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Remove a commit from history in Git – local and remote

flaviabastos profile image Flávia Bastos Originally published at on ・2 min read

I recently committed an API key to a repository and even worse, I pushed to GitHub before I realized my mistake… 😦 Removing the key from the code base wouldn’t completely solve my problem since a commit diff would still display my secret key. The solution was to remove that commit from history.

Removing commit from history is usually frown upon BUT this is one case I think it’s totally ok to do it.

I followed the steps on this blog post and everything worked as planned.

NOTE : I created a new commit to remove the key from my code base. Then, I had to remove from history the second and third to last commit, so I used HEAD~3 instead of the HEAD~1 that the blog post recommended (meaning I rebased on the fourth commit down the list – 751b4c7):

c6e47fc (HEAD -> master, origin/master, origin/HEAD) Move API call to backend to remove API key19ebc19 Display weather info on screen - raw5b0c55b Replace API endpoint751b4c7 Update reference links on readmeeb04486 add logic for output depending on temp6807eb4 Display condition in viewf034573 clean up comments and linter errors

TL;DR for my case:

$ git log --pretty=oneline --abbrev-commit$ git rebase -i HEAD~3$ git push origin +<name of branch&gt;$ git log --pretty=oneline --abbrev-commit

BONUS TIP : Use git show HEAD~3 to confirm that this is the correct commit to serve as the basis for your new head.

BONUS TIP 2 : Read this excellent short post from Molly Struve about the difference between git merge and git rebase.

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