How to permanently remove a file from Git history

We all make mistakes sometimes. Pushing files that contain some secrets or sensitive information to a Git repository is fairly common. And even if we revert the commit, it would still be present in the Git history of the project. In such cases, where we want to permanently remove a file from Git history, we need to perform a couple of steps.

1. If the file involved some secrets, revoke them immediately

- Advertisement -

2. Add the file to gitignore.

Assuming it was a .env file,

echo '.env' >> .gitignore

3. Permanently remove a file from Git history:

git filter-branch --index-filter "git rm -rf --cached --ignore-unmatch .env" HEAD

If it is a different file, replace “.env” with the path of the file.

Note: This can be a time-consuming process as it revisits all of the git commits in history and removes the file from there.

4. Force push

git push --force

Since we rewrote a bunch of commits, we will have to do a force push to modify the git history of the project. If there are multiple branches on the project, or a team working on the project, this might be cumbersome and we would want to search for the commits manually and rebase them instead.

Note: If we only wanted to remove the file and did not care about deleting it from the git history, we would have used the command:

git rm -r --cached .env

And that is it. Drop-in a comment below if you have any questions.

Recent Articles

Benefits Of Guest Blogging For SEO

Guest blogging entails the art of writing and publishing posts to be content for someone else. Guest blogging and posting on other...

Chrome devtools: Using logpoints for logging messages directly

When it comes to debugging JavaScript in Chrome devtools, there are two different camps: the console.log fans and the debugger/breakpoint maximalist. I...

How to prevent npm install for unsupported Node.js versions

npm configurations allow us to do quite a lot of nifty things. One of them is to allow the project to set...

How to terminate a process on a port using the command line

Zombie processes are usually a pain to figure out. More often than not, I end up googling about how to terminate a...

Detecting dark mode preference using JavaScript

As dark themes have become popular across the web and across operating systems, we might want to check the user's operating system...

Related Stories

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Hi there! Want some more knowledge?

Think that the knowledge shared is helpful? You might want to give our mailing list a try. We'll send you 2-4 emails a month, right when new posts come out.

Hi there! Want some more knowledge?

Think that the knowledge shared is helpful? You might want to give our mailing list a try. We'll send you 2-4 emails a month, right when new posts come out.