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Git basics: Ignore files from being committed

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How to ignore certain files from being committed to Git

6 Nov, 2021 ยท 2 min read

There are some files you don't want to commit to Git, simply because they would be too big and don't have any use.

Some examples of these files:

  • node_modules: Super big and changes every install
  • .env often contains secrets and keys. Make sure to ignore this file
  • Operating system files like: Thumbs.db, .DS_Store
  • .log files
  • Any cache directory

Luckily there is a simple way always to ignore these from your git repo.

Introducing the .gitignore file

As the name suggests, the .gitignore file will ignore specific files you marked inside it.

To use one, create a file called .gitignore at the root of your project.

Let's already add our operating files like so:

# Ignore platform files
Thumbs.db
.DS_Store

But let's put it to the actual test and initialize npm in our testing repo.

npm init -y

Now let's add a random package. I choose fastify for testing purposes.

npm i fastify

If we then look at our Git-changed files, we'll see a massive list of files.

Git open changes for node_modules

That's not really what we want as this contains all the node_modules files.

Let's modify our .gitignore file to ignore these like so:

# Ignore platform files
Thumbs.db
.DS_Store

# Packages
node_modules

If we take another look, we'll see there are only three files ready to be committed.

Git commit with gitignore in place

Way better!

And there you go, you can add any files you want to this .gitignore file but be aware of what you'll don't want to be committed.

I've pushed this to GitHub in case you want to have a look.

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