Is it possible to completely empty a remote Git repository?

Issue

Let’s say I make a mistake in my first push to a remote Git repository. Can I somehow revert this so that the repository is back to it’s initial state? I don’t have access to the remote machine, so deleting .git directory is not possible.

The problem, as far as I can see is that you can’t “unset” the head.

This is what I (or actually a colleague who asked about this) did (I do a local “remote” repo here so anyone can test this):

mkdir git-remote
cd git-remote
git init --bare
cd ..
mkdir git-local
cd git-local
git clone ../git-remote .
touch a
git add a
git commit -m "initial"
git push origin master

And at this point he realised he pushed the wrong stuff to the remote repository.

The only idea I had is the delete everything from his repo && git rm && git push which would still leave the faulty commit there, but the files wouldn’t bother a second push.

Solution

I think you may have an XY problem. You don’t actually need to get the remote repository back into its original state in order to start over; you simply need to start over locally, then force-push that to the remote.

# create a new repository that has the initial commit that you want
mkdir foo; cd foo; git init; ...; git commit

# set up a remote
git remote add origin <url-of-remote>
git branch --set-upstream master origin/master

# push your new history
git push -f

# delete obsolete remote branches
git push origin :deprecated-branch

The remote repository never returns to a no-commits state, but it ends up where you want it, and that’s all that matters!

(Under the hood, the old commits are actually still in the remote repository, but they’re left dangling, with no refs pointing to them. They’ll be automatically removed when git gc --auto is triggered by a push at some point.)

If you really, really want to empty it for some reason, you can set receive.denyDeleteCurrent in the remote repository, and push-delete all branches, including the current one. I don’t see why you actually need to, though!

Answered By – Cascabel

This Answer collected from stackoverflow, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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