If I tar a folder that is a git repository, can I do so without including the .git related files? If not, how would I go about doing that via a command?

5 Answers 5


Simplest answer: Add --exclude-vcs. This excludes all version control system directories

Personally I use

tar --exclude-vcs -zcvf foo.tar.gz ./FOLDER_NAME

so all you need to do is add the --exclude-vcs at the end of the command.

  • 2
    All known ones, I suppose? ;)
    – phk
    Oct 30, 2016 at 6:26
  • 3
    All the options need to be together before the arguments on GNU/Linux.
    – vhs
    Aug 30, 2019 at 3:28
  • 3
    As stated for GNU/Linux tar --exclude-vcs -zcvf foo.tar.gz ./FOLDER_NAME
    – Michael
    Nov 19, 2019 at 7:00
  • 7
    It seems OSX Catalina's tar doesn't support that option... Feb 12, 2020 at 11:08
  • 8
    @FranMarzoa @Decy --exclude-vcs is only supported by gnu tar. On MacOS you can install it using brew like this brew install gnu-tar. Then you can run gtar --exclude-vcs [...]
    – Moritz
    Apr 30, 2020 at 12:30

Have a look at git help archive or git archive --help. The git subcommand archive allows you to make archives containing only files trackeod by git. This is probably what you are looking for.

One of many examples listed at the end of the manual:

git archive --format=tar.gz --prefix=git-1.4.0/ v1.4.0 >git-1.4.0.tar.gz

A current version of git supports creating archives in the following formats:

  • tar
  • tar.gz or tgz
  • zip

See git archive --list for a list of formats supported on your system.

  • 10
    this only archives root git repo. If submodules were used - their directories will be empty.
    – Stann
    May 5, 2012 at 5:00

If you want the archive to include the files tracked by git, but not the git repository itself or any generated or otherwise untracked file, then use git archive.

If you specifically want to exclude .git but include everything else, under Linux or FreeBSD or OSX or Cygwin, tar has a simple option to exclude a directory:

tar -c --exclude .git -f - foo | gzip >foo.tgz

With GNU tar (i.e. under Linux or Cygwin), you can shorten this to tar czf foo.tgz --exclude .git foo.

The POSIX way of creating archives is pax.

pax -w -t -s '!.*/\.git$!!' -s '!.*/\.git/.*!!' foo | gzip >foo.tgz
  • Does git compiles on any system where tar is not available? :-) Aug 12, 2011 at 23:35
  • 4
    @StéphaneGimenez Probably not. But it does compile on systems where tar has no --exclude option, such as OpenBSD (which admittedly duplicates pax's s option, but that's not a common tar command syntax extension). Aug 12, 2011 at 23:38
  • @Gilles'SO-stopbeingevil' Good answer, I look for it for a long long time.
    – John
    Oct 2, 2021 at 6:50

Thanks to an answer I got on one of my questions I figured out another solution. So for completeness sake, here is a solution making use of find:

find . -path './.git' -prune -o -print |
  tar -czvf ../archive.tgz --no-recursion -T -

And if you want to exclude possible .git folders inside (sub)+folder:

find . -path '*/.git' -prune -o -print |
  tar -czvf ../archive.tgz --no-recursion -T -

Latter can be also achieved through:

find . -type d -name '.git' -prune -o -print |
  tar -czvf ../archive.tgz --no-recursion -T -

Quite handy if you can make use of the other filtering techniques of find, e.g. modification date, permissions, …

(As so often well-formed file names are assumed, otherwise you need to use null bytes as separators which can mean -print0 for find and --null for tar if supported.)


The only thing that worked for me to exclude both the .git directory (and another called backups) to transfer to another server just the necessary files, it's this. Gilles answer helped me find this solution.

tar --exclude .git --exclude backups -czvf project1.tar.gz /var/www/html/project1/

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .