoberfest website and browse the listed projects. You can filter by language, topic, and skill level.

  • Community Recommendations: Seek recommendations from your developer network or online communities. They can suggest projects they’re involved in or projects they find interesting.

Step 3: Contribute to Projects

Once you have identified a project, follow these steps to contribute effectively.

If you are new to open source, here’s a more elaborate article to guide you on submitting your first pull request.

  1. Read the Contribution Guidelines: Every project has contribution guidelines. It’s usually named “Contributing Guidelines.MD” Carefully read and follow them to understand the development process, coding style, and expectations.

  2. Pick an Issue: Select an issue that aligns with your skills and interests. If you're new to the project, start with simpler tasks and progressively tackle more complex ones. You identify issues or tasks labelled as "beginner-friendly" or "good first issue." These are usually manageable tasks for newcomers.

  3. Collaborate: Join the project's communication channels, such as Discord, Slack, or mailing lists. Discuss your intention to contribute and ask for guidance when needed.

  4. Fork the Repository: Click the "Fork" button on the project's GitHub repository. This creates a copy of the project in your GitHub account, allowing you to make changes without affecting the original code.

  5. Clone the Repository: Use Git to clone the forked repository to your local machine. This will allow you to work on the code locally.

  6. Create a New Branch: Create a new branch for your contribution. This helps keep your changes isolated and organized..

  7. Make Your Contribution: Write code, documentation, or tests according to the issue's requirements. Commit your changes with clear and concise messages. Don’t forget to follow the project's coding standards and guidelines.

  8. Create and Submit a Pull Request: Push your branch to your forked repository and create a pull request (PR) to merge your changes into the main project. Be sure to describe your changes and reference the related issue.

  9. Engage in Discussion: Be prepared to engage in discussions with maintainers and other contributors. They may provide feedback or request additional changes.

  10. Continuous Improvement: Be open to feedback and learn from the experience. If your PR is merged, Congratulations! If not, don't be discouraged; use the feedback to improve and try again.

Step 4: Review and Improve

Your job isn't over after creating a pull request. Be prepared for feedback from project maintainers and other contributors, and respond promptly to comments and suggestions. Be open to making improvements and addressing concerns.

Step 5: Celebrate and Learn

Once your contribution is accepted, you've successfully contributed to open source during Hacktoberfest! Take time to celebrate your achievements and reflect on what you’ve learned.

  • Share Your Experience: Share your Hacktoberfest journey on social media or developer forums. Encourage others to get involved and share their stories.

  • Keep Contributing: Don't stop at Hacktoberfest. Continue contributing to open source projects and expanding your coding skills year-round.

Hacktoberfest Protocol

When participating in Hacktoberfest, it's essential to maintain good etiquette:

  1. Follow the project's rules, coding standards, and code of conduct.

  2. Understand that maintainers may have limited time. Be patient when awaiting feedback on your PR.

  3. Make meaningful contributions. Avoid spammy or low-effort PRs just to meet the Hacktoberfest quota.

  4. Your pull requests can be submitted to any GitHub or GitLab project that is participating in Hacktoberfest (search for projects with the "hacktoberfest" label).

  5. Your pull requests need to be accepted by the project maintainers to count toward your total contributions.

  6. The first 50,000 participants whose initial pull request is approved will have a tree planted in their name by Tree Nation.

  7. Participants who have four pull requests accepted between October 1 and October 31 will receive a unique digital reward.


Hacktoberfest is a chance to contribute to open source projects and become part of the open source community. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can make valuable contributions, learn from experienced developers, and have a rewarding experience during Hacktoberfest.

So, get ready, contribute, and join the global celebration of open source software!

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