Git Hooks - Deploying with git push

2021 Update:

Most cloud providers now have this as a built-in feature.

Please visit your platform’s documentation for more info. If you're not sure what to do, leave a comment below.

Automated deployments are great, simply because you can spend more time developing your app and less time following tedious, repetitive tasks.

They also minimize the human factor of the whole processes, so it's more predictable, reliable and error-free.

Thanks to git hooks, automating your deployment process becomes an easy task. Let's see how it's done.

I assume you already have a bare git repository on the server which looks similar to this:


We are going to create a post-receive hook in the hooks directory. This server-side hook is called after the entire push process is completed.

The idea is to pull the contents of a specific branch into a working directory on the server and deploy the application from there. The steps you want to execute after post-receive is triggered are the following:

  1. check if push occurred on a specific branch
  2. pull the same branch to the server-side working directory
  3. start the deployment in the same directory

Here is how our post-receive hook should look like:


# branch to watch for push
# server-side working directory

while read oldrev newrev refname
    # there can be multiple branches but we're only interested in deploy
    branch=$(git rev-parse --symbolic --abbrev-ref $refname)
    if [ "$DEPLOYMENT_BRANCH" == "$branch" ]; then
      echo "**** pulling changes from $branch ****"

      # change directory to the working copy
      cd $WORKING_DIR
      unset GIT_DIR
      git pull origin $DEPLOYMENT_BRANCH

      # at this point you have the latest source in WORKING_DIR.
      # time to start your build process and deployment scripts
      # grunt, for instance
      grunt production

The script must be executable so don't forget adding

chmod +x post-receive

Let's test it:

$ git push origin deploy
Counting objects: 7, done.
Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 241 bytes | 0 bytes/s, done.
Total 3 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0)
remote: **** pulling changes from deploy ****
remote: From /home/akoskm/
remote:  * branch            deploy     -> FETCH_HEAD
remote:    ab96f0e..bf21a7f  deploy     -> origin/deploy
remote: Updating ab96f0e..bf21a7f
remote: Fast-forward
remote:  foo | 2 +-
remote:  1 file changed, 1 insertion(+), 1 deletion(-)
To /home/akoskm/
   212fc95..bf21a7f  deploy -> deploy

Pushing to origin triggered the post-receive hook and the part specific to deploy branch.

Run through this checklist before testing your hook:

  • make sure the server-side working directory exists and you have the required permission to execute your deployment scripts there
  • post-receive is executable (chmod +x)
  • before pushing check that you're on the right branch (git branch)


  1. Git on the Server - Getting Git on a Server
  2. Customizing Git - Git Hooks

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