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Rajaniraiyn R
Rajaniraiyn R

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Understanding the Contents of the .git Folder

If you've ever used Git before, you're probably familiar with the .git folder. This folder contains all of the information that Git needs to track changes to your codebase, and it's an essential part of the Git workflow. In this guide, we'll take a deep dive into the contents of the .git folder and explore how it works.

The .git Folder: An Overview

Git Folder

Before we dive into the details, let's start with an overview of what's inside the .git folder. When you create a new Git repository, the .git folder is created in the root directory of your project. Inside this folder, you'll find a variety of files and folders that contain information about your codebase.

The HEAD File: Keeping Track of Your Current Branch

HEAD file

The HEAD file is a simple text file that contains the SHA hash of the commit that's currently checked out in your repository. This file is used to keep track of your current branch, and it's updated automatically whenever you switch branches or checkout a specific commit.

The refs Folder: Storing References to Commits and Branches

refs folder

The refs folder is where Git stores references to commits and branches in your repository. Inside this folder, you'll find a variety of subfolders that correspond to different types of references. For example, the heads subfolder contains references to the heads of branches in your repository, while the tags subfolder contains references to specific tags that you've created.

The objects Folder: Storing Your Codebase as a Series of Snapshots

objects folder

The objects folder is where Git stores your codebase as a series of snapshots. Each snapshot represents the state of your codebase at a specific point in time, and Git uses these snapshots to track changes to your code over time. Inside the objects folder, you'll find two subfolders: pack and info. The pack subfolder contains compressed snapshots of your codebase, while the info subfolder contains metadata about those snapshots.

The config File: Storing Configuration Information for Git

config file

The config file is where Git stores configuration information for your repository. This file contains a variety of settings that control how Git behaves, such as your name and email address, the default branch for new checkouts, and the behavior of Git's merge and diff tools.

The hooks Folder: Running Scripts at Specific Points in the Git Workflow

hooks folder

The hooks folder is where you can add custom scripts that run at specific points in the Git workflow. For example, you can add a script that runs before each commit to ensure that your code meets certain quality standards, or a script that runs after each checkout to set up your development environment.


Content Description
HEAD File Keeping Track of Your Current Branch
refs Folder Storing References to Commits and Branches
objects Folder Storing Your Codebase as a Series of Snapshots
config File Storing Configuration Information for Git
hooks Folder Running Scripts at Specific Points in the Git Workflow


Now that you understand the contents of the .git folder, you're well on your way to becoming a Git expert. By understanding how Git stores and tracks changes to your codebase, you'll be able to use this powerful tool more effectively and efficiently.

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Top comments (13)

zedcreator profile image

Helpful article. Hope you would write about how and when these files interacting with a simple code project. As well as it would be great if you explain all files and folders of a small project from creating to the end and how and when they are inter related or cross functioning with each other. Which files and folders need to create manually to explain the output of the project. Thanks 🙏 in advance.

rajaniraiyn profile image
Rajaniraiyn R

Sure @zedcreator I'll write on git - version control in mind.
Follow me and stay tuned, it will be out soon anytime

seungzedd profile image

i didn't notice this git folder deeply. Rather, i used to use it just for tracking my code and data. After knowing configuration of .git folder, i can understand the way of dealing with my file thx for sharing this helpful knowledge! :)

lico profile image
SeongKuk Han

Great! I haven't come up wtih an idea digging to .git directory. I wondered how husky works. Now, I got a sense of it.

frikishaan profile image
Ishaan Sheikh

Nice article 👏

bkpecho profile image
Bryan King Pecho

Awesome guide to the .git folder! Thanks for simplifying Git's inner workings. 🙌

masudalimran profile image
Masud Al Imran

That really helped a lot. Thank you

takmanjim profile image

Nice article, very helpful.

adophlidu profile image

@rajaniraiyn if we only have the .git floder, can we rebuild our project files with the snapshots in the object folder? hoping for your replying, thanks

rajaniraiyn profile image
Rajaniraiyn R

Ideally we can. But those snapshots must be valid for the commit it refers to. If we are able to match them, then git's integrity checking will pass and we can rebuild our project.

caiocv18 profile image
Caio Vinicius

Very clear and concise, congratulations on the article!

bhendi profile image

Great article @rajaniraiyn

justbri profile image

The guys over at CodingBlocks dot net did a really good series on how git works under the hood.
It's kinda crazy how well optimized it is!