Useful Git Commands: URL Rewriting

29 Aug 2014

People have to use SSH or HTTPS to push to GitHub, but when fetching one can use git’s own network protocol because it is generally faster. You can make a specific repository on your machine use SSH only for pushing by cloning it with the faster git:// URL and running something like this:

% git config remote.upstream.pushurl

That works nicely, but you have to do it once for every single repository you want to interact with. That quickly becomes annoying. Thankfully, you can leverage git’s URL-rewriting mechanism to make this easier:

% git config --global url.git:// github:
% git config --global github:

This adds two new rules to your git configuration:

  1. If a URL starts with github: then replace that with git://
  2. If a URL starts with github: and you are pushing then replace that with

After you do that you can simply use URLs like github:gholms/boto when cloning. They will get rewritten to when pushing, and git:// the rest of the time, speeding things up without creating additional work in the future.

This should work if you prefer HTTPS for pushing to GitHub, or if you use other servers, too. Just tweak the commands.

3 Responses to “Useful Git Commands: URL Rewriting”

  1. Paul Frields Says:

    Awesome tip! I have a couple .insteadOf defined, like fh: for Fedora Hosted, but I didn’t know about .pushInsteadOf.

  2. This also makes life easier for organizations that have Gerrit (or other) master/slave configurations — need to have pull/clone set to mirror, but push set to master. Thanks!

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