Getting started with Git on Linux


Git is an open-source distributed version control system used by the software developers for small and large projects. It comes with very useful features and it is very easy to learn. In this tutorial we are going to show you how to install Git on a Linux VPS and explain the basics of Git so you can start using it.

What is Git

Git is a distributed version control system which is used to track the code changes in software development. Apart from tracking the code changes, Git allows you to revert to a previous stage. The features like cheap local branching, multiple workflows and convenient staging areas make Git one of the most popular version control systems among software developers.

Install Git on Linux

First of all, connect to your VPS via SSH.

If you are using an Ubuntu VPS, go ahead and install Git on your system using the commands below:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install git

If you are using a CentOS VPS, you can use the following command to install Git:

sudo yum install git

To check which version of Git is installed on your system, use:

git --version

Set up Git on Linux

Now that you have Git installed on your Linux VPS, you might like to proceed with the Git configuration. Basically, you will need to configure your name and email address. That way the commit messages will contain the correct information. To update your name and email, you can use the following commands:

git config --global "Your Name"
git config --global ""

Of course, you need to replace Your Name and with your own information.

To check the configuration information you can use:

git config --list

Create a Git repository

How to create a directory for your first project.

mkdir ~/git_repo

The command above will create a new directory called git_repo inside your home directory. Feel free to use a different name.

To initialize an empty Git repository in the directory you’ve just created, use the following command:

git init ~/git_repo

To check the status of the working directory and the staging area you can type:

git status

Since the repository doesn’t contain any files, you will see something like this:

# On branch master
# Initial commit
nothing to commit (create/copy files and use "git add" to track)

Once you create a file, you need to add the file contents to the index. You can do that by using the following command:

git add

However, this command doesn’t affect the repository. To record the changes to the repository, you should run the command below:

git commit

For more Git command line options you can use the following command:

git --help

This is the list of most commonly used Git commands:

- add        Add file contents to the index
- bisect     Find by binary search the change that introduced a bug
- branch     List, create, or delete branches
- checkout   Checkout a branch or paths to the working tree
- clone      Clone a repository into a new directory
- commit     Record changes to the repository
- diff       Show changes between commits, commit and working tree, etc
- fetch      Download objects and refs from another repository
- grep       Print lines matching a pattern
- init       Create an empty Git repository or reinitialize an existing one
- log        Show commit logs
- merge      Join two or more development histories together
- mv         Move or rename a file, a directory, or a symlink
- pull       Fetch from and merge with another repository or a local branch
- push       Update remote refs along with associated objects
- rebase     Forward-port local commits to the updated upstream head
- reset      Reset current HEAD to the specified state
- rm         Remove files from the working tree and from the index
- show       Show various types of objects
- status     Show the working tree status
- tag        Create, list, delete or verify a tag object signed with GPG

For more information and usage examples you can read the official Git documentation which is available at

Of course you don’t have to do any of this if you use one of our Git Hosting services, in which case you can simply ask our expert Linux admins to install Git for you. They are available 24×7 and will take care of your request immediately.

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