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The Most Important Git Commands

Git is used as a version control system that helps in tracking any changes within the code. Most web and application developers use it for efficient coding processes. Every change corresponds to a version number to which you can revert without impacting the delivery process. It is suitable when many team members work together on the same project and the same code without interfering with each other’s work. It improves team collaboration and provides them with better visibility of code changes at every stage of the application development. 

13 May, 21 by Antoniy Yushkevych 10 min Read

20 Git Commands You Need to Knpow

You can run the Git software on your local machine to track files and their history. Git allows you to store files on its online hosts, providing you a centralized place to store files for easy file access. With Git, developers can make parallel changes that can be merged later without any issues.


Features of Git

  • It helps you in tracking work history.
  • It comes as an open-source and distributed version control system.
  • It helps the developers process non-linear development.
  • You can create data backups.
  • It improves team collaboration.


Git Workflow 

Git workflow has three different stages:

  • The working directory allows you to make changes to the files and existing codes within your local or remote working directory.
  • Staging area- you can stage the files while adding their snapshots to the staging area.
  • Git directory or repository- you can make the changes permanently.


List of Commonly Used Git Commands

  1. Git Configuration 

With this command’s help, you can set the author’s name, email address, create an alias, set a default text editor, and open a global config file. You can use the following syntax.

git config --global user.name "[your_name]"

git config --global user.email "[email_address]"

git config --global alias.[alias_name] [git_command]

git config --system core.editor [text_editor]

git config --global --edit

  1. Creating Git Repository

You can run the following command to create a local repository with a default branch. 

git init

You can connect the locally created repository to GitHub by creating a remote repository on GitHub. Once you are done, you can connect the remote repository’s origin with the locally created repository. To create the remote repository, run this command:

git remote add origin https://github.com/YOUR-USERNAME/YOUR-REPOSITORY

To complete the process, you need to push the main branch on GitHub remote repository:


  1. Creating Git Branch

Git branches are essential for developers, allowing them to work in parallel on the same project. With the Git branch command’s help, you will create, list, and delete branches. Having branches protects the code from interfering with other codes.

The following command will create the branch locally.

git branch <branch-name>

Once you create the branch, push it to the remote repository using the command:

git push -u <remote> <branch-name>

With the following command, you can view branch details.

git branch


git branch --list

To delete the branch, you can run the command:

git branch -d <branch-name>

  1. Git Checkout

Before you start working on any branch, switch to that branch. You can use the checkout command to create a local branch if it does not exist in the repository. -b option is used for a branch that allows you to check out from the current branch and moves to the newly created branch.

git checkout -b NEW-BRANCH-NAME

Before switching from one branch to another, make sure:

  • You commit the changes in your current branch.
  • The branch to which you are switching exists in your local repository. 

After creating the branch, you need to push it to GitHub's remote repository.

  1. Checking Git Status

To get all possible details about the Git branch, you can use the status command.

git status

You can check information like:

  • If your current branch is updated with all details.
  • If there is any pending commit, push, or pull.
  • If it has any unstaged, staged, or untracked files.

  1. Git Add Command

If you are deleting, creating, or modifying any file and there is a possibility that these changes will not be mentioned in the next commit. So to add the file changes in the next commit, you can use the command:

git add <file>

If you want to add every change at once, you can run the command:

git add -A

The add command will not change the repository, and any change will not get saved until you use the commit command.

  1. Git Commit Command

If we are developing code in any project, we need to make the changes permanent and use the commit command. This command will allow you to set a checkpoint to roll back to later if required. This command enables the save the code changes locally.

git commit -m "commit message"

You can also mention some commit messages to explain the code changes.

  1. Git Push Command

You can update the committed changes to the remote server. You can only push the committed changes.

git push <remote> <branch-name>

If you have created a new branch, it also needs to be pushed to the remote repository using the following command.

git push --set-upstream <remote> <name-of-your-branch>


git push -u origin <branch_name>

  1. Git Pull Command

This command will get you the latest updates from the remote repository. Once you get the updates, they will be implemented locally. You can run this command:

git pull <remote>

  1. Git revert Command

You can use this command if you want to revert any changes done locally or remotely. But make sure that you do not end up deleting something important. You can check the commit history using git log --online to check the hash code. 

git revert 3321844

Then we can undo the commit specified by the particular hash code. After running the above command, you will get the following screen, and to exit the screen, you can press shift+q.

The mentioned commit with the hash code will be undone, but it will create a new commit without deleting the old one.

With this command, your commit history will remain unaffected along with the new revert commits.

  1. Git Rename Branch Command

This command may not be of much use, but you can use it if there is an error in the name. You can run the following command to rename the local git branch situated in the local repository.


  1. Git Rename Remote Branch Command

After you rename the branch name locally, you need to update the branch name of the corresponding branch on the remote repository using the below command. This command will allow you to delete the old branch and create a new one with the same code base.


  1. Git Clone Command

This command will help you create a clone of an existing project on your local system to understand the code better. You can then add new features and functionalities to the code and push the code back using the merge command.

You can use this command to create a clone:

git clone https://github.com/YOUR-USERNAME/YOUR-REPOSITORY

  1. Git Log Command

Git maintains the log to track all the commits done in the past. You can see all the details by running the command:

git log

  1. Git Reset Command

In case of a mistake occurring, you can reset the changes by using the reset command. You can revert all the changes within a second to the last working commit.

git reset -hard origin/BRANCH-NAME

  1. Git Clean Command

If you do not have committed your files and directory, they can be quickly deleted using the git clean command. This command will allow you to remove unwanted files and directories from the IDE.

# removing untracked files

git clean -f

# removing untracked directories

git clean -fd

  1. Git Delete Command for the Local Repository

You can always delete any unwanted branch from your local repository. You can use the following command to delete the branch.

git branch -d BRANCH-NAME

# forcefully deleting a local branch.

git branch -D BRANCH-NAME

  1. Git Delete Command for the Remote Repository

You can delete a branch on the remote repository using the same process as you push an update on the remote repository. You can run the command:

git push REMOTE-NAME --delete BRANCH-NAME

  1. Git Stash Command

If you want to resolve the checkout error, you can use the stash command. It will temporarily save the current branch’s work if you do not want to commit the changes yet. You can use the following command.

git stash

If you want to recover the stashed changes, we can navigate the place where we stashed the changes and then run this command to pop them.

git stash pop

  1. Git Diff Command

You can check the difference between the working directory and the index using the following command.

git diff



After reading this article, you will be able to run basic Git commands on your own. With Git commands, you can easily track down the code changes. Working with Git is easy and comfortable; you do not have to worry about learning complicated concepts. We have mentioned various commands that developers frequently use. If you want to learn more and get into in-depth concepts, you can explore more anytime.

Antoniy Yushkevych

Master of word when it comes to technology, internet and privacy. I'm also your usual guy that always aims for the best result and takes a skateboard to work. If you need me, you will find me at the office's Counter-Strike championships on Fridays or at a.yushkevych@monovm.com