Difference Between Git Fetch and Git Pull

The task of downloading data or information is an important step that you do in your daily life because the remote data that you look at in the local repository of your system is just a snapshot. This data is as up-to-date as the last time you straightforwardly download the fresh data with fetch and full from the remote. It is important to always remember these facts when you examine branches and commits of a remote.

Git Fetch v/s Git Pull

The main difference between Git Fetch and Git Pull is that git fetch is the command that indicates your local git to restore the newest meta-data information from the source. It does not transfer any file. It is more like examining the data to find whether the changes are available or not, whereas git pull does the same thing along with pulling all the changes to your repository

Git Fetch vs Git Pull

The git fetch is a command that downloads the files, snapshots, and references of a remote repository to your local repository. This command downloads the remote data without updating the current working state of your local repository, leaving your work as it was and the content which is being fetched is explicitly checked using the command gitcheckout.

On the other hand, the git pulls a command that fetches and downloads the data from a remote repository while updating the local repository to match with the fetched data. The git pulls command is a combination of git fetch and git merge which is why it initially performed the function of a git fetch command and later on merged the commit and creates a new merge commit.

Comparison Table Between Git Fetch and Git Pull

Parameters of Comparison Git Fetch Git Pull 
Definition A command that pulls down the code to the local repository from the remote repository.A command that downloads the changes recently made in the remote repository and merges them in a local repository.
Commandgit fetch<remote><branch>git pull <branch>
Function It restores the changes that are made in a remote repository without creating conflicts.It saves the changes that are made in the remote repository and merges them which creates conflicts.
Developers Developers know the commits that are pushed by other developers.Developers can change the local code repository for updating.
Conflicts No conflicts occur as no merging is done.Merger conflicts usually occur when a single code is worked on by two people at the same time.

What is Git Fetch?

The git fetch is a command used for downloading all types of content or data from another server’s project to your local system. The local codes which are already present in the system are not overwritten. This command is usually used with the git reset command for updating a local repository with a remote repository. Fetching data from a remote repository is a crucial step when working with the control system of the Git version.

The process of fetching lets the user restore the content and other data from another repository to their local system and also allows to keep a track of the changes that are made over time in the remote repository. For example, let’s assume that you have set up a remote repository that collects all the main codes that are required for your project. Your employee just notified you that they have made some changes in the remote repository that you need to review. To retrieve those changes that your employee has made and to save them to your system, you can use the following command:

  • git fetch remote master 

This command will allow you to restore all the codes on the master branch to your local repository. After applying this command, you will now have all the codes of the master branch saved to your local system.

What is Git Pull?

The git pull command is a command that serves the purpose of git fetch and git merge command in a single command. The term pulls itself explains that the user using this command is trying to pull data or content from the repository. Without indicating or asking for permission from the user, git pull performs the git fetch function and combines the changes without letting the user know about it, only the result i.e. whether the operation of that command is successful and warnings, etc are known to the user.

Git Pull is also termed as a risky command as without informing it will mix up those changes that you don’t want to merge. Unlike Git Fetch, Git Pull has an assumption that any changes occurred in the repository is needed to be merged, which results in a side effect known as merge-conflict. Git pull is mainly used when a single person is working on a branch. When you find that they are no need to review the changes again, you can directly use the git pull command to directly pull all the data to your repository.

Just like other Git commands, Git Pull also provides some quick options that help in using the command more efficiently. The no-commit is the option provided by git pull where it pulls the changes but the commit that is merged won’t be listed. The rebase is another option where it records the merging history of commits.

Main Differences Between Git Fetch and Git Pull

  1. The git fetch command fetches only the required data from the remote repository to your local repository, whereas the git pull command performs the same function as git fetch along with fetching the same data in the workspace you’re working in. 
  2. In the git fetch command, the data is only downloaded, whereas in the git pull command, the data is downloaded and charges are made in your local repository. 
  3. The git fetch command performs the function of fetching the data, whereas the git pull command performs the function of fetching the data and merging it. 
  4. The git fetch command only has the command line syntax, whereas the git pull command has command-line syntax and pull request for posting changes. 
  5. The git fetch uses the command: git fetch <remote> <branch> while the git pull uses the command: git pull <branch>.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we can say that git fetch and git pull are the very crucial commands that are very frequently used while interacting with the remote repository. When we want to check or review the changes that can be possibly made in the remote repository without affecting the original content of it, we can perform the git fetch command for that purpose.

But if we want to combine the latest commits of the remote repository with the commits of our local repository, we can use the git pull command for that purpose. Git fetch and git pull both have their set of advantages and use cases, the git fetch command is considered to be a safer option than the git pull command.

References

  1. https://indico.cern.ch/event/852088/contributions/3583318/attachments/1917483/3170717/GitTalk.pdf
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=hzozEAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT11&dq=git+fetch+and+git+pull&ots=rAblUnBYwv&sig=6Oz4gurXkCH2rJU0xqiIOsqpE3Q
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