The basics about Git

Learn the basics about Git with this tutorial

Recommended books

You liked this tutorial and want to go even further with Git? Here some some books we recommend you to read. They are great additions to what we covered in this tutorial.

New Git commands used in this tutorial

Clone a repository into a new directory.


git clone [--template=<template_directory>]
          [-l] [-s] [--no-hardlinks] [-q] [-n] [--bare] [--mirror]
          [-o <name>] [-b <name>] [-u <upload-pack>] [--reference <repository>]
          [--dissociate] [--separate-git-dir <git dir>]
          [--depth <depth>] [--[no-]single-branch]
          [--recursive | --recurse-submodules] [--] <repository>


Clones a repository into a newly created directory, creates remote-tracking branches for each branch in the cloned repository (visible using git branch -r), and creates and checks out an initial branch that is forked from the cloned repository's currently active branch.

After the clone, a plain git fetch without arguments will update all the remote-tracking branches, and a git pull without arguments will in addition merge the remote master branch into the current master branch, if any (this is untrue when "--single-branch" is given; see below).

This default configuration is achieved by creating references to the remote branch heads under refs/remotes/origin and by initializing remote.origin.url and remote.origin.fetch configuration variables.


   --local, -l
       When the repository to clone from is on a local machine, this flag bypasses the normal "Git aware" transport mechanism
       and clones the repository by making a copy of HEAD and everything under objects and refs directories. The files under
       .git/objects/ directory are hardlinked to save space when possible.

       If the repository is specified as a local path (e.g., /path/to/repo), this is the default, and --local is essentially a
       no-op. If the repository is specified as a URL, then this flag is ignored (and we never use the local optimizations).
       Specifying --no-local will override the default when /path/to/repo is given, using the regular Git transport instead.

       Force the cloning process from a repository on a local filesystem to copy the files under the .git/objects directory
       instead of using hardlinks. This may be desirable if you are trying to make a back-up of your repository.

   --shared, -s
       When the repository to clone is on the local machine, instead of using hard links, automatically setup
       .git/objects/info/alternates to share the objects with the source repository. The resulting repository starts out
       without any object of its own.

       NOTE: this is a possibly dangerous operation; do not use it unless you understand what it does. If you clone your
       repository using this option and then delete branches (or use any other Git command that makes any existing commit
       unreferenced) in the source repository, some objects may become unreferenced (or dangling). These objects may be
       removed by normal Git operations (such as git commit) which automatically call git gc --auto. (See git-gc(1).) If these
       objects are removed and were referenced by the cloned repository, then the cloned repository will become corrupt.

       Note that running git repack without the -l option in a repository cloned with -s will copy objects from the source
       repository into a pack in the cloned repository, removing the disk space savings of clone -s. It is safe, however, to
       run git gc, which uses the -l option by default.

       If you want to break the dependency of a repository cloned with -s on its source repository, you can simply run git
       repack -a to copy all objects from the source repository into a pack in the cloned repository.

   --reference <repository>
       If the reference repository is on the local machine, automatically setup .git/objects/info/alternates to obtain objects
       from the reference repository. Using an already existing repository as an alternate will require fewer objects to be
       copied from the repository being cloned, reducing network and local storage costs.

       NOTE: see the NOTE for the --shared option, and also the --dissociate option.

       Borrow the objects from reference repositories specified with the --reference options only to reduce network transfer
       and stop borrowing from them after a clone is made by making necessary local copies of borrowed objects.

   --quiet, -q
       Operate quietly. Progress is not reported to the standard error stream. This flag is also passed to the `rsync' command
       when given.

   --verbose, -v
       Run verbosely. Does not affect the reporting of progress status to the standard error stream.

       Progress status is reported on the standard error stream by default when it is attached to a terminal, unless -q is
       specified. This flag forces progress status even if the standard error stream is not directed to a terminal.

   --no-checkout, -n
       No checkout of HEAD is performed after the clone is complete.

       Make a bare Git repository. That is, instead of creating <directory> and placing the administrative files in
       <directory>/.git, make the <directory> itself the $GIT_DIR. This obviously implies the -n because there is nowhere to
       check out the working tree. Also the branch heads at the remote are copied directly to corresponding local branch
       heads, without mapping them to refs/remotes/origin/. When this option is used, neither remote-tracking branches nor the
       related configuration variables are created.

       Set up a mirror of the source repository. This implies --bare. Compared to --bare, --mirror not only maps local
       branches of the source to local branches of the target, it maps all refs (including remote-tracking branches, notes
       etc.) and sets up a refspec configuration such that all these refs are overwritten by a git remote update in the target

   --origin <name>, -o <name>
       Instead of using the remote name origin to keep track of the upstream repository, use <name>.

   --branch <name>, -b <name>
       Instead of pointing the newly created HEAD to the branch pointed to by the cloned repository's HEAD, point to <name>
       branch instead. In a non-bare repository, this is the branch that will be checked out.  --branch can also take tags and
       detaches the HEAD at that commit in the resulting repository.

   --upload-pack <upload-pack>, -u <upload-pack>
       When given, and the repository to clone from is accessed via ssh, this specifies a non-default path for the command run
       on the other end.

       Specify the directory from which templates will be used; (See the "TEMPLATE DIRECTORY" section of git-init(1).)

   --config <key>=<value>, -c <key>=<value>
       Set a configuration variable in the newly-created repository; this takes effect immediately after the repository is
       initialized, but before the remote history is fetched or any files checked out. The key is in the same format as
       expected by git-config(1) (e.g., core.eol=true). If multiple values are given for the same key, each value will be
       written to the config file. This makes it safe, for example, to add additional fetch refspecs to the origin remote.

   --depth <depth>
       Create a shallow clone with a history truncated to the specified number of revisions.

       Clone only the history leading to the tip of a single branch, either specified by the --branch option or the primary
       branch remote's HEAD points at. When creating a shallow clone with the --depth option, this is the default, unless
       --no-single-branch is given to fetch the histories near the tips of all branches. Further fetches into the resulting
       repository will only update the remote-tracking branch for the branch this option was used for the initial cloning. If
       the HEAD at the remote did not point at any branch when --single-branch clone was made, no remote-tracking branch is

   --recursive, --recurse-submodules
       After the clone is created, initialize all submodules within, using their default settings. This is equivalent to
       running git submodule update --init --recursive immediately after the clone is finished. This option is ignored if the
       cloned repository does not have a worktree/checkout (i.e. if any of --no-checkout/-n, --bare, or --mirror is given)

   --separate-git-dir=<git dir>
       Instead of placing the cloned repository where it is supposed to be, place the cloned repository at the specified
       directory, then make a filesystem-agnostic Git symbolic link to there. The result is Git repository can be separated
       from working tree.

       The (possibly remote) repository to clone from. See the URLS section below for more information on specifying

       The name of a new directory to clone into. The "humanish" part of the source repository is used if no directory is
       explicitly given (repo for /path/to/repo.git and foo for host.xz:foo/.git). Cloning into an existing directory is only
       allowed if the directory is empty.
Fetch from and integrate with another repository or a local branch.


git pull [options] [<repository> [<refspec>...]]


Incorporates changes from a remote repository into the current branch. In its default mode, git pull is shorthand for git fetch followed by git merge FETCH_HEAD.

More precisely, git pull runs git fetch with the given parameters and calls git merge to merge the retrieved branch heads into the current branch. With --rebase, it runs git rebase instead of git merge.

<repository> should be the name of a remote repository as passed to git-fetch(1). <refspec> can name an arbitrary remote ref (for example, the name of a tag) or even a collection of refs with corresponding remote-tracking branches (e.g., refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*), but usually it is the name of a branch in the remote repository.

Default values for <repository> and <branch> are read from the "remote" and "merge" configuration for the current branch as set by git-branch(1) --track.

See git-merge(1) for details, including how conflicts are presented and handled.

In Git 1.7.0 or later, to cancel a conflicting merge, use git reset --merge. Warning: In older versions of Git, running git pull with uncommitted changes is discouraged: while possible, it leaves you in a state that may be hard to back out of in the case of a conflict.

If any of the remote changes overlap with local uncommitted changes, the merge will be automatically cancelled and the work tree untouched. It is generally best to get any local changes in working order before pulling or stash them away with git- stash(1).


   Options meant for git pull itself and the underlying git merge must be given before the options meant for git fetch.

   -q, --quiet
       This is passed to both underlying git-fetch to squelch reporting of during transfer, and underlying git-merge to
       squelch output during merging.

   -v, --verbose
       Pass --verbose to git-fetch and git-merge.

       This option controls if new commits of all populated submodules should be fetched too (see git-config(1) and
       gitmodules(5)). That might be necessary to get the data needed for merging submodule commits, a feature Git learned in
       1.7.3. Notice that the result of a merge will not be checked out in the submodule, "git submodule update" has to be
       called afterwards to bring the work tree up to date with the merge result.