Updating Forked Repositories on GitHub
Posted on 18th June 2015
Warning: This post is over a year old. I don't always update old posts with new information, so some of this information may be out of date.
I just had to update a repo that I forked on GitHub. This is how I did it. Did I do it the correct way?
People may or may not know, but this site runs on Sculpin, a PHP based static site generator (this may be the first time that I've mentioned it on this site). The source code is hosted on GitHub, and I've listed the site on the Community page on the Sculpin website.
In the last week or so, I've changed this site URL from .co.uk to just .uk, and also updated the GitHub repo URL to match, so I wanted to update the Community page to use the correct URL.
There had been commits to the main repo since my pull request was merged, I didn't want to delete my repo and fork again, and making any changes against and old codebase isn't best practice, so I wanted to merge the latest changes into my forked repo before I did anything else - just to check that I didn't break anything!
Updating my Local Repo
I had a quick look for a Update my fork button or something, but couldn't see one to I added the main repository as an additional remote called
upstream and fetched the changes.
$ git remote add upstream https://github.com/sculpin/sculpin.io.git $ git fetch upstream remote: Counting objects: 33, done. remote: Total 33 (delta 6), reused 6 (delta 6), pack-reused 27 Unpacking objects: 100% (33/33), done. From https://github.com/sculpin/sculpin.io * [new branch] master -> upstream/master * [new branch] pr/4 -> upstream/pr/4
Now my local site knows about the upstream repo, and I could rebase the changes (
git pull upstream master should have worked too) and push them back to origin.
$ git rebase upstream/master First, rewinding head to replay your work on top of it... ... Fast-forwarded master to upstream/master. $ git push origin master
This seems to have worked OK - the commits are still authored by the correct people and at the correct date and time - and I went ahead and created a new feature branch and pull request based on that master branch.
Is There a Better Way?
Did I miss something? Is there a recommended and/or better way to update your forked repos, maybe through the UI? Please send me a tweet with any comments.
December 2015: I’ve found that PhpStorm has an option available to rebase a fork from within the IDE. This is within the VCS > Git menu.
I believe that it will use an existing "upstream" remote if it exists, otherwise it will add one automatically for you, linking to the repository that you forked from.
Once you’ve completed the rebase, you can then push your updated branch either from the terminal, or using the Push command from the same menu.
- PhpStorm - Advanced GitHub Integration: Rebase My GitHub Fork (blog post)
- Rebasing a GitHub fork inside PhpStorm (video)
- hub - makes Git better with GitHub
About the Author
Oliver Davies is a Full Stack Web Developer and System Administrator based in the UK. He is a Senior Developer at Microserve and a part-time freelancer specialising in Drupal, Symfony and Laravel development and Linux systems administration.