Renaming a branch in GitHub


I just renamed my local branch using

git branch -m oldname newname

but this only renames the local version of the branch. How can I rename the one on GitHub?


As mentioned, delete the old one on GitHub and re-push, though the commands used are a bit more verbose than necessary:

git push origin :name_of_the_old_branch_on_github
git push origin new_name_of_the_branch_that_is_local

Dissecting the commands a bit, the git push command is essentially:

git push <remote> <local_branch>:<remote_branch>

So doing a push with no local_branch specified essentially means "take nothing from my local repository, and make it the remote branch". I've always thought this to be completely kludgy, but it's the way it's done.

As of Git 1.7 there is an alternate syntax for deleting a remote branch:

git push origin --delete name_of_the_remote_branch

As mentioned by @void.pointer in the comments

Note that you can combine the 2 push operations:

git push origin :old_branch new_branch

This will both delete the old branch and push the new one.

This can be turned into a simple alias that takes the remote, original branch and new branch name as arguments, in ~/.gitconfig:

    branchm = "!git branch -m $2 $3 && git push $1 :$2 $3 -u #"


git branchm origin old_branch new_branch

Note that positional arguments in shell commands were problematic in older (pre 2.8?) versions of Git, so the alias might vary according to the Git version. See this discussion for details.

Changing the Git remote 'push to' default

Git - Pushing code to two remotes