How to track and display profile views on GitHub

Last updated on July 08, 2020, in other

As part of recent design changes, GitHub has introduced READMEs for profiles. By creating a repo with your name and adding file with markdown to it, you can now add a rich description of yourself.

Here is an example of how it looks like:

Python reference count graph

This feature may not be available to your profile yet. GitHub uses selectively rolling.

Unlike the old plain-text bio field, the new feature supports external links and images. This is where it gets interesting.

Tracking profile views

Since Github's markdown can display images from external sources, you can now track and display views of your profile.

To do so, you need to host an image on your server and display it via Markdown syntax:

![image title](

On the server-side, each image request can be treated as a view of your profile. The rest of the story is simple — you need to store a counter in the database and return an SVG image with the number of views as a response. Of course, there will be some extra requests from bots, but having such statistics is better than nothing.

To prevent IP and User Agent leaking, GitHub caches all images via special proxy. To avoid being cached on Github servers after the first image request, your image must specify cache headers or return non-200 response (e.g., an HTTP 404 page).

Here is the HTTP header that disables caching:

Cache-Control: max-age=0, no-cache, no-store, must-revalidate

This is not something new for repositories since they had this ability for a long time, and GitHub allows this kind of use of images for interactive badges. Unlike profiles, repositories have access to traffic statistics too.

Here is how it can look like when you have access to the new feature:

Python reference count graph

There are libraries and services that can do this for you. You can also use Pipedream if you want to have more control over the counter logic.

Security aspects

For a lot of people, allowing external images on their websites sounds like not a big deal. I've been using this technique to track profiles views on various platforms for more than 10 years. I've seen how recruiters constantly refresh my profiles when they need to make a decision :).

Unlike GitHub, most of them don't even bother proxying the image to hide IP, referrer, and browser agent. If you want to allow external images on your site, you must proxy them and hide everything about a person who requested it.

A person with bad intentions can trick a victim into opening your profile that looks completely legit and detect his IP and a browser. You can also set a cookie to track user visits on other websites, but browsers will soon stop doing it.

A single-pixel image can provide you a lot of information. This is how the whole AD industry works when it tracks your visits on various websites.


According to my tests, profile views do not count as repo views, and I hope, in the future, we will be able to see traffic stats in the repository that hosts the README file.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them via e-mail displayed in the footer.


  • Andrew 2020-07-09 #

    Everything old is new again. Used this same technique on MySpace 15 years ago.


    • some_dude 2020-07-14 #



  • the_arun 2020-07-09 #

    Thanks for sharing


  • Juan 2020-07-09 #

    Spying on people is not ethical, in my opinión. People should not assume their browsing activity is being tracked not their personal information (IP) stored without explicit consent. In the EU is not even legal in many cases (ser GDPR).


    • blazed 2020-07-09 #

      Nothing about this is spying, it's just counting how many times an image has been requested.


      • noob 2020-07-14 #

        Yes but bad people count ip use tricks .


        • pro 2022-06-02 #

          your username says it all

  • antonkomarev 2020-07-16 #

    I've created simple app for GitHub profile counter. With experimental cloud solution and your own standalone deployment.


  • gutianhuang 2020-07-17 #

    fun, thx for sharing


  • Themi 2020-07-20 #

    Although I'm sure it's already been done to death, I did a mini project making a site for this purpose. Thanks for the good idea, it helped a 17 y/o stuck in quarantine pass the time by


    • hackers__tech 2022-09-09 #

      Hi r u alive


  • Toroto12375 2023-02-12 #

    Nice Post! Thanks