How do I check out a remote Git branch?

0 votes
asked Nov 23, 2009 by juri-glass

Somebody pushed a branch called test with git push origin test to a shared repository. I can see the branch with git branch -r.

Now I'm trying to check out the remote test branch.

I've tried:

  • git checkout test which does nothing

  • git checkout origin/test gives * (no branch). Which is confusing. How can I be on "no branch"?

How do I check out a remote Git branch?

18 Answers

0 votes
answered Nov 23, 2009 by hallski

Update

Jakub's answer actually improves on this. With Git versions ≥ 1.6.6, you can just do:

git fetch
git checkout test

(User masukomi points out below that git checkout test will NOT work in modern git if you have multiple remotes. In this case use git checkout -b test <name of remote>/test).

Old Answer

Before you can start working locally on a remote branch, you need to fetch it as called out in answers below.

To fetch a branch, you simply need to:

git fetch origin

This will fetch all of the remote branches for you. You can see the branches available for checkout with:

git branch -v -a

With the remote branches in hand, you now need to check out the branch you are interested in, giving you a local working copy:

git checkout -b test origin/test
0 votes
answered Nov 23, 2009 by ndim

In this case, you probably want to create a local test branch which is tracking the remote test branch:

$ git branch test origin/test

In earlier versions of git, you needed an explicit --track option, but that is the default now when you are branching off a remote branch.

0 votes
answered Nov 7, 2012 by corey-ballou

Accepted answer not working for you?

While the first and selected answer is technically correct, there's the possibility you have not yet retrieved all objects and refs from the remote repository. If that is the case, you'll receive the following error:

$ git checkout -b remote_branch origin/remote_branch

fatal: git checkout: updating paths is incompatible with switching branches.
Did you intend to checkout 'origin/remote_branch' which can not be resolved as commit?

Solution

If you receive this message, you must first do a git fetch origin where origin is the name of the remote repository prior to running git checkout remote_branch. Here's a full example with responses:

$ git fetch origin
remote: Counting objects: 140, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (30/30), done.
remote: Total 69 (delta 36), reused 66 (delta 33)
Unpacking objects: 100% (69/69), done.
From https://github.com/githubuser/repo-name
   e6ef1e0..5029161  develop    -> origin/develop
 * [new branch]      demo       -> origin/demo
   d80f8d7..359eab0  master     -> origin/master

$ git checkout demo
Branch demo set up to track remote branch demo from origin.
Switched to a new branch 'demo'

As you can see, running git fetch origin retrieved any remote branches we were not yet setup to track on our local machine. From there, since we now have a ref to the remote branch, we can simply run git checkout remote_branch and we'll gain the benefits of remote tracking.

0 votes
answered Nov 27, 2012 by tacaswell

This will DWIM for a remote not named origin (documentation):

$ git checkout -t remote_name/remote_branch

To add a new remote, you will need to do the following first:

$ git remote add remote_name location_of_remote
$ git fetch remote_name

The first tells Git the remote exists, the second gets the commits.

0 votes
answered Nov 1, 2013 by kris

If the branch is on something other than the origin remote I like to do the following:

$ git fetch
$ git checkout -b second/next upstream/next

This will checkout the next branch on the upstream remote in to a local branch called second/next. Which means if you already have a local branch named next it will not conflict.

$ git branch -a
* second/next
  remotes/origin/next
  remotes/upstream/next
0 votes
answered Nov 6, 2013 by webdevguy

git branch -r says the object name is invalid, because that branch name isn't in Git's local branch list. Update your local branch list from origin with:

git remote update

And then try checking out your remote branch again.

This worked for me.

I believe git fetch pulls in all remote branches, which is not what the original poster wanted.

0 votes
answered Nov 18, 2013 by sahil-kalra

I tried the above solution, but it didn't work. Try this, it works:

git fetch origin 'remote_branch':'local_branch_name'

This will fetch the remote branch and create a new local branch (if not exists already) with name local_branch_name and track the remote one in it.

0 votes
answered Nov 21, 2013 by madhan-ayyasamy

To clone a Git repository, do:

git clone <either ssh url /http url>

The above command checks out all of the branches, but only the master branch will be initialized. If you want to checkout the other branches, do:

git checkout -t origin/future_branch (for example)

This command checks out the remote branch, and your local branch name will be same as the remote branch.

If you want to override your local branch name on checkout:

git checkout -t -b enhancement origin/future_branch

Now your local branch name is enhancement, but your remote branch name is future_branch.

Documentation

0 votes
answered Nov 24, 2014 by uma

You can try

git fetch remote
git checkout --track -b local_branch_name origin/branch_name

or

git fetch
git checkout -b local_branch_name origin/branch_name
0 votes
answered Nov 26, 2014 by inder-kumar-rathore

git fetch && git checkout your-branch-name

Welcome to Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community.
Website Online Counter

...