Git Clone Specific Commit: A Step-by-Step Guide

Git is a powerful tool for version control, and sometimes you need to clone not just the latest version of a repository, but a specific commit. This can be useful if you’re trying to track down a bug or need to see what the code looked like at a specific point in time. Luckily, cloning a specific commit is a fairly straightforward process.

Step by Step Tutorial: Git Clone Specific Commit

Before we dive into the steps, let’s talk about what we’re trying to achieve here. Cloning a specific commit means you’re creating a local copy of the repository at the exact state it was in at that commit. This is different from cloning the entire repository, which would include all the history and commits.

Step 1: Find the Commit Hash

First, you need to find the commit hash of the specific commit you want to clone.
The commit hash is a unique identifier for each commit. You can find it by using the git log command in the terminal, or by looking through the commit history on the repository’s hosting platform, like GitHub.

Step 2: Clone the Repository

Next, you’ll clone the repository using the git clone command.
When you clone a repository, you’re copying all the files and commit history onto your local machine. This is the first step in creating a local working copy of the repository.

Step 3: Checkout the Specific Commit

Finally, you’ll use the git checkout command to switch to the commit you want.
By checking out a specific commit, you’re telling Git to point your local repository to that snapshot in time. This is how you can view and work with the code exactly as it was at that commit.

After you’ve completed these steps, your local repository will be at the state of the specific commit you checked out. You can now look at the code, run it, and even make new changes from this point if you need to.

Tips: Git Clone Specific Commit

  • Always make sure you have the correct commit hash before cloning. A wrong hash can lead to cloning the wrong version of the code.
  • Remember that when you checkout a specific commit, you’re in a ‘detached HEAD’ state, which means you’re not on any branch. Be careful with any changes you make.
  • If you need to make changes and keep them, consider creating a new branch from the specific commit.
  • Use the git log --oneline command for a more concise view of the commit history.
  • To return to the latest version in the repository, simply checkout the main branch using git checkout main.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a commit hash?

A commit hash is a unique identifier assigned to each commit in the git history, representing the state of the repository at that point in time.

Can I clone a specific branch instead of a commit?

Yes, you can clone a specific branch by using the -b option with the git clone command and specifying the branch name.

What do I do if I get a ‘detached HEAD’ message?

A ‘detached HEAD’ message means you’re not on any branch. It’s normal when you checkout a specific commit. Just be cautious with any changes you make, as they won’t be on a branch.

How can I view the commit history?

You can view the commit history using the git log command, which shows a list of all commits in the current branch.

Can I push changes made from a specific commit?

Yes, but since you’re in a ‘detached HEAD’ state, you’ll need to create a new branch and push the changes from there.


  1. Find the commit hash.
  2. Clone the repository.
  3. Checkout the specific commit.


Git’s ability to clone a specific commit is a testament to its versatility as a version control system. Whether you’re a developer trying to squash a bug, a project manager looking at progress, or just curious about a previous state of a project, this feature is incredibly useful. It gives you the power to navigate the timeline of a repository with precision and ease. Remember to handle the ‘detached HEAD’ state with care to avoid any potential mishaps. If you do make changes, branching out from the specific commit can provide a safe space to experiment without affecting the main codebase. Now that you know how to git clone a specific commit, the entire history of your projects is at your fingertips, ready to be explored and utilized as you see fit. So, go ahead, clone away, and may your coding journey be as error-free as possible!