Setup and Config
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Sharing and Updating Projects
Inspection and Comparison
- Command-line interface conventions
- Everyday Git
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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git fetch [<options>] [<repository> [<refspec>…]] git fetch [<options>] <group> git fetch --multiple [<options>] [(<repository> | <group>)…] git fetch --all [<options>]
Fetch branches and/or tags (collectively, "refs") from one or more other repositories, along with the objects necessary to complete their histories. Remote-tracking branches are updated (see the description of <refspec> below for ways to control this behavior).
By default, any tag that points into the histories being fetched is also fetched; the effect is to fetch tags that point at branches that you are interested in. This default behavior can be changed by using the --tags or --no-tags options or by configuring remote.<name>.tagOpt. By using a refspec that fetches tags explicitly, you can fetch tags that do not point into branches you are interested in as well.
git fetch can fetch from either a single named repository or URL, or from several repositories at once if <group> is given and there is a remotes.<group> entry in the configuration file. (See git-config).
When no remote is specified, by default the
origin remote will be used,
unless there’s an upstream branch configured for the current branch.
The names of refs that are fetched, together with the object names
they point at, are written to
.git/FETCH_HEAD. This information
may be used by scripts or other git commands, such as git-pull.
Fetch all remotes.
Append ref names and object names of fetched refs to the existing contents of
.git/FETCH_HEAD. Without this option old data in
.git/FETCH_HEADwill be overwritten.
Limit fetching to the specified number of commits from the tip of each remote branch history. If fetching to a shallow repository created by
--depth=<depth>option (see git-clone), deepen or shorten the history to the specified number of commits. Tags for the deepened commits are not fetched.
Similar to --depth, except it specifies the number of commits from the current shallow boundary instead of from the tip of each remote branch history.
Deepen or shorten the history of a shallow repository to include all reachable commits after <date>.
Deepen or shorten the history of a shallow repository to exclude commits reachable from a specified remote branch or tag. This option can be specified multiple times.
If the source repository is complete, convert a shallow repository to a complete one, removing all the limitations imposed by shallow repositories.
If the source repository is shallow, fetch as much as possible so that the current repository has the same history as the source repository.
By default when fetching from a shallow repository,
git fetchrefuses refs that require updating .git/shallow. This option updates .git/shallow and accept such refs.
By default, Git will report, to the server, commits reachable from all local refs to find common commits in an attempt to reduce the size of the to-be-received packfile. If specified, Git will only report commits reachable from the given tips. This is useful to speed up fetches when the user knows which local ref is likely to have commits in common with the upstream ref being fetched.
This option may be specified more than once; if so, Git will report commits reachable from any of the given commits.
The argument to this option may be a glob on ref names, a ref, or the (possibly abbreviated) SHA-1 of a commit. Specifying a glob is equivalent to specifying this option multiple times, one for each matching ref name.
See also the
fetch.negotiationAlgorithmconfiguration variable documented in git-config.
Show what would be done, without making any changes.
When git fetch is used with
<rbranch>:<lbranch>refspec, it refuses to update the local branch
<lbranch>unless the remote branch
<rbranch>it fetches is a descendant of
<lbranch>. This option overrides that check.
Keep downloaded pack.
Allow several <repository> and <group> arguments to be specified. No <refspec>s may be specified.
Before fetching, remove any remote-tracking references that no longer exist on the remote. Tags are not subject to pruning if they are fetched only because of the default tag auto-following or due to a --tags option. However, if tags are fetched due to an explicit refspec (either on the command line or in the remote configuration, for example if the remote was cloned with the --mirror option), then they are also subject to pruning. Supplying
--prune-tagsis a shorthand for providing the tag refspec.
See the PRUNING section below for more details.
Before fetching, remove any local tags that no longer exist on the remote if
--pruneis enabled. This option should be used more carefully, unlike
--pruneit will remove any local references (local tags) that have been created. This option is a shorthand for providing the explicit tag refspec along with
--prune, see the discussion about that in its documentation.
See the PRUNING section below for more details.
By default, tags that point at objects that are downloaded from the remote repository are fetched and stored locally. This option disables this automatic tag following. The default behavior for a remote may be specified with the remote.<name>.tagOpt setting. See git-config.
When fetching refs listed on the command line, use the specified refspec (can be given more than once) to map the refs to remote-tracking branches, instead of the values of
remote.*.fetchconfiguration variables for the remote repository. See section on "Configured Remote-tracking Branches" for details.
Fetch all tags from the remote (i.e., fetch remote tags
refs/tags/*into local tags with the same name), in addition to whatever else would otherwise be fetched. Using this option alone does not subject tags to pruning, even if --prune is used (though tags may be pruned anyway if they are also the destination of an explicit refspec; see
This option controls if and under what conditions new commits of populated submodules should be fetched too. It can be used as a boolean option to completely disable recursion when set to no or to unconditionally recurse into all populated submodules when set to yes, which is the default when this option is used without any value. Use on-demand to only recurse into a populated submodule when the superproject retrieves a commit that updates the submodule’s reference to a commit that isn’t already in the local submodule clone.
Number of parallel children to be used for fetching submodules. Each will fetch from different submodules, such that fetching many submodules will be faster. By default submodules will be fetched one at a time.
Disable recursive fetching of submodules (this has the same effect as using the
Prepend <path> to paths printed in informative messages such as "Fetching submodule foo". This option is used internally when recursing over submodules.
This option is used internally to temporarily provide a non-negative default value for the --recurse-submodules option. All other methods of configuring fetch’s submodule recursion (such as settings in gitmodules and git-config) override this option, as does specifying --[no-]recurse-submodules directly.
By default git fetch refuses to update the head which corresponds to the current branch. This flag disables the check. This is purely for the internal use for git pull to communicate with git fetch, and unless you are implementing your own Porcelain you are not supposed to use it.
- --upload-pack <upload-pack>
When given, and the repository to fetch from is handled by git fetch-pack,
--exec=<upload-pack>is passed to the command to specify non-default path for the command run on the other end.
Pass --quiet to git-fetch-pack and silence any other internally used git commands. Progress is not reported 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.
- -o <option>
Transmit the given string to the server when communicating using protocol version 2. The given string must not contain a NUL or LF character. When multiple
--server-option=<option>are given, they are all sent to the other side in the order listed on the command line.
Use IPv4 addresses only, ignoring IPv6 addresses.
Use IPv6 addresses only, ignoring IPv4 addresses.
A name referring to a list of repositories as the value of remotes.<group> in the configuration file. (See git-config).
Specifies which refs to fetch and which local refs to update. When no <refspec>s appear on the command line, the refs to fetch are read from
remote.<repository>.fetchvariables instead (see CONFIGURED REMOTE-TRACKING BRANCHES below).
The format of a <refspec> parameter is an optional plus
+, followed by the source <src>, followed by a colon
:, followed by the destination ref <dst>. The colon can be omitted when <dst> is empty. <src> is typically a ref, but it can also be a fully spelled hex object name.
tag <tag>means the same as
refs/tags/<tag>:refs/tags/<tag>; it requests fetching everything up to the given tag.
The remote ref that matches <src> is fetched, and if <dst> is not an empty string, the local ref that matches it is fast-forwarded using <src>. If the optional plus
+is used, the local ref is updated even if it does not result in a fast-forward update.Note
When the remote branch you want to fetch is known to be rewound and rebased regularly, it is expected that its new tip will not be descendant of its previous tip (as stored in your remote-tracking branch the last time you fetched). You would want to use the
+sign to indicate non-fast-forward updates will be needed for such branches. There is no way to determine or declare that a branch will be made available in a repository with this behavior; the pulling user simply must know this is the expected usage pattern for a branch.
In general, URLs contain information about the transport protocol, the address of the remote server, and the path to the repository. Depending on the transport protocol, some of this information may be absent.
Git supports ssh, git, http, and https protocols (in addition, ftp, and ftps can be used for fetching, but this is inefficient and deprecated; do not use it).
The native transport (i.e. git:// URL) does no authentication and should be used with caution on unsecured networks.
The following syntaxes may be used with them:
An alternative scp-like syntax may also be used with the ssh protocol:
This syntax is only recognized if there are no slashes before the
first colon. This helps differentiate a local path that contains a
colon. For example the local path
foo:bar could be specified as an
absolute path or
./foo:bar to avoid being misinterpreted as an ssh
The ssh and git protocols additionally support ~username expansion:
For local repositories, also supported by Git natively, the following syntaxes may be used:
These two syntaxes are mostly equivalent, except when cloning, when the former implies --local option. See git-clone for details.
When Git doesn’t know how to handle a certain transport protocol, it attempts to use the remote-<transport> remote helper, if one exists. To explicitly request a remote helper, the following syntax may be used:
where <address> may be a path, a server and path, or an arbitrary URL-like string recognized by the specific remote helper being invoked. See gitremote-helpers for details.
If there are a large number of similarly-named remote repositories and you want to use a different format for them (such that the URLs you use will be rewritten into URLs that work), you can create a configuration section of the form:
[url "<actual url base>"] insteadOf = <other url base>
For example, with this:
[url "git://git.host.xz/"] insteadOf = host.xz:/path/to/ insteadOf = work:
a URL like "work:repo.git" or like "host.xz:/path/to/repo.git" will be rewritten in any context that takes a URL to be "git://git.host.xz/repo.git".
If you want to rewrite URLs for push only, you can create a configuration section of the form:
[url "<actual url base>"] pushInsteadOf = <other url base>
For example, with this:
[url "ssh://example.org/"] pushInsteadOf = git://example.org/
a URL like "git://example.org/path/to/repo.git" will be rewritten to "ssh://example.org/path/to/repo.git" for pushes, but pulls will still use the original URL.
The name of one of the following can be used instead
of a URL as
a remote in the Git configuration file:
a file in the
a file in the
All of these also allow you to omit the refspec from the command line because they each contain a refspec which git will use by default.
You can choose to provide the name of a remote which you had previously
configured using git-remote, git-config
or even by a manual edit to the
$GIT_DIR/config file. The URL of
this remote will be used to access the repository. The refspec
of this remote will be used by default when you do
not provide a refspec on the command line. The entry in the
config file would appear like this:
[remote "<name>"] url = <url> pushurl = <pushurl> push = <refspec> fetch = <refspec>
<pushurl> is used for pushes only. It is optional and defaults
You can choose to provide the name of a
$GIT_DIR/remotes. The URL
in this file will be used to access the repository. The refspec
in this file will be used as default when you do not
provide a refspec on the command line. This file should have the
URL: one of the above URL format Push: <refspec> Pull: <refspec>
Push: lines are used by git push and
Pull: lines are used by git pull and git fetch.
Pull: lines may
be specified for additional branch mappings.
You can choose to provide the name of a
The URL in this file will be used to access the repository.
This file should have the following format:
<url> is required;
#<head> is optional.
Depending on the operation, git will use one of the following
refspecs, if you don’t provide one on the command line.
<branch> is the name of this file in
<head> defaults to
git fetch uses:
git push uses:
You often interact with the same remote repository by
regularly and repeatedly fetching from it. In order to keep track
of the progress of such a remote repository,
git fetch allows you
remote.<repository>.fetch configuration variables.
Typically such a variable may look like this:
[remote "origin"] fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*
This configuration is used in two ways:
git fetchis run without specifying what branches and/or tags to fetch on the command line, e.g.
git fetch originor
remote.<repository>.fetchvalues are used as the refspecs—they specify which refs to fetch and which local refs to update. The example above will fetch all branches that exist in the
origin(i.e. any ref that matches the left-hand side of the value,
refs/heads/*) and update the corresponding remote-tracking branches in the
git fetchis run with explicit branches and/or tags to fetch on the command line, e.g.
git fetch origin master, the <refspec>s given on the command line determine what are to be fetched (e.g.
masterin the example, which is a short-hand for
master:, which in turn means "fetch the master branch but I do not explicitly say what remote-tracking branch to update with it from the command line"), and the example command will fetch only the master branch. The
remote.<repository>.fetchvalues determine which remote-tracking branch, if any, is updated. When used in this way, the
remote.<repository>.fetchvalues do not have any effect in deciding what gets fetched (i.e. the values are not used as refspecs when the command-line lists refspecs); they are only used to decide where the refs that are fetched are stored by acting as a mapping.
The latter use of the
remote.<repository>.fetch values can be
overridden by giving the
--refmap=<refspec> parameter(s) on the
Git has a default disposition of keeping data unless it’s explicitly thrown away; this extends to holding onto local references to branches on remotes that have themselves deleted those branches.
If left to accumulate, these stale references might make performance
worse on big and busy repos that have a lot of branch churn, and
e.g. make the output of commands like
git branch -a --contains
<commit> needlessly verbose, as well as impacting anything else
that’ll work with the complete set of known references.
These remote-tracking references can be deleted as a one-off with either of:
# While fetching $ git fetch --prune <name> # Only prune, don't fetch $ git remote prune <name>
To prune references as part of your normal workflow without needing to
remember to run that, set
fetch.prune globally, or
remote.<name>.prune per-remote in the config. See
Here’s where things get tricky and more specific. The pruning feature
doesn’t actually care about branches, instead it’ll prune local <→
remote-references as a function of the refspec of the remote (see
<refspec> and CONFIGURED REMOTE-TRACKING BRANCHES above).
Therefore if the refspec for the remote includes
refs/tags/*:refs/tags/*, or you manually run e.g.
--prune <name> "refs/tags/*:refs/tags/*" it won’t be stale remote
tracking branches that are deleted, but any local tag that doesn’t
exist on the remote.
This might not be what you expect, i.e. you want to prune remote
<name>, but also explicitly fetch tags from it, so when you fetch
from it you delete all your local tags, most of which may not have
come from the
<name> remote in the first place.
So be careful when using this with a refspec like
refs/tags/*:refs/tags/*, or any other refspec which might map
references from multiple remotes to the same local namespace.
Since keeping up-to-date with both branches and tags on the remote is
a common use-case the
--prune-tags option can be supplied along with
--prune to prune local tags that don’t exist on the remote, and
force-update those tags that differ. Tag pruning can also be enabled
remote.<name>.pruneTags in the config. See
--prune-tags option is equivalent to having
refs/tags/*:refs/tags/* declared in the refspecs of the remote. This
can lead to some seemingly strange interactions:
# These both fetch tags $ git fetch --no-tags origin 'refs/tags/*:refs/tags/*' $ git fetch --no-tags --prune-tags origin
The reason it doesn’t error out when provided without
--prune or its
config versions is for flexibility of the configured versions, and to
maintain a 1=1 mapping between what the command line flags do, and
what the configuration versions do.
It’s reasonable to e.g. configure
~/.gitconfig to have tags pruned whenever
git fetch --prune is
run, without making every invocation of
git fetch without
Pruning tags with
--prune-tags also works when fetching a URL
instead of a named remote. These will all prune tags not found on
$ git fetch origin --prune --prune-tags $ git fetch origin --prune 'refs/tags/*:refs/tags/*' $ git fetch <url of origin> --prune --prune-tags $ git fetch <url of origin> --prune 'refs/tags/*:refs/tags/*'
The output of "git fetch" depends on the transport method used; this section describes the output when fetching over the Git protocol (either locally or via ssh) and Smart HTTP protocol.
The status of the fetch is output in tabular form, with each line representing the status of a single ref. Each line is of the form:
<flag> <summary> <from> -> <to> [<reason>]
The status of up-to-date refs is shown only if the --verbose option is used.
In compact output mode, specified with configuration variable
fetch.output, if either entire
<to> is found in the
other string, it will be substituted with
* in the other string. For
master -> origin/master becomes
master -> origin/*.
A single character indicating the status of the ref:
For a successfully fetched ref, the summary shows the old and new values of the ref in a form suitable for using as an argument to
git log(this is
<old>..<new>in most cases, and
<old>...<new>for forced non-fast-forward updates).
The name of the remote ref being fetched from, minus its
refs/<type>/prefix. In the case of deletion, the name of the remote ref is "(none)".
The name of the local ref being updated, minus its
A human-readable explanation. In the case of successfully fetched refs, no explanation is needed. For a failed ref, the reason for failure is described.
Update the remote-tracking branches:
$ git fetch origin
The above command copies all branches from the remote refs/heads/ namespace and stores them to the local refs/remotes/origin/ namespace, unless the branch.<name>.fetch option is used to specify a non-default refspec.
Using refspecs explicitly:
$ git fetch origin +pu:pu maint:tmp
This updates (or creates, as necessary) branches
tmpin the local repository by fetching from the branches (respectively)
maintfrom the remote repository.
pubranch will be updated even if it is does not fast-forward, because it is prefixed with a plus sign;
tmpwill not be.
Peek at a remote’s branch, without configuring the remote in your local repository:
$ git fetch git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/git/git.git maint $ git log FETCH_HEAD
The fetch and push protocols are not designed to prevent one side from stealing data from the other repository that was not intended to be shared. If you have private data that you need to protect from a malicious peer, your best option is to store it in another repository. This applies to both clients and servers. In particular, namespaces on a server are not effective for read access control; you should only grant read access to a namespace to clients that you would trust with read access to the entire repository.
The known attack vectors are as follows:
The victim sends "have" lines advertising the IDs of objects it has that are not explicitly intended to be shared but can be used to optimize the transfer if the peer also has them. The attacker chooses an object ID X to steal and sends a ref to X, but isn’t required to send the content of X because the victim already has it. Now the victim believes that the attacker has X, and it sends the content of X back to the attacker later. (This attack is most straightforward for a client to perform on a server, by creating a ref to X in the namespace the client has access to and then fetching it. The most likely way for a server to perform it on a client is to "merge" X into a public branch and hope that the user does additional work on this branch and pushes it back to the server without noticing the merge.)
As in #1, the attacker chooses an object ID X to steal. The victim sends an object Y that the attacker already has, and the attacker falsely claims to have X and not Y, so the victim sends Y as a delta against X. The delta reveals regions of X that are similar to Y to the attacker.
Using --recurse-submodules can only fetch new commits in already checked out submodules right now. When e.g. upstream added a new submodule in the just fetched commits of the superproject the submodule itself can not be fetched, making it impossible to check out that submodule later without having to do a fetch again. This is expected to be fixed in a future Git version.
Part of the git suite