Setting up and using Git on Windows and Ubuntu

GIT is a decentralized version control system. GIT differs from CVS, SVN, and various other VCS’s in that there is no need for a central repository though one can be used if desired.

I decided to use Git rather than SVN for source control for my new projects (LAMP and .NET).

Here are instructions I wrote to help to get started with Git on Linux (Ubuntu) and Windows.


Finally, we will have:

– Work repositories on Windows local machine

– Repositories on Ubuntu server (it can be Ubuntu on your virtual machine or Ubuntu on Amazon EC2 instance).

Install and configure msysGit on Windows


Install git by downloading the latest msysGit installer from

Run the installer and proceed through the wizard.

Selct the following options in wizard:

– The default setting is to “use Git Bash only” which means you will only be able to use git commands from within the Bash shell. Personally, I also like to run the git commands from inside a windows command prompt or a PowerShell window, so I choose the second option “Run git from within the Windows Command prompt.”

– you will be asked which SSH client you wish to use. Choose ‘OpenSSH’

– Choose ‘Use Windows style line endings’.


If you don’t  need to share your projects with other developers you can stop here and use Git repositories locally.



If you want to work with Git repositories on Windows – you may want to install TortoiseGit.

TortoiseGit (like TortoiseSVN and CVS) is accessed through the explorer context menu, which can be opened by right clicking inside any folder in Windows Explorer.

Read here – – How to use TortoiseGit

Install Git on Ubuntu

Next step is to setup Git on Ubuntu Linux servers. Process of installing Git is the same for Ubuntu on virtual machine and Amazon EC2 instance.

sudo apt-get install git-core

if you want gui you may also want to install git-gui

sudo apt-get install git-gui

[optionaly] Install git-doc

sudo apt-get install git-doc

To check version of Git installed run

git --version

Now you are ready to create repositories on Ubuntu.


Introduce yourself to Git

git config --global "Your name"
git config --global ""

You only need to do this once.


Create new repository

Start your project just by making a new directory.

Go to your project directory and init your git repository:

mkdir myproject
cd myproject
git init


Add your files to the repository and commit changes:

git add .
git commit -m "message"

Now it is time to share your repositories between your local PC and Ubuntu server.

Share Git Repositories

You have many ways to share git repositories.

The most common way is using SSH.

Git over SSH

Setting up public/private key for GIT:

On server (Ubuntu)

1. Generate the keys

cd ~/.ssh
ssh-keygen -t rsa

2. Accept the file names it wants to use. Don’t enter a passphrase (just enter). You can change a passphrase later.

3. Add the pub key to the authorized_keys file:

cd ~/.ssh
cat >> authorized_keys

4. Set permissions on your ~/.ssh folder:

chmod 700 ~/.ssh

5. Set permissions on your ~/.ssh/authorized_keys:

chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

6. Edit the file /etc/ssh/ssh_config and add the line

PubkeyAuthentication yes

7. Restart the ssh daemon

sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart


  1. Copy id_dsa and from the server to your local hard drive (use winscp or sftp or some such tool) c:\users\userName\.ssh directory (this is for Windows 7)
  2. !!! IMPORTANT: you may need to convert the keys to the format that putty understands. To do this run puttygen.exe and load your key. Then save your private key (id_rsa.ppk) to your local hard drive (c:\users\username\.ssh\id_rsa.ppk).
  3. Set tortoise git to point to C:\Program Files\Git\bin\ssh.exe (not putty)


Another way.

You have another way to generate public/private keys – generate keys locally using puttygen.exe and copy public key to Ubuntu Linux server.


  1. Run puttygen.exe (D:\Program Files\TortoiseGit\bin\puttygen.exe)
  2. Generate a key pair
  3. Save private and public keys to your local hard drive (usually in folder c:\Users\USERNAME\.ssh\): mykey.ppk,
  4. !!! IMPORTANT: check that your public key does not have comments in text and it has one line of text starting with “ssh-rsa”. You may need to remove these lines at the beginning:”—- BEGIN SSH2 PUBLIC KEY —- Comment:”and remove at the end: “—- END SSH2 PUBLIC KEY —- “

On server:

  1. Public key should be kept in SSH server.  Copy your public key file ( to the server to ~/.ssh/
  2. Run these commands on the server:
chmod 700 ~/.ssh
cd ~/.ssh/
cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
chmod 600 authorized_keys


Use your private key (mykey.ppk) located locally to connect to the server.

Read more how to setup and troubleshoot SSH authentication in my article.


Now you can work (push and pull) with your Git repositories located at Ubuntu server.

Locally in msysgit command line tool:

git clone ssh://


To know more about SSH keys – read this Ubuntu documentation.


Git over HTTP

Sometimes git needs to be able to work over http. SSH is not a fast protocol for making frequent changes to a remote repository, so you may want to get access to your Git repositories through http.

Traditionally git used to work only over ssh or git protocols while there was only a dumb version of git over http which was slow and inefficient. Sometimes git needs to be able to work over http. Now starting from git 1.7 both git servers and clients have support for smart http which works over http(s) and is supposed to be as efficient as the ssh version.

The old ‘dumb’ transport method (using only DAV), git can not request specific objects from a server, it can only find out what packfile contains the object it needs and download the entire packfile. Also this protocol doesn’t call hooks. The older ‘dumb’ transport was also never really intended for pushing changes to the server.

I use http protocol for git repositories which require frequent updates while testing and debugging. For example, I have several projects which I cannot test locally (for example, facebook applications) and I need to upload changes to the remote server.

Git over HTTP: Smart HTTP

Configure Apache

Make sure mod_cgi, mod_alias, and mod_env are enabled.

Open the Apache config file and add the following lines (/etc/apache2/apache2.conf or /etc/apache2/httpd.conf by default)

SetEnv GIT_PROJECT_ROOT /home/username/git
ScriptAlias /git/ /usr/lib/git-core/git-http-backend/

The GIT_PROJECT_ROOT should point to the root folder where git repositories would be hosted. Set this away from the document root of the web server.

What the above do is direct any requests with /git/ to the git-http-backend and tell the script that the root of git repositories is GIT_PROJECT_ROOT.


Append the following to theApache config file to enable read/write access to the folder

<Location /git>
AuthType Basic
AuthName "Git"
AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/passwd.git
Require valid-user

What the above do is make requests to /git only accessible to valid users and tell valid users are listed on the file /etc/apache2/passwd.git.

Make sure the file ‘/etc/apache2/passwd.git’ is accessible by Apache (user ‘www-data’).

Use the following command to create the user list at /etc/apache2/passwd.git and add the user ‘username’ with a password to it.

htpasswd -c /etc/apache2/passwd.git username

If the file already exists then run httpasswd without -c option.


Restart Apache

sudo service apache2 restart


Craete bare repository

Create an empy bare git repository under the specified GIT_PROJECT_ROOT (/home/username/git in our example)

cd /home/username/git
mkdir myproject
cd myproject
git --bare init


Set permissions on git repository

Make the folder ‘myproject’ with it’s subfolders owned by the user which the web server is run from (user ‘www-data’ in Ubuntu).

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data myproject/

Now the bare git repository should be pull-able and pushable by authorized users.


User the repository

Clone the git repository over http from another location

git clone


Make some changes locally and commit changes to the server

cd my project
# make some changes, add files, etc, touch readme
git add .
git commit -m “first commit”
git push origin master


The manual for the git-http-backend can be found here.

Git over HTTP: DAV

I followed instructions written in this post with a few modifications.

setup a bare GIT repository
Create the directory under the DocumentRoot of the directories served by Apache. As an example we take /var/www.
$ cd /var/www
$ mkdir git
$ cd git
$ mkdir my-repo.git

Initialize a bare repository
$ cd my-repo.git
$ git –bare init

Change the ownership to your web-server’s credentials.
$ cd /var/www
$ chown -R www-data:www-data git

If you do not know which user Apache runs as, you can alternatively do a “chmod -R a+w .”, inspect the files which are created later on, and set the permissions appropriately.

Enable the post-update hook:
$ cp /var/www/git/my-repo.git/hooks/post-update.sample /var/www/git/my-repo.git/hooks/post-update
$ chmod +x /var/www/git/my-repo.git/hooks/post-update

Restart apache2

$ sudo service apache2 restart

Try to clone the repository into some directory:

$ git clone myrepo

If you get this error:

fatal: not found: did you run git update-server-info on the server?

then you need to init your repository references:
$ cd /var/www/git/my-repo.git/
$ sudo -u www-data git update-server-info

Enable DAV

Enable the dav and dav_fs modules of apache:
$ a2enmod dav_fs
$ a2enmod dav

The DAV lock is located in /etc/apache2/mods-available/dav_fs.conf:
DAVLockDB /var/lock/apache2/DAVLock

This directory to be writable by the user Apache runs as.

Setup GIT directories to enabled DAV

I am using a domain to access all my GIT repositories located in /var/www/git.

Add these lines to httpd.conf (/etc/apache2/httpd.conf):

<VirtualHost *:80>
DocumentRoot "/var/www/git"
<Directory "/var/www/git">
AuthType Basic
AuthName "git"
AuthUserFile "/etc/apache2/passwd.git"
Require valid-user
<Directory "/var/www/git/my-repo.git">
DAV on
AuthType Basic
AuthName "Git"
AuthUserFile "/etc/apache2/passwd.git"
Require valid-user

Or you can do this without virtual hosts:

<Location /my-repo.git>
DAV on
AuthType Basic
AuthName "Git"
AuthUserFile /etc/apache2/passwd.git
Require valid-user

Do not forget to init a bare repository in /var/www/git/my-repo.git as described before.

The password file can be somewhere else, but it has to be readable by Apache and preferably not readable by the world.

Add passwords

$ htpasswd -c /etc/apache2/passwd.git <user>

You will be asked a password, and the file is created. Subsequent calls to htpasswd should omit the ‘-c’ option, since you want to append to the existing file.

You need to restart Apache.
$ sudo service apache2 restart

Check in browser
Go to http://<username>@<servername>/my-repo.git in your browser to check whether it asks for a password and accepts your password.

Setup the client on Windows

You can access the repository from Windows as follows:
Run msysgit command line tool or Windows native command line tool (if you setup msysgit appropriately).

$ cd /path/to/project
$ git clone prjname

You may see a warning “You appear to have cloned an empty repository”. You can just ignore this warning.

Add some changes to your project in /path/to/project/prjname.
Commit your changes to a local repository:
$ git add .
$ git commit -m “some message”

Now you can push your changes back to the server:
$ git remote add web
$ git push web master

Here you will be promted to enter a password. You may want to save your password:

$ git remote add web

Of course it is not recommended to save the password this way.


Read more about sharing GIT repositories:
* 8 ways to share your git repository – provides a summary of different ways to share a git repository.

* – the basic strengths and weaknesses of each protocol

Working with Git

Read this article to know basic commands with Git repositories.

Install gitosis

gitosis is a tool for hosting GIT repositories. It manages multiple repositories under one user account, using SSH keys to identify users. However, users do *not* need shell accounts on the server, instead they will talk to one shared account that does not allow arbitrary commands. Git itself is used to setup gitosis and manage the Git repos.

Read this tutorial showing how to host and manage Git repositories with access control, easily and safely.

Git Work Flow

I am using remote Git repositories to deploy my projects to the remote host (Ubuntu server installed on Amazon EC2 instance).

Read the details in my post “GIT Work Flow and Deployment of sites using Git



Read more about Git:

* – Git User’s Manual


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