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Make an existing Git branch track a remote branch?


Question

I know how to make a new branch that tracks remote branches, but how do I make an existing branch track a remote branch?

I know I can just edit the .git/config file, but it seems there should be an easier way.

2014/05/23
1
3583
5/23/2014 7:39:17 PM

Accepted Answer

Given a branch foo and a remote upstream:

As of Git 1.8.0:

git branch -u upstream/foo

Or, if local branch foo is not the current branch:

git branch -u upstream/foo foo

Or, if you like to type longer commands, these are equivalent to the above two:

git branch --set-upstream-to=upstream/foo

git branch --set-upstream-to=upstream/foo foo

As of Git 1.7.0 (before 1.8.0):

git branch --set-upstream foo upstream/foo

Notes:

  • All of the above commands will cause local branch foo to track remote branch foo from remote upstream.
  • The old (1.7.x) syntax is deprecated in favor of the new (1.8+) syntax. The new syntax is intended to be more intuitive and easier to remember.
  • Defining an upstream branch will fail when run against newly-created remotes that have not already been fetched. In that case, run git fetch upstream beforehand.

See also: Why do I need to do `--set-upstream` all the time?

2020/08/21
4322
8/21/2020 6:22:38 PM

You can do the following (assuming you are checked out on master and want to push to a remote branch master):

Set up the 'remote' if you don't have it already

git remote add origin ssh://...

Now configure master to know to track:

git config branch.master.remote origin
git config branch.master.merge refs/heads/master

And push:

git push origin master
2018/02/28

I do this as a side-effect of pushing with the -u option as in

$ git push -u origin branch-name

The equivalent long option is --set-upstream.

The git-branch command also understands --set-upstream, but its use can be confusing. Version 1.8.0 modifies the interface.

git branch --set-upstream is deprecated and may be removed in a relatively distant future. git branch [-u|--set-upstream-to] has been introduced with a saner order of arguments.

It was tempting to say git branch --set-upstream origin/master, but that tells Git to arrange the local branch "origin/master" to integrate with the currently checked out branch, which is highly unlikely what the user meant. The option is deprecated; use the new --set-upstream-to (with a short-and-sweet -u) option instead.

Say you have a local foo branch and want it to treat the branch by the same name as its upstream. Make this happen with

$ git branch foo
$ git branch --set-upstream-to=origin/foo

or just

$ git branch --set-upstream-to=origin/foo foo
2017/06/20

For Git versions 1.8.0 and higher:

Actually for the accepted answer to work:

git remote add upstream <remote-url>
git fetch upstream
git branch -f --track qa upstream/qa
# OR Git version 1.8.0 and higher:
git branch --set-upstream-to=upstream/qa
# Gitversions lower than 1.8.0
git branch --set-upstream qa upstream/qa
2020/08/06

You might find the git_remote_branch tool useful. It offers simple commands for creating, publishing, deleting, tracking & renaming remote branches. One nice feature is that you can ask a grb command to explain what git commands it would execute.

grb explain create my_branch github
# git_remote_branch version 0.3.0

# List of operations to do to create a new remote branch and track it locally:
git push github master:refs/heads/my_branch
git fetch github
git branch --track my_branch github/my_branch
git checkout my_branch
2014/06/28

I believe that in as early as Git 1.5.x you could make a local branch $BRANCH track a remote branch origin/$BRANCH, like this.

Given that $BRANCH and origin/$BRANCH exist, and you've not currently checked out $BRANCH (switch away if you have), do:

git branch -f --track $BRANCH origin/$BRANCH

This recreates $BRANCH as a tracking branch. The -f forces the creation despite $BRANCH existing already. --track is optional if the usual defaults are in place (that is, the git-config parameter branch.autosetupmerge is true).

Note, if origin/$BRANCH doesn't exist yet, you can create it by pushing your local $BRANCH into the remote repository with:

git push origin $BRANCH

Followed by the previous command to promote the local branch into a tracking branch.

2014/06/28

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/520650
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