Understanding of EGit "Push,Fetch, Pull" Operations

When I started to use EGit, I always got confused by the similar terms for the following operations in the EGit menu:

Push, Fetch, Pull

After I read EGit user guide carefully, searched Internet and tried by myself, I have the following understanding:


  • Pushing to upstream:
    EGit Menu Path: Team -> Push to upstream
    Configuration, there are two kinds of configuration:

    • Configure 1: Team > Remote > Configure push to upstream….
      Which will add/update the following line in “remote.name” section in the .git/config file:
      push = refs/heads/master:refs/heads/master

    • Configure 2: Upstream configuration
      Which will add/update the section “branch.name” in the .git/config file

The configure 1 has higher priority than 2. If both are removed from .git/config file, the “Push to upstream” will be disabled in the menu.

When configure 1 takes effect, it may push changes from several local branches. When configure 2 takes effect, EGit only push changes from the current branch.

  • Direct Push:
    EGit Menu Path: Team > Remote > Push…
    Configuration, there are two configurations:

    • Using existing “push specification” : Git Repository view->Reposity ->Remotes->remote-name(default “origin”) ->Push URL -> (click context menu->Configuration push… )
    • Making the custom configuration

In .git/config file, above configuration will be located in the section of “remote.name”

Direct push may always push changes from different local branches based on configured push specification.

After adding files in an empty local repository which was cloned from remote repository, the EGit will ask to make push configuration when try to push.

  • Pushing to a remote Branch:
    EGit Menu Path: Team -> Push Branch…
    Configuration, there are two kinds of situation:

    • situation 1: If the branch already has configuration in .git/config file, the EGit will use existing configuration.
    • situation 2: If the branch has no configuration in .git/config file, the EGit will make and save configuration in the config file after push.


  • Fetch from upstream:
    EGit Menu Path: Team > Fetch from upstream
    Configuration: Team > Remote > Configure Fetch from upstream….

  • Direct Fetch:
    EGit Menu Path: Team > Remote > Fetch from…
    Configuration, there are two configurations:

    • using existing “fetch specification” : Git Repository view->Remotes->remote-name(default “origin”) ->Fetch URL -> (click context menu->Configure Fetch….)
    • make the custom configuration


  • Pulling New Changes from Upstream Branch:
    EGit Menu Path: Team > Pull
    Configuration: based on tracking branch configuration

Additional Comments

The result of EGit Push, Fetch, Pull operations heavily relies on how Git global and repositories configurations. For how detailed Git configuration parameters affect the results, please refer to the following Git references:


In addtion, understanding of the following concepts also help understand above three operations:

Written on November 11, 2014
Categories: tools
Tags: git egit