How to set up a Git repository in minutes on Linux

If you need a quick code repository, you have everything you need with git and SSH. Jack Wallen shows you how it's done.

It only takes minutes to set up a Git repository on Linux

Sometimes you just need to deploy a quick Git repository so you can collaborate on a project, back up your code or house your files on a remote machine. When you feel like doing that, you don't want to have to spend an hour or so deploying a server and setting it up … especially when you already have everything you need at your fingertips.

I'm going to show you how you can quickly deploy a Git repository using just git and ssh. You should be able to spin this up in less than five minutes (two, if you type fast).

Let's get busy.

What you'll need

The only thing you need is a Linux machine (either a desktop or a server) to host the repository and a user with sudo privileges. That's it.

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How to install git

You probably already have git installed on your local machine. On the off chance you don't have it installed on the remote machine, log into it and install with:

  • For Debian-based systems - sudo apt install git -y
  • For Red Hat-based systems - sudo dnf install git -y

Git should now be installed.

Stay logged into the remote machine.

How to create a git user and copy your SSH keys

On the remote machine create a git user with:

sudo adduser git

Give the new user a password and answer the remaining questions.

Change to the git user with:

su git

Change into the git users' HOME directory with:

cd

Create the .ssh directory and give it the proper permissions:

mkdir .ssh
chmod 700 .ssh

Create the authorized_keys file and give it the correct permissions with:

touch .ssh/authorized_keys
chmod 600 .ssh/authorized_keys

Now, on your local machine view the id_rsa.pub file of the user who will be working on the git repository with the command:

cat /home/USER/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

Where USER is the user who'll be working with git. Copy that key to your clipboard. 

Open the authorized_keys file on the remote machine with:

nano /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys

Paste the key and then save and close the file.

How to create the repository

Back on your remote machine create a repository directory (still as the user git) in the git users' home with:

mkdir /home/git/git_repo

Change into that directory with:

cd /home/git/git_repo

Create a new project directory (we'll name it PROJECTX) with:

mkdir PROJECTX

Change into that new directory with:

cd PROJECTX

Initialize the new (bare) git repository:

git --init bare

How to clone the new repository

Back at your local machine, issue the command:

git clone git@REMOTE:/home/git/git_repo/PROJECTX

Where REMOTE is the IP address of the remote machine housing the git project.

You should be prompted for your SSH key authentication password. Upon successful authentication, the project will clone and you're ready to go. If you want to test this repository, create a README in PROJECTX (on the local machine) with:

cd PROJECTX
touch README

Now, we'll push the changes to the repository by adding the files, creating a commit, and pushing with:

git add --all
git commit -m "Added README file"
git push origin master

There ya go. You've created a repository on a remote machine, initialized a new project, cloned the project to a local machine, made changes, and pushed your changes to the repository. This should take you less than five minutes.

Done.

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