Remote Repositories

Local, Remote, GitHub, Oh My!

So far, this chapter has covered how to setup a Git repository on the local machine. However, one of the benefits of using a VCS is to store backups. If something bad happens to a coder’s machine, they might lose all of the code for their projects! This is where remote repositories come in. Instead of keeping a Git repository only on a local machine, the code base is also saved in a remote repository. Any team members working on the project keep copies of the code on their local machine.

Collaborating with Colleagues

What if a programmer wants to start collaborating with their colleagues on a new project? They might need to start with the work that one of their colleagues has already done. In this particular case, the programmer has to import the work from an online repository onto their local machine.

They can clone a remote repository by using the git clone <url> command. Github and other online Git systems give users the option to clone the repository through HTTPS or SSH depending on how their Github profile is set up. The <url> of the command is where the programmer adds the url to the repository that they are cloning.


You have already cloned remote repositories before when working on your code. Collaborating with colleagues is one of the key reasons companies use Git to manage their code bases. The rest of this chaper will focus on these aspects of Git.

Renaming the Default Branch

When we run git init to start a new repository, part of the process creates a single, default branch. We can see its name by running the command git branch.

$ git branch
* main

For the examples in this book, we refer to the default branch as main. However, depending on the Git settings on your computer, you might see a different one. This won’t affect the performance of your project in any way. That said, GitHub defaults to main for all new repositories. To keep our work clear, we should match our local and remote branch names.


If your installed version of Git names the default branch something other than main, change it with the command:

   $ git branch -m old-branch-name main

In this case, old-branch-name becomes main.

Contributing to a Remote Repository

After they create a new feature, it is time to make a commit. When working with a remote repo, you may remember that the commit process includes five steps:

  1. git status
  2. git add
  3. git commit
  4. git push origin main
  5. git log

The fourth step uses the new command git push, where the commit is pushed to the remote from the local. origin indicates that the commit does indeed go to the remote, and main is the name of the branch that receives the commit.

Check Your Understanding


What is the new command for making a commit to a remote repository?