When would you use git clone –bare over git clone –mirror?

You would use git clone --bare over git clone --mirror in scenarios where you need a bare clone of the repository without any additional features like mirroring all refs (branches, tags, and remote branches). A bare clone using git clone --bare is more straightforward and only includes the .git directory, containing version control information like commits and branches, without the working directory or any additional setup.

Here are some scenarios where git clone --bare is more appropriate:

  1. Server-side Backups: If you want to maintain a centralized backup of the entire repository’s history and refs on a server, git clone --bare is sufficient. It creates a lightweight copy of the repository without the working files, saving disk space and simplifying the backup process.
  2. Creating Remote Repository: When setting up a new remote repository for collaboration or distribution, using git clone --bare is a common practice. This creates a bare repository that can be shared among team members for pushing and pulling changes.
  3. Transferring Repositories: If you need to move a repository from one server to another, git clone --bare is often used to create a bare clone that can be easily transferred. After creating the bare clone, you can copy it to the new server, and others can clone it as well.
  4. Server-side CI/CD Integration: In continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) workflows, a bare clone is sometimes used to trigger automated build and deployment processes without the overhead of a working directory.

On the other hand, git clone --mirror is used when you need a more complete and exact copy of the source repository, including all refs. The --mirror option mirrors all branches, tags, and remote branches, making it suitable for migration, backup, and maintaining centralized mirrors.

In summary, use git clone --bare when you need a simple and lightweight bare clone of the repository for backup, server-side operations, or creating new remote repositories. Use git clone --mirror when you need an exact replica of the source repository, including all refs, for migration, creating centralized mirrors, or redundancy purposes.

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