git maintenance: Automate repository maintenance

Over time, Git repositories can become large and slow. Regular maintenance tasks are crucial for keeping your repository efficient, but they can be time-consuming to perform manually. Git’s maintenance feature automates these tasks, ensuring your repository stays healthy without manual intervention. In this post, we’ll explore how to use git maintenance to keep your repository in top shape.

I learned about git maintenance from the YouTube video So You Think You Know Git - FOSDEM 2024 by Scott Chacon, an insightful video about Git that recently reached 1 million views!

What is git maintenance?

git maintenance is a feature that automates various repository optimization tasks, including commit-graph, prefetch, loose-objects, and incremental-repack.

Start Git maintenance

To enable maintenance tasks, run:

git maintenance start

What Git maintenance does

  • commit-graph: Updates and verifies commit-graph files incrementally.
  • prefetch: Updates the object directory with the latest objects from all registered remotes.
  • gc: Cleans up unnecessary files and optimizes the local repository.
  • loose-objects: Cleans up loose objects and places them into pack-files.
  • incremental-repack: Repacks the object directory using the multi-pack-index feature.
  • pack-refs: Consolidates loose reference files into a single file.


By automating these tasks, git maintenance ensures that your repository remains fast and responsive, allowing you to focus on development rather than repository management.

Example configuration

Set the maintenance strategy to incremental for continuous, lightweight maintenance:

git config maintenance.strategy incremental

This strategy performs smaller, more frequent maintenance tasks, minimizing disruption and maintaining optimal performance.


Utilizing git maintenance can greatly enhance your Git workflow by automating repository optimization tasks. By keeping your repository healthy and efficient, you can work more effectively and focus on what really matters - your code. Try incorporating git maintenance into your Git usage and experience the difference it makes in your repository’s performance.

Stay tuned for more Git tips and tricks in our upcoming posts!