Maybe you had the problem: You have a fork of a repo. But the fork isn’t up to date with the upstream.. On the GitLab/GitHub/Gitea UI you don’t see a feature for updating your fork. Sometimes you can create a PR/MR on your fork with the upstream as source. But a PR for every new commit is bad..

So, Git has a feature for that. Maybe not explicitly for the “fork” model. But does exactly what you want.

What are remotes?

First, we’ll short cover what are remotes.

Remotes are in a local git repository. If you type git push, it sends the commits not existing on the remote, to the remote. So, a remote is a git server like GitHub and Codeberg.

To see active remotes in your repo type git remote -v. (-v is prints more output. Without it you see only the names)

Maybe, if you cloned from a remote server the repo, it looks like:

$ git remote -v
origin (fetch)
origin (push)

For the basic knowledge, you can ignore the doubled remotes. So, this remote registered, is called origin. And the url is Also if this is a forked repo, you only see the forked repo url.

So first we add the upstream as a remote called upstream.

$ git remote add upstream

And the git remote -v looks like:

$ git remote -v
origin (fetch)
origin (push)
upstream (fetch)
upstream (push)

So, our two remotes are registered. The first one is the fork repo, and second is the upstream where the fork comes from.

Preparing things

First run git fetch upstream. With that we download all branches and refs available of the remote specified, in our case upstream.

$ git fetch upstream
remote: Enumerating objects: 217, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (182/182), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (72/72), done.
remote: Total 133 (delta 98), reused 93 (delta 61), pack-reused 0
Receiving objects: 100% (133/133), 18.45 KiB | 419.00 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (98/98), completed with 28 local objects.
   322c3b4524..da8a2a6fbb  master     -> upstream/master

The next step is to checkout our branch we want to rebase.

For example if you have an MR/PR on branch x checkout the branch x and run the next commands. If you still want to update the master or the main branch check this out.

Now: Rebase!

Not let’s rebase with git rebase upstream/master. You can of course also rebase a other branch of your repo instead of the remote. Do that with git remote my-branch-with-other-commits. Or a other branch on the remote like git rebase remote/branch-x.

$ git rebase upstream/master
Successfully rebased and updated refs/head/master

Great! Now our HEAD is up to date with upstream/master

Push it to your origin

Let’s push it to our origin remote with the fork located.

$ git push origin master
Enumerating objects: 217, done.
Counting objects: 100% (182/182), done.
Delta compression using up to 6 threads
Compressing objects: 100% (35/35), done.
Writing objects: 100% (133/133), 18.45 KiB | 18.45 MiB/s, done.
Total 133 (delta 98), reused 133 (delta 98), pack-reused 0
remote: Resolving deltas: 100% (98/98), completed with 28 local objects.
   322c3b4524..da8a2a6fbb  master -> master

And then look in your web UI of the remote and be happy!