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git-fetch - Download objects and refs from another repository


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(1)).

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(1).


Fetch all remotes.

-a, --append
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_HEAD will 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 git clone with --depth=<depth>
option (see git-clone(1)), deepen or shorten the history to the specified number of
commits. Tags for the deepened commits are not fetched.

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 fetch refuses refs that
require updating .git/shallow. This option updates .git/shallow and accept such refs.

Show what would be done, without making any changes.

-f, --force
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.

-k, --keep
Keep downloaded pack.

Allow several <repository> and <group> arguments to be specified. No <refspec>s may be

-p, --prune
After 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.

-n, --no-tags
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(1).

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.*.fetch configuration variables for the remote repository. See section on
"Configured Remote-tracking Branches" for details.

-t, --tags
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.

Disable recursive fetching of submodules (this has the same effect as using the
--recurse-submodules=no option).

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(5) and git-config(1)) override this option,
as does specifying --[no-]recurse-submodules directly.

-u, --update-head-ok
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.

-q, --quiet
Pass --quiet to git-fetch-pack and silence any other internally used git commands.
Progress is not reported to the standard error stream.

-v, --verbose
Be verbose.

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.

The "remote" repository that is the source of a fetch or pull operation. This
parameter can be either a URL (see the section GIT URLS below) or the name of a remote
(see the section REMOTES below).

A name referring to a list of repositories as the value of remotes.<group> in the
configuration file. (See git-config(1)).

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>.fetch
variables instead (see CONFIGURED REMOTE-TRACKING BRANCHES below).

The format of a <refspec> parameter is an optional plus +, followed by the source ref
<src>, followed by a colon :, followed by the destination ref <dst>. The colon can be
omitted when <dst> is empty.

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 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.

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 and rsync can be used for fetching and pushing, but these are inefficient and
deprecated; do not use them).

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:

· ssh://[user@]host.xz[:port]/path/to/repo.git/

· git://host.xz[:port]/path/to/repo.git/

· http[s]://host.xz[:port]/path/to/repo.git/

· ftp[s]://host.xz[:port]/path/to/repo.git/

· rsync://host.xz/path/to/repo.git/

An alternative scp-like syntax may also be used with the ssh protocol:

· [user@]host.xz:path/to/repo.git/

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 url.

The ssh and git protocols additionally support ~username expansion:

· ssh://[user@]host.xz[:port]/~[user]/path/to/repo.git/

· git://host.xz[:port]/~[user]/path/to/repo.git/

· [user@]host.xz:/~[user]/path/to/repo.git/

For local repositories, also supported by Git natively, the following syntaxes may be

· /path/to/repo.git/

· file:///path/to/repo.git/

These two syntaxes are mostly equivalent, except when cloning, when the former implies
--local option. See git-clone(1) 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:

· <transport>::<address>

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(1) for

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

[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


The name of one of the following can be used instead of a URL as <repository> argument:

· a remote in the Git configuration file: $GIT_DIR/config,

· a file in the $GIT_DIR/remotes directory, or

· a file in the $GIT_DIR/branches directory.

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.

Named remote in configuration file
You can choose to provide the name of a remote which you had previously configured using
git-remote(1), git-config(1) 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>

The <pushurl> is used for pushes only. It is optional and defaults to <url>.

Named file in $GIT_DIR/remotes
You can choose to provide the name of a file in $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 following

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.
Multiple Push: and Pull: lines may be specified for additional branch mappings.

Named file in $GIT_DIR/branches
You can choose to provide the name of a file in $GIT_DIR/branches. 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 $GIT_DIR/branches
and <head> defaults to master.

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 to configure 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:

· When git fetch is run without specifying what branches and/or tags to fetch on the
command line, e.g. git fetch origin or git fetch, remote.<repository>.fetch values
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 refs/remotes/origin/* hierarchy.

· When git fetch is 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. master in 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>.fetch values
determine which remote-tracking branch, if any, is updated. When used in this way, the
remote.<repository>.fetch values 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

The latter use of the remote.<repository>.fetch values can be overridden by giving the
--refmap=<refspec> parameter(s) on the command line.


· 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 pu and tmp in the local repository by
fetching from the branches (respectively) pu and maint from the remote repository.

The pu branch will be updated even if it is does not fast-forward, because it is
prefixed with a plus sign; tmp will 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 first command fetches the maint branch from the repository at
git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/git/git.git and the second command uses FETCH_HEAD to
examine the branch with git-log(1). The fetched objects will eventually be removed by
git’s built-in housekeeping (see git-gc(1)).

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