git-pack-refs(1) — Linux manual page


GIT-PACK-REFS(1)               Git Manual               GIT-PACK-REFS(1)

NAME         top

       git-pack-refs - Pack heads and tags for efficient repository

SYNOPSIS         top

       git pack-refs [--all] [--no-prune] [--auto] [--include <pattern>] [--exclude <pattern>]

DESCRIPTION         top

       Traditionally, tips of branches and tags (collectively known as
       refs) were stored one file per ref in a (sub)directory under
       $GIT_DIR/refs directory. While many branch tips tend to be
       updated often, most tags and some branch tips are never updated.
       When a repository has hundreds or thousands of tags, this
       one-file-per-ref format both wastes storage and hurts

       This command is used to solve the storage and performance problem
       by storing the refs in a single file, $GIT_DIR/packed-refs. When
       a ref is missing from the traditional $GIT_DIR/refs directory
       hierarchy, it is looked up in this file and used if found.

       Subsequent updates to branches always create new files under
       $GIT_DIR/refs directory hierarchy.

       A recommended practice to deal with a repository with too many
       refs is to pack its refs with --all once, and occasionally run
       git pack-refs. Tags are by definition stationary and are not
       expected to change. Branch heads will be packed with the initial
       pack-refs --all, but only the currently active branch heads will
       become unpacked, and the next pack-refs (without --all) will
       leave them unpacked.

OPTIONS         top

           The command by default packs all tags and refs that are
           already packed, and leaves other refs alone. This is because
           branches are expected to be actively developed and packing
           their tips does not help performance. This option causes all
           refs to be packed as well, with the exception of hidden refs,
           broken refs, and symbolic refs. Useful for a repository with
           many branches of historical interests.

           The command usually removes loose refs under $GIT_DIR/refs
           hierarchy after packing them. This option tells it not to.

           Pack refs as needed depending on the current state of the ref
           database. The behavior depends on the ref format used by the
           repository and may change in the future.

           •   "files": No special handling for --auto has been

           •   "reftable": Tables are compacted such that they form a
               geometric sequence. For two tables N and N+1, where N+1
               is newer, this maintains the property that N is at least
               twice as big as N+1. Only tables that violate this
               property are compacted.

       --include <pattern>
           Pack refs based on a glob(7) pattern. Repetitions of this
           option accumulate inclusion patterns. If a ref is both
           included in --include and --exclude, --exclude takes
           precedence. Using --include will preclude all tags from being
           included by default. Symbolic refs and broken refs will never
           be packed. When used with --all, it will be a noop. Use
           --no-include to clear and reset the list of patterns.

       --exclude <pattern>
           Do not pack refs matching the given glob(7) pattern.
           Repetitions of this option accumulate exclusion patterns. Use
           --no-exclude to clear and reset the list of patterns. If a
           ref is already packed, including it with --exclude will not
           unpack it.

       When used with --all, pack only loose refs which do not match any
       of the provided --exclude patterns.

       When used with --include, refs provided to --include, minus refs
       that are provided to --exclude will be packed.

BUGS         top

       Older documentation written before the packed-refs mechanism was
       introduced may still say things like ".git/refs/heads/<branch>
       file exists" when it means "branch <branch> exists".

GIT         top

       Part of the git(1) suite

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the git (Git distributed version control
       system) project.  Information about the project can be found at
       ⟨⟩.  If you have a bug report for this manual
       page, see ⟨⟩.  This page was obtained
       from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨⟩ on 2024-06-14.  (At that time,
       the date of the most recent commit that was found in the
       repository was 2024-06-12.)  If you discover any rendering
       problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe there
       is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

Git         2024-06-12               GIT-PACK-REFS(1)

Pages that refer to this page: git(1)git-maintenance(1)gitrepository-layout(5)gitglossary(7)