Cloning (downloading) a Repository
You’ve now learned how to push (upload) a copy of your local repository to the cloud (e.g. GitHub). The next question is how can we download a repository from the cloud?
Why would we want to do this? Well, one good reason may be that you may want to have a copy of your repository on both your laptop and on your desktop, or on your work PC and on your home PC. Downloading your repository to another computer allows you to split your work across more than one machine, all the while using your cloud (GitHub) repository to keep everything in sync.
To download a Git repository to a new computer, use the
command. As we are not going to use a new computer in this workshop,
we will fake a new computer by downloading to a new directory.
First, change into your home directory by typing
Now, create and change into a new directory called
mkdir tmpdir cd tmpdir
To clone your repository, type
git clone https://github.com/USERNAME/versioned_dir.git
USERNAME is your GitHub username, e.g. I would write
git clone https://github.com/chryswoods/versioned_dir.git
This will output something like
Cloning into 'versioned_dir'... remote: Counting objects: 28, done. remote: Compressing objects: 100% (21/21), done. remote: Total 28 (delta 2), reused 28 (delta 2), pack-reused 0 Unpacking objects: 100% (28/28), done. Checking connectivity... done
This shows that Git has downloaded the
versioned_dir git repository
and unpacked into a new directory, also called
You can confirm this by typing
You should see that this is a copy of your other
Change into this new
versioned_dir directory using
Get the status of the clone using
git status. You should see that
you have cloned a clean version of the
master branch, e.g.
# On branch master nothing to commit, working directory clean
Note that because GitHub only has a copy of your
your cloned repository also only has a
master branch. You can confirm
this by running
git branch and looking at the output. If you have
lots of branches on GitHub, then all of these will be downloaded
in the clone. This is because
git clone creates a complete and identical
clone of the GitHub repository.
Making a change
You should now have two copies of your
- The “original”, which is
- The “clone”, which is
README.MD in the clone directory, e.g.
Edit this file so that it reads
# Hello GitHub This is a README.MD file that will be used to describe this repository on GitHub This is an extra line of text added to the copy of README.MD in the cloned repository
Save the file and exit from
nano, and then check
to see that Git knows that you have changed
Commit the change and push this up to the cloud repository. Remember to add a useful commit message.
git commit -a git push
Take a look at your repository on github.com using your webbrowser. You should see that you have pushed up a change from the “cloned” repository.
Now, change directory into the original
versioned_dir, e.g. via
Take a look at
README.MD in this original
You should see that this file has not been changed - it doesn’t include
the new line of text that was added via the “cloned” directory.
To get this line of text, we need to sync our local original
with the cloud GitHub repository. In the last page, syncing was always pushing
changes from the local directory to the cloud, and used
git push. It
should be no surprise that pulling changes from the cloud to the local
You should see output that is similar to
remote: Counting objects: 3, done. remote: Compressing objects: 100% (3/3), done. remote: Total 3 (delta 0), reused 3 (delta 0), pack-reused 0 Unpacking objects: 100% (3/3), done. From http://github.com/chryswoods/versioned_dir e1dd8ff..46fefdd master -> origin/master Updating e1dd8ff..46fefdd Fast-forward README.MD | 2 ++ 1 file changed, 2 insertions(+)
This shows that Git has recognised that the GitHub cloud repository has
newer versions than the local repository. Git downloads these changes and
then applies them to the files in your local repository. In this case,
the changes only affected
README.MD, and just involved inserting
two lines (2 insertions).
Take a look at
README.MD. You should see that it now has the
new lines that were added from the “cloned” repository. If you run
git status you should see that the current working directory
The “normal” workflow when using Git on your own is;
git pullnew versions from the cloud repository
- Now make changes to your files as you would normally.
git commit -ayour changes.
git statusto ensure that your working directory is clean.
git pushto push your changes back up to the cloud.
Make some changes in your “original”
README.MD, add new files or add new subdirectories.
git commit -a and
git push to commit your changes, and
then push them to your cloud repository.
Then, change directory into your “cloned”
cd ../tmpdir/versioned_dir. Use
git pull to pull the
latest version from the cloud. Check that the changes you made
to the “original”
versioned_dir have been copied to the