Updates were rejected because the tip of your current branch is behind its remote counterpart

One user, asks this question on StackOverflow, and we are going to see the most optimal solution to this question.

Our workflow is such. We have a branch called dev which I can reach at origin/dev. When we do changes, we create a branch off dev:

git checkout -b FixForBug origin/dev

Now I have a branch called FixForBug which is tracking (I think that’s the right word) origin/dev. Thus, if I do  git pull it’ll bring in new changes  origin/dev which is great. Now, when I’m finished with my fix, I push to a remote branch called the same thing.

First I pull down any changes from origin/dev and do a rebase:

git pull --rebase

Then I push the changes to a remote branch of the same name:

git push origin FixForBug

Now, there’s a branch on the remote server and I can create a pull request for that change to be approved and merged back into the dev branch. I don’t ever push anything to origin/dev myself. I’m guessing this is a pretty common workflow.

The first time I do a git push, it works fine and creates the remote branch. However, if I push a second time (let’s say during code-review, someone points out a problem), I get the following error:

error: failed to push some refs to ‘https://github.mydomain.info/Product/product.git’
hint: Updates were rejected because the tip of your current branch is behind its remote counterpart. Integrate the remote changes (e.g. hint: ‘git pull …’) before pushing again.
See the ‘Note about fast-forwards’ in ‘git push –help’ for details.

However, if I do a git status it says I’m ahead of origin/dev by 1 commit (which makes sense) and if I follow the hint and run git pull, it says everything is up to date. I think this is because I’m pushing to a different branch than my upstream branch. I can fix this issue by running:

git push -f origin FixForBug

In that case, it’ll push the changes to the remote branch, saying (forced update) and everything appears to be good on the remote branch.

His Questions:

Why is -f required in this scenario? Usually, when you’re forcing something, it’s because you were doing something wrong or at least against standard practice. Am I ok doing this, or will it mess up something in the remote branch or create a hassle for whoever has to eventually merge my stuff into dev?

Best Solution:

The -f is actually required because of the rebase. Whenever you do a rebase you would need to do a force push because the remote branch cannot be fast-forwarded to your commit. You’d always want to make sure that you do a pull before pushing, but if you don’t like to force push to master or dev for that matter, you can create a new branch to push to and then merge or make a PR.

To make sure your local branch FixForBug is not ahead of the remote branch FixForBug pull and merge the changes before pushing.

git pull origin FixForBug
git push origin FixForBug

We can force changes to GitHub using our local repository with the following cmd:

git push -f origin main

Hope your problem is solved. Thanks for reading!

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