Git: How to fetch a branch from the upstream to the local repo in 5 steps
3 min read
Hello Fellow CodeNewbies 👋,
I am collaborating with a friend to create a project in React.
I created a repo for the project, and my teammate forked this repo.
Recently, I created a branch to make some changes. Then I pushed this branch to the remote repo and created a pull request.
I asked my teammate to fetch this branch and test things out locally before merging it into the
After making sure that we didn't have anything to fetch and merge from the remote repo, and after several attempts, we still couldn't fetch the branch from the remote repo.
We mostly got the error of
fatal: couldn't find remote ref <branch-name>.
Then we tried to step back and figure things out.
From my teammate's side, my repo is the
upstream repo. He then forked this repo, which automatically becomes his
For him to fetch a branch — that hasn't been merged to
main — from the
upstream repo, his
origin repo should have access to the
So, we need to set the
origin repo to point to the
📝 Important Side Notes
My teammate and I started this project with one of us creating a repo and the other forking the repo.
But for collaborating, we could do it differently, which I will cover in another blog post.
We found out later that what we're doing is an open-source workflow, where we maintain and contribute to a repo. In this case, I am the maintainer, and my teammate is the contributor.
However, we learned a lot from this accident.
So, I hope you can gain something too from our journey! 😄
Fetch a branch from the
Check our current configured remote repo for our fork.
git remote -v
If we haven't configured a remote that points to the
upstreamrepo, we will get:
origin <fork-repo-url> (fetch) origin <fork-repo-url> (push)
Add a new remote
upstreamrepo that will be synced with the
git remote add upstream <original-repo-url>
original-repo-urlis the HTTPS URL of the repo that we fork.
We can copy this link by going to the repo on GitHub, clicking the green button with "Code" written on it, and copying the HTTPS link.
Check if the new
upstreamhas now been added.
git remote -v
Now we should get:
origin <fork-repo-url> (fetch) origin <fork-repo-url> (push) upstream <original-repo-url> (fetch) upstream <original-repo-url> (push)
Fetch data from the
git fetch upstream
You will see in the command line that we have fetched the branches on the
upstreamrepo, including the target branch.
Navigate to the branch.
git checkout branch-name
Running this command will automatically create a branch with the same name in our local repo.
Now you have the branch on your local repo, and you can test it out locally! 😄
Thank you for reading!
Last but not least, you can find me on Twitter. Let's connect! 😊
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