How to copy repositories with Git Clone

Git Clone allows you to copy existing repositories and work in the separate clone. You can carry out push and pull commands from the working copy thereafter.

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What is Git Clone?

Unlike SVN, Git allows you to work in multiple repositories at the same time. This allows developers to test out adjustments without the risk of ruining the entire project, and it also allows teams to work at the same time without waiting for other team members to make any steps.

However, Git Clone means team do not have to start from scratch, as they have the option to copying existing repositories and continuing to work in the copy. All of the version control processes are then managed using the new local repository. The clone can be used for all development steps. However, the cloning process will automatically set a link to the original repository.

It is important to note that Git makes no distinction between the central repository and its clones. The clones are perceived as fully valid. Instead of committing to the central, original repository, commits are shared with each other using Git Push and Git Pull.


You can learn more about the similarities and differences between the Git and SVN management tools in our Git vs. SVN comparison.

What is the Git Clone syntax?

Git Clone is a simple Git Command. It is essential when working on different development steps in daily tasks. The syntax of the command is always the same. You can find it in our handy Git cheat sheet with a PDF download. The classic structure looks like this:

git clone <repository></repository>

This command copies the sample repository and saves the copy on the local machine. The original remains untouched and will not adopt any changes automatically. Repositories in the local data system and repositories on other machines are a suitable basis for Git Clone. These can be accessed using HTTP or SSH. HTTP looks like this:

git clone

This is the syntax if an SSH username is stored already:

git clone ssh://
cd new_repository

How do I set destination folder?

In addition to the method described above, Git Clone also allows you to select a specific location to store the copy. This can make your work easier and it also provides a better overview. Simply place the destination folder after the command to do this. This is what the command looks like:

git clone <repository> <destination folder=""></destination></repository>

This clones the repository and stores the copy in the specified folder. All branches, files and commits are also noted and cloned.

What is Git clone and mirror?

Use “mirror” to create a copy that cannot be edited with Git Clone. This includes branches and references. This is what the command looks like:

git clone --mirror

What is Git clone and bare?

The “bare” argument tells Git to copy the remote repository, but to ignore the working directory. This means that you can also use the push and pull commands for the copy, but direct editing is not possible. The command looks like this:

git clone --bare

How do I clone a single branch?

You can also clone a single branch. Use Git Clone and the following command to do this:

git clone --single-branch

The main branch is cloned in this case. Cloning another branch must be explicitly stated. This is the command:

git clone [url] --branch [branch] --chosen-branch

However, you will not usually need to clone individual branches, just copy the entire repository instead.

How do I clone specific tags?

You can also clone certain tags with Git Clone. This is what it looks like in code:

git clone --branch <tag> <repository></repository></tag>

What is Git clone and sparse?

When it comes to particularly large repositories with numerous branches, it might make sense to only clone the files from the root directory. The argument for this is “sparse”. It makes working on a repository easier, aids the overview and has a positive effect on performance. This command looks like this:

git clone --sparse

How do I use templates with Git Clone?

Simply use the appropriate command to apply a Git template to a cloned repository. It looks like this:

git clone --template=<template> <repository></repository></template>

This clones the repository and applies the desired template directly to the local branch.


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