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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
© Rakhesh Sasidharan

Using Git and Dropbox (along with GitHub)

I use Git mostly with GitHub I forget Git is an independent tool of its own. You don’t really need to push everything to GitHub to make it public. 

Usually I have my local Git repository somewhere on my computer, pushing to a remote repository in GitHub. What I’d like to do is have the local repository in Dropbox too because I stash most of my things in Dropbox. The way to do this is to have a new repository in Dropbox and to push to that also along with the GitHub one. So I continue working in the local repository as before, but when I push I do so to GitHub and the copy in my Dropbox. Nice, eh!

Here’s how I go about doing that.

1) Create a new repository as usual:

2) Change to this directory, add some files, and commit:

3) Create a new repository in GitHub:


GitHub helpfully gives commands on how to push from the existing repository to GitHub, so let’s do that (with two slight differences I’ll get to in a moment)

The differences are that (a) I don’t call the remote repository origin, I call it github, and (b) I don’t set it as the upstream (if I set it as upstream via the -u switch then this becomes the default remote repository for push and pull operations; I don’t want this to be the default yet). 

4) Create a new repository in Dropbox.

Note that this must be a bare repository. (In Git (v 1.7.0 and above) the remote repository has to be bare in order to accept a push. A bare repository is what GitHub creates behind the scenes for you. It only contains the versioning information, no working files. See this page for more info). 

5) Add the Dropbox repository as a remote to the local repository (similar command as with the “github” remote):

I am calling this remote “dropbox” so it’s easy to refer to. 

6) Push to this repository:

(Note to self: I don’t set this as upstream. Hence the lack of a -u switch. If I set it as upstream then this repository becomes the new default repository if you issue a git push command without any remote name). 

7) Create a new remote call “origin” and add both the Dropbox and GitHub remotes to it:

8) And push to this remote, setting it as the new upstream:

That’s it! From now on a git push will push to both Dropbox and GitHub. And I can push individually to either of these remotes by calling them by name: git push dropbox or git push github.

When I am on a different machine I just clone from either Dropbox or GitHub as usual, for example:

Note that I change the name from origin (the default) to dropbox (or github).  

Then I add the other remote repository:

And as before add a remote called origin and make it upstream:

There’s no real advantage in having two remote repositories like this, but I was curious whether I can set something up along these lines and thought I’d give it a go. Two blog posts I came across are this and this. They take a similar approach as me and are about storing the repository in Dropbox only (rather than Dropbox and GitHub). 

Using Git and Dropbox (along with GitHub) by rakhesh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.