Working with GitHub

We’re excited that you’re interested in contributing to improve and expand our docs! Please take a few moments to get familiar with our procedures before you get started.

To work on Istio documentation, you need to:

  1. Create a GitHub account.

  2. Sign the Contributor License Agreement.

The documentation is published under the Apache 2.0 license.

How to contribute

There are three ways you can contribute to the Istio documentation:

  • If you want to edit an existing page, you can open up the page in your browser and select the Edit This Page on GitHub option from the gear menu at the top right of each page. This takes you to GitHub to edit and submit the changes.

  • If you want to work on the site in general, follow the steps in our How to add content section.

  • If you want to review an existing pull request (PR), follow the steps in our How to review content section

Once your changes are merged, they show up immediately on However, the changes only show up on the next time we produce a new release, which happens around once a quarter.

How to add content

To add content you must create a fork of the repository and submit a PR from your fork to the docs main repository. The following steps describe the process:

Browse this site’s source code

  1. Click the button above to visit the GitHub repository.

  2. Click the Fork button in the upper-right corner of the screen to create a copy of our repository in your GitHub account.

  3. Create a clone of your fork and make any changes you want.

  4. When you are ready to send those changes to us, push the changes to your fork.

  5. Go to the index page for your fork, and click New Pull Request to let us know about it.

How to review content

If your review is small, simply comment on the PR directly. If you review the content in detail, follow these steps:

  1. Leave a comment on the PR with the text /hold. This command prevents the PR from being merged before you are able to complete your review.

  2. Perform your detailed review. When possible leave specific comments directly on the files and lines affected.

  3. Provide suggestions to the PR owner in your comments when appropriate. For example:

    Use present tense to avoid verb congruence issues and
    to make the text easier to understand:
    Pilot maintains an abstract model of the mesh.
  4. Publish your review to share your comments and suggestions with us and the PR owner. Request changes as the review warrants.

  5. Once you publish your review, leave a comment with the text: /hold cancel. That command unblocks the PR from being merged.

Previewing your work

When you submit a pull request, your PR page on GitHub shows a link to a staging site built automatically for your PR. This is useful for you to see what the final page looks like to end-users. Folks reviewing your pull request also use this staging site to make sure everything looks good.

If you created a fork of the repository, you can preview your changes locally. See this README for instructions.


We use multiple branches to track documentation for different versions of Istio. The master branch is where active doc work takes place, this is where you should generally be making changes.

On the day of an Istio release, a release branch is created from master for that release. For example, there are branches called release-1.0, release-1.1, release-1.2 and so forth.

The public site is produced by processing content from the current release branch. The site is produced by processing content from the master branch. And the site is produced by processing content from all prior release branches.

Given how branching works, if you submit a change into the master branch, that change will not appear on until the next major Istio release happens. If your documentation change is relevant to the current Istio release, then it’s probably worth also applying your change to the current release branch. You can do this easily and automatically by using the special cherry-pick labels on your documentation PR. For example, if you introduce a correction in a PR to the master branch, you can apply the cherrypick/release-1.4 label in order to merge this change to the release-1.4 branch.

Once your initial PR is merged, automation will create a new PR in the release branch which includes your changes. You may need to add a comment to the PR that reads @googlebot I consent in order to satisfy the CLA bot that we use.

On rare occasions, automatic cherry picks don’t work. When that happens, the automation will leave a note in the original PR indicating it failed. When that happens, you will need to manually create the cherry pick and deal with the merge issues that prevented the process from working automatically.

Note that we only ever cherry pick changes into the current release branch, and never to older branches. Older branches are considered to be archived and generally no longer receive any changes.

Istio community roles

Depending on your contributions and responsibilities, there are several roles you can assume.

Visit our role summary page to learn about the roles, the related requirements and responsibilities, and the privileges associated with the roles.

Visit our community page to learn more about the Istio community in general.

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