Tutorial on Git and GitHub for Absolute Beginners

Disclaimer: This tutorial is meant for absolute beginners. I have used terminology in a way that eases understandings, and hence certain words might have a (little) different, deeper meaning associated to it.

YouTube Video Tutorial


  1. What is Git and GitHub
  2. Install Git
  3. Create GitHub Account
  4. Connect to GitHub with SSH (Optional)
  5. Create a Repository locally
  6. Make Commits
  7. Explore its other capabilities
  8. Upload your Repository to GitHub (remote)
  9. Use and Understand the web Interface for your remote
  10. Learn more and Collaborate

0. What is git

What is GitHub

1. Install Git

Download the latest package from the official git website

In case you prefer simple commands for the terminal

  1. Linux
    1. sudo apt-get install git (Ubuntu)
    2. sudo yum install git (Fedora)
  2. MacOS
    1. Install Brew: /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
    2. brew install git

Post installation, you can configure your name, email, and default text editor (for commit messages and some other use-cases)

git config --global user.name “Your Name” git config --global user.email “Your Email” git config --global core.editor “nano”

2. Sign-Up on GitHub

3. Connect to GitHub with SSH (Optional)

4. Create a Repository locally

You can create a repository in a folder. It can be empty or you can even have your pre-existing files that you wish to add in that project/repository. To initialize git tracking use command:

git init

Do note that while executing the above command, your terminal should be inside the appropriate project directory

5. Make Commits

git add filename OR git add --all

to stage files/directories

git commit -m "Your message here"

6. Some useful commands

git status

  • to check what files are on/not-on stage
  • to check if there have been any uncommitted changes
  • to check for untracked files

git log

to see all the commits locally

7. Hosting your repository (GitHub)

git remote add origin git@github.com:Daksh/test-git-session.git

to add the address for your remote

git remote -v

to list all the remote addresses associated with a local repository

git push origin master

to push all the local comits on your remote, master branch (default branch)

git pull origin master

pulls the new changes which are present in the github repository but aren’t present locally.

git clone url

alternatively, in case you want to download a remote repository (to make a local instance of it)

Extras :)

  • git diff --color-words to see the changes in words instead of sentences
  • git checkout commitHash to temporarily switch to a branch at that particular commit, helps in testing
  • git stash and git stash apply to undo/redo the uncommitted changes
  • git diff HEAD~2 to see the changes done since HEAD~2 (two commit before HEAD). Refer to this post for more options
  • git branch and git checkout branch-name to list and change to a particular branch
  • git commit --amend --reset-author --no-edit
  • git checkout <sha-1 of that commit>
  • git diff --color-words --no-index publications.py publications\ \(1\).py


This is a special type of file, called .gitignore. It should be placed inside the main folder of your repository (top-most folder). What this file does, is indicate to git that there are some files (or some files with particular extensions) that I wish to ignore. They will be there in my local instance but don’t ask/tell me each time that they are untracked. Ignore them! There is an awesome website gitignore.io which helps you to create such files. Suppose you do not want any extra files that show up with python(eg. *.pyc)/mac (eg .DS_Store), you can just enter python and macOS on the website to generate the .gitignore file gitignore.io/api/macos,python You can simply do subl .gitignore to open a new file and copy paste the contents from the website. As soon as you add that to git tracking (git add .gitignore), you will see that all the other extension files which you wanted to get rid of and were being shown in untracked section, vanish! :D

Ignore certain extension files

Adding the line *.ext in the .gitignore file will work. But, there is a small catch, if you already have commited a file with the same extension, then git will still continue to track it. In this scenario, if you want to remove that file and stop git from tracking it, run the command git rm --cached <FileName>

Useful Links/Resources

Written on October 19, 2018