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Install git on a shared webhost

posted on 2009-09-07


Recently I ran into an article about using git to upload your site (see links at the bottom how to). But off course, this requires to have git installed on your hosting. My host (via does not have it. So I was thinking, why not install it myself. Idea sounded more simple than doing it… .


  • You need to have ssh access to your server.

Finding git

Before we can download git, we need to know which Linux distribution your server is using. This is required so the git executable will be able to use the correct libraries. To find out which kernel your server is running, log in to your server via ssh and type the command:

cat /etc/*-release

On my server this returned CentOS release 5.3 (Final). Next thing we need to know if your server is running 32bit or 64bit. This we can verify with the command:

uname -p
  • x86_64 indicates the server has 64bit kernel running.
  • i386 / i486 / i586 / i686 means it is a 32bit kernel.

Downloading git

Next we need to download git from somewhere. Probably you can find it by searching it on a RPM repository. I found one on This site has a great search engine where you can find git version for your server distro. After finding a download link, again log in to your server via ssh and type the following commands:

mkdir ~/git-download
cd ~/git-download

Now you have the .rpm on your server.

Installing git

This rpm needs to be installed, but you won’t be able to use the regular rpm installer because this requires root access. You can extract the rpm file with the command:

rpm2cpio git-1.6.x.x.rpm | cpio -imdv

This will create a usr/ directory in currect directory. You best move this directory to your home root:

mv usr ~/usr

Now we are almost there, we only need to add the directory to $PATH variable. Doing this will make it possible to execute the command git from anywhere. Open your ~/.bashrc file with your favorite editor (vim or pico) and add the following line:

export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/usr/bin:$HOME/usr/libexec/git-core

And that’s it. To activate this change, run source ~/.bashrc or log out and in again.


You can use git just by typing the git command. But git init might give a warning:

warning: templates not found /usr/share/git-core/templates

To avoid this warning I’ve added an alias to ~/.bashrc:

alias git-init='git init --template=$HOME/usr/share/git-core/templates'

This git-init command is an alternative to git init and will take the correct path for templates.

Possible problems

One problem caused me a headache when using git to upload my site was het error:

git: 'index-pack' is not a git-command.

The reason for this problem was that $HOME/usr/libexec/git-core was not added to the $PATH variable.

Further reading

So now you have git up and running on your server and you can use it to upload your site. Read about it: