Using Git (Only The Basics)

Thare are huge ammounts of git commands! What if I don’t want to use any of these?

Useful Commands

  • To check all the commits related to a file, use git log -u.
  • Try out git log -g before determine which reflog to deal with.
  • To compare the changes with the last commit, use git diff --cached HEAD~1.
  • A very useful article here: Must Have Git Aliases: Advanced Examples.

Useful Alias

  • git config --global alias.unstage 'reset HEAD --'
  • git config --global alias.last 'log -1 HEAD'

Among [alias] section of ~/.gitconfig file:

  • ll = log --pretty=format:"%C(yellow)%h%Cred%d\\ %Creset%s%Cblue\\ [%cn]" --decorate --numstat


P: I am too lasy to type in ``git add .``.

S: The magic potion is git commit -a which will do the staging and commit at the same time.

P: What has been changed since last stage?

S: git diff shows that.

P: I typed in the wrong commit message.

S: git commit --amend will allow you to change the commit message you typed in before.

P: I forgot to put add some files.

S: Just add the file and use git commit --amend. This will allow you to replace the previous commit.

P: I accidentally added a file to staging.

S: Should unstage the file. git reset HEAD will do.

P: I want to discard the changes I made since last commit.

S: This can be dangerous. git checkout -- can revert averything back to the last commit. But it discards all the changes and can not be recovered. DO NOT USE IT.

P: I need to check what has changed in every commits.

S: git log --stat will show the changed files.

P: I want to create a new branch based on the current branch.

S: git checkout -b newbranchname is for you.

P: I hate a branch called “wth” and want to delete it.

S: git branch -d wth.

P: I want to change the name of a branch “wth” to “wtf”.

S: git branch -m wth wtf or checkout to the branch “wth” and use git branch -m wtf.

P: Merge “goaway” branch to master branch.

S: Checkout to master branch and git merge goaway.

P: Merge conflicts?

S: Check the conflicts using git status. Open up the conflict file and you will see.

P: So hard to resolve the conflicts.

S: git mergetool will use a graphical tool.

Git Services

  • GitHub
  • Bitbucket
  • GitLab

Git on Server

A Very Basic Git Server

Since git is de-centralized, it would be nice to in fact create multiple backups on different machines. A git server would do this perfectly. The bottom lines is you set up a git server and work everywhere even on a new computer.

How then?

  1. set up a git server

  2. Initialize a git repo on server so that you can push to.

    cd <the path you want to put your git folder>
    git init --bare yourreponame.git

    Then a folder named yourreponame.git will be created under <the path you want to put your git folder>.

  3. One your local machine, using git clone ssh://<yourusername>@<>/<path to repo> will clone the empty repo to your local machine.

Here I’ll use my own machines as an example. After setting up the git server, I create initialized empty git repo on this server, under path /home/neutrino/gitserver/ (where neutrino is my user name on this ubuntu machine)

git init --bare codebase.git

Then I find this folder named codebase.git under this path /home/neutrino/gitserver/. The work on the server side is done now. This server has a name (which I made up), on my local machine I clone it by

git clone ssh://

Whatever follows is to cd to this folder and start working on local machine then add, commit, and push.

Push Existing Repos

What if I already have a repo locally and need to push it to this new server? Use :code:`git remote add `. Here is an example.

git remote add newgitserver ssh://

Change newgitserver to whatever you like. After that git push newgitserver will push the codes to the new server.

Alternatively, you can change .git/config and name this new one the origin.


  1. Setting up a repository @

Using GitLab

Check out the instructions.