How to exclude files from your Git project using .gitignore?

How to exclude files from your Git project using .gitignore?

's avatar
Bobby Iliev ・August 22, 2020
4 minute read ・Updated August 27, 2020

Introduction

If you are using git along with Github, Gitlab for example, you need to make sure that you do not include any sensitive information to your repositories like passwords or secrets.

To do that, you need to have a gitignore file which includes a list of all of the files and directories that should be excluded from your Git repository.

Prerequisites

Before you get started you would need a bash or git terminal and a text editor.

I will be using an Ubuntu Droplet deployed on DigitalOcean. If you wish to follow along you can sign up for DigitalOcean via my referral link below and you will get $100 free DigitalOcean credit:

Free $100 DigitalOcean Credit

Ignoring a specific file

Let's have a look at the following example if you had a PHP project and a file called config.php which stores your database connection string details like username, password, host, etc.

In order to exclude that file from your git project, you could create a file called .gitignore inside your project's directory:

touch .gitignore

Then inside that file, all that you need to add is the name of the file that you want to ignore, so the content of the .gitignore file would look like this:

config.php

That way the next time you run git add . and then run git commit and git push the config.php file will be ignored and will not be added nor pushed to your Github repository.

Checkout our latest product - the ultimate tailwindcss page creator 🚀

That way you would keep your database credentials safe!

Ignoring a whole directory

In some cases, you might want to ignore a whole folder, for example, if you have a huge node_modules folder, there is no need to add it and commit it to your Git project, as that directory is generated automatically whenever you run npm install.

The same would go for the vendor folder in Laravel. You should not really add the vendor folder to your Git project, as all of the content of that folder, is generated automatically whenever you run composer install.

So in order to ignore the vendors and node_modules folders, you could just add them to your .gitignore file:

# Ignored folders
/vendor/
node_modules/

Getting a gitignore file for Laravel

In order to get a gitignore file for Laravel, you could get the file from [the official Laravel Github repository] here(https://github.com/laravel/laravel/).

The file would look something like this:

/node_modules
/public/hot
/public/storage
/storage/*.key
/vendor
.env
.env.backup
.phpunit.result.cache
Homestead.json
Homestead.yaml
npm-debug.log
yarn-error.log

It essentially includes all of the files and folders that are not needed to get the application up and running.

Using gitignore.io

As the number of frameworks and application grows day by day, it might be hard to keep your .gitignore files up to date or it could be intimidating if you had to search for the correct .gitignore file for every specific framework that you use.

I recently discovered an opensource project called gitignore.io. It is a site and a CLI tool that has a huge list of predefined gitignore files for different frameworks.

All that you need to do is visit the site and search for the specific framework that you are using.

For example, let's search for a .gitignore file for Node.js:

Nodejs gitignore file

Then just hit the Create button and you would instantly get a well documented .gitignore file for your Node.js project, which will look like this:

# Created by https://www.toptal.com/developers/gitignore/api/node
# Edit at https://www.toptal.com/developers/gitignore?templates=node

### Node ###
# Logs
logs
*.log
npm-debug.log*
yarn-debug.log*
yarn-error.log*
lerna-debug.log*

# Diagnostic reports (https://nodejs.org/api/report.html)
report.[0-9]*.[0-9]*.[0-9]*.[0-9]*.json

# Runtime data
pids
*.pid
*.seed
*.pid.lock

# Directory for instrumented libs generated by jscoverage/JSCover
lib-cov

# Coverage directory used by tools like istanbul
coverage
*.lcov

# nyc test coverage
.nyc_output

# Grunt intermediate storage (https://gruntjs.com/creating-plugins#storing-task-files)
.grunt

# Bower dependency directory (https://bower.io/)
bower_components

# node-waf configuration
.lock-wscript

# Compiled binary addons (https://nodejs.org/api/addons.html)
build/Release

# Dependency directories
node_modules/
jspm_packages/

# TypeScript v1 declaration files
typings/

# TypeScript cache
*.tsbuildinfo

# Optional npm cache directory
.npm

# Optional eslint cache
.eslintcache

# Microbundle cache
.rpt2_cache/
.rts2_cache_cjs/
.rts2_cache_es/
.rts2_cache_umd/

# Optional REPL history
.node_repl_history

# Output of 'npm pack'
*.tgz

# Yarn Integrity file
.yarn-integrity

# dotenv environment variables file
.env
.env.test

# parcel-bundler cache (https://parceljs.org/)
.cache

# Next.js build output
.next

# Nuxt.js build / generate output
.nuxt
dist

# Gatsby files
.cache/
# Comment in the public line in if your project uses Gatsby and not Next.js
# https://nextjs.org/blog/next-9-1#public-directory-support
# public

# vuepress build output
.vuepress/dist

# Serverless directories
.serverless/

# FuseBox cache
.fusebox/

# DynamoDB Local files
.dynamodb/

# TernJS port file
.tern-port

# Stores VSCode versions used for testing VSCode extensions
.vscode-test

# End of https://www.toptal.com/developers/gitignore/api/node

Using gitignore.io CLI

If you are a fan of the command-line, the gitignore.io project offers a CLI version as well.

To get it installed on Linux, just run the following command:

git config --global alias.ignore \
'!gi() { curl -sL https://www.toptal.com/developers/gitignore/api/$@ ;}; gi'

If you are using a different OS, I would recommend checking out the documentation here on how to get it installed for your specific Shell or OS.

Once you have the gi command installed, you could list all of the available .gitignore files from gitignore.io by running the following command:

gi list

For example, if you quickly needed a .gitignore file for Laravel, you could just run:

gi laravel

And you would get a response back with a well-documented Laravel .gitignore file:

# Created by https://www.toptal.com/developers/gitignore/api/laravel
# Edit at https://www.toptal.com/developers/gitignore?templates=laravel

### Laravel ###
/vendor/
node_modules/
npm-debug.log
yarn-error.log

# Laravel 4 specific
bootstrap/compiled.php
app/storage/

# Laravel 5 & Lumen specific
public/storage
public/hot

# Laravel 5 & Lumen specific with changed public path
public_html/storage
public_html/hot

storage/*.key
.env
Homestead.yaml
Homestead.json
/.vagrant
.phpunit.result.cache

# Laravel IDE helper
*.meta.*
_ide_*

# End of https://www.toptal.com/developers/gitignore/api/laravel

Conclusion

Having a gitignore file is essential, it is great that you could use a tool like the gitignore.io to generate your gitignore file automatically depending on your project!

If you like the gitignore.io project, make sure to check out and contribute to the project here.

If you want to learn more about git I would recommend checking out this tutorial here on the top 18 Git commands that you should know.

Hope that this helps!

Comments (0)