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The REST API is now versioned. For more information, see "About API versioning."

REST API endpoints for Git references

Use the REST API to interact with references in your Git database on GitHub Enterprise Server

About Git references

A Git reference (git ref) is a file that contains a Git commit SHA-1 hash. When referring to a Git commit, you can use the Git reference, which is an easy-to-remember name, rather than the hash. The Git reference can be rewritten to point to a new commit. A branch is a Git reference that stores the new Git commit hash. These endpoints allow you to read and write references to your Git database on GitHub Enterprise Server.

List matching references

Returns an array of references from your Git database that match the supplied name. The :ref in the URL must be formatted as heads/<branch name> for branches and tags/<tag name> for tags. If the :ref doesn't exist in the repository, but existing refs start with :ref, they will be returned as an array.

When you use this endpoint without providing a :ref, it will return an array of all the references from your Git database, including notes and stashes if they exist on the server. Anything in the namespace is returned, not just heads and tags.

Note: You need to explicitly request a pull request to trigger a test merge commit, which checks the mergeability of pull requests. For more information, see "Checking mergeability of pull requests".

If you request matching references for a branch named feature but the branch feature doesn't exist, the response can still include other matching head refs that start with the word feature, such as featureA and featureB.

Fine-grained access tokens for "List matching references"

This endpoint works with the following token types:

The token must have the following permission set:

  • contents:read

This endpoint can be used without authentication or the aforementioned permissions if only public resources are requested.

Parameters for "List matching references"

Headers
Name, Type, Description
accept string

Setting to application/vnd.github+json is recommended.

Path parameters
Name, Type, Description
owner string Required

The account owner of the repository. The name is not case sensitive.

repo string Required

The name of the repository without the .git extension. The name is not case sensitive.

ref string Required

The commit reference. Can be a commit SHA, branch name (heads/BRANCH_NAME), or tag name (tags/TAG_NAME). For more information, see "Git References" in the Git documentation.

HTTP response status codes for "List matching references"

Status codeDescription
200

OK

Code samples for "List matching references"

Request example

get/repos/{owner}/{repo}/git/matching-refs/{ref}
curl -L \ -H "Accept: application/vnd.github+json" \ -H "Authorization: Bearer <YOUR-TOKEN>" \ -H "X-GitHub-Api-Version: 2022-11-28" \ http(s)://HOSTNAME/api/v3/repos/OWNER/REPO/git/matching-refs/REF

Response

Status: 200
[ { "ref": "refs/heads/feature-a", "node_id": "MDM6UmVmcmVmcy9oZWFkcy9mZWF0dXJlLWE=", "url": "https://HOSTNAME/repos/octocat/Hello-World/git/refs/heads/feature-a", "object": { "type": "commit", "sha": "aa218f56b14c9653891f9e74264a383fa43fefbd", "url": "https://HOSTNAME/repos/octocat/Hello-World/git/commits/aa218f56b14c9653891f9e74264a383fa43fefbd" } }, { "ref": "refs/heads/feature-b", "node_id": "MDM6UmVmcmVmcy9oZWFkcy9mZWF0dXJlLWI=", "url": "https://HOSTNAME/repos/octocat/Hello-World/git/refs/heads/feature-b", "object": { "type": "commit", "sha": "612077ae6dffb4d2fbd8ce0cccaa58893b07b5ac", "url": "https://HOSTNAME/repos/octocat/Hello-World/git/commits/612077ae6dffb4d2fbd8ce0cccaa58893b07b5ac" } } ]

Get a reference

Returns a single reference from your Git database. The :ref in the URL must be formatted as heads/<branch name> for branches and tags/<tag name> for tags. If the :ref doesn't match an existing ref, a 404 is returned.

Note: You need to explicitly request a pull request to trigger a test merge commit, which checks the mergeability of pull requests. For more information, see "Checking mergeability of pull requests".

Fine-grained access tokens for "Get a reference"

This endpoint works with the following token types:

The token must have the following permission set:

  • contents:read

This endpoint can be used without authentication or the aforementioned permissions if only public resources are requested.

Parameters for "Get a reference"

Headers
Name, Type, Description
accept string

Setting to application/vnd.github+json is recommended.

Path parameters
Name, Type, Description
owner string Required

The account owner of the repository. The name is not case sensitive.

repo string Required

The name of the repository without the .git extension. The name is not case sensitive.

ref string Required

The commit reference. Can be a commit SHA, branch name (heads/BRANCH_NAME), or tag name (tags/TAG_NAME). For more information, see "Git References" in the Git documentation.

HTTP response status codes for "Get a reference"

Status codeDescription
200

OK

404

Resource not found

Code samples for "Get a reference"

Request example

get/repos/{owner}/{repo}/git/ref/{ref}
curl -L \ -H "Accept: application/vnd.github+json" \ -H "Authorization: Bearer <YOUR-TOKEN>" \ -H "X-GitHub-Api-Version: 2022-11-28" \ http(s)://HOSTNAME/api/v3/repos/OWNER/REPO/git/ref/REF

Response

Status: 200
{ "ref": "refs/heads/featureA", "node_id": "MDM6UmVmcmVmcy9oZWFkcy9mZWF0dXJlQQ==", "url": "https://HOSTNAME/repos/octocat/Hello-World/git/refs/heads/featureA", "object": { "type": "commit", "sha": "aa218f56b14c9653891f9e74264a383fa43fefbd", "url": "https://HOSTNAME/repos/octocat/Hello-World/git/commits/aa218f56b14c9653891f9e74264a383fa43fefbd" } }

Create a reference

Creates a reference for your repository. You are unable to create new references for empty repositories, even if the commit SHA-1 hash used exists. Empty repositories are repositories without branches.

Fine-grained access tokens for "Create a reference"

This endpoint works with the following token types:

The token must have at least one of the following permission sets:

  • contents:write
  • contents:write and workflows:write

Parameters for "Create a reference"

Headers
Name, Type, Description
accept string

Setting to application/vnd.github+json is recommended.

Path parameters
Name, Type, Description
owner string Required

The account owner of the repository. The name is not case sensitive.

repo string Required

The name of the repository without the .git extension. The name is not case sensitive.

Body parameters
Name, Type, Description
ref string Required

The name of the fully qualified reference (ie: refs/heads/master). If it doesn't start with 'refs' and have at least two slashes, it will be rejected.

sha string Required

The SHA1 value for this reference.

HTTP response status codes for "Create a reference"

Status codeDescription
201

Created

422

Validation failed, or the endpoint has been spammed.

Code samples for "Create a reference"

Request example

post/repos/{owner}/{repo}/git/refs
curl -L \ -X POST \ -H "Accept: application/vnd.github+json" \ -H "Authorization: Bearer <YOUR-TOKEN>" \ -H "X-GitHub-Api-Version: 2022-11-28" \ http(s)://HOSTNAME/api/v3/repos/OWNER/REPO/git/refs \ -d '{"ref":"refs/heads/featureA","sha":"aa218f56b14c9653891f9e74264a383fa43fefbd"}'

Response

Status: 201
{ "ref": "refs/heads/featureA", "node_id": "MDM6UmVmcmVmcy9oZWFkcy9mZWF0dXJlQQ==", "url": "https://HOSTNAME/repos/octocat/Hello-World/git/refs/heads/featureA", "object": { "type": "commit", "sha": "aa218f56b14c9653891f9e74264a383fa43fefbd", "url": "https://HOSTNAME/repos/octocat/Hello-World/git/commits/aa218f56b14c9653891f9e74264a383fa43fefbd" } }

Update a reference

Fine-grained access tokens for "Update a reference"

This endpoint works with the following token types:

The token must have at least one of the following permission sets:

  • contents:write
  • contents:write and workflows:write

Parameters for "Update a reference"

Headers
Name, Type, Description
accept string

Setting to application/vnd.github+json is recommended.

Path parameters
Name, Type, Description
owner string Required

The account owner of the repository. The name is not case sensitive.

repo string Required

The name of the repository without the .git extension. The name is not case sensitive.

ref string Required

The name of the reference to update (for example, heads/featureA). Can be a branch name (heads/BRANCH_NAME) or tag name (tags/TAG_NAME). For more information, see "Git References" in the Git documentation.

Body parameters
Name, Type, Description
sha string Required

The SHA1 value to set this reference to

force boolean

Indicates whether to force the update or to make sure the update is a fast-forward update. Leaving this out or setting it to false will make sure you're not overwriting work.

Default: false

HTTP response status codes for "Update a reference"

Status codeDescription
200

OK

422

Validation failed, or the endpoint has been spammed.

Code samples for "Update a reference"

Request example

patch/repos/{owner}/{repo}/git/refs/{ref}
curl -L \ -X PATCH \ -H "Accept: application/vnd.github+json" \ -H "Authorization: Bearer <YOUR-TOKEN>" \ -H "X-GitHub-Api-Version: 2022-11-28" \ http(s)://HOSTNAME/api/v3/repos/OWNER/REPO/git/refs/REF \ -d '{"sha":"aa218f56b14c9653891f9e74264a383fa43fefbd","force":true}'

Response

Status: 200
{ "ref": "refs/heads/featureA", "node_id": "MDM6UmVmcmVmcy9oZWFkcy9mZWF0dXJlQQ==", "url": "https://HOSTNAME/repos/octocat/Hello-World/git/refs/heads/featureA", "object": { "type": "commit", "sha": "aa218f56b14c9653891f9e74264a383fa43fefbd", "url": "https://HOSTNAME/repos/octocat/Hello-World/git/commits/aa218f56b14c9653891f9e74264a383fa43fefbd" } }

Delete a reference

Fine-grained access tokens for "Delete a reference"

This endpoint works with the following token types:

The token must have the following permission set:

  • contents:write

Parameters for "Delete a reference"

Headers
Name, Type, Description
accept string

Setting to application/vnd.github+json is recommended.

Path parameters
Name, Type, Description
owner string Required

The account owner of the repository. The name is not case sensitive.

repo string Required

The name of the repository without the .git extension. The name is not case sensitive.

ref string Required

The commit reference. Can be a commit SHA, branch name (heads/BRANCH_NAME), or tag name (tags/TAG_NAME). For more information, see "Git References" in the Git documentation.

HTTP response status codes for "Delete a reference"

Status codeDescription
204

No Content

422

Validation failed, or the endpoint has been spammed.

Code samples for "Delete a reference"

Request example

delete/repos/{owner}/{repo}/git/refs/{ref}
curl -L \ -X DELETE \ -H "Accept: application/vnd.github+json" \ -H "Authorization: Bearer <YOUR-TOKEN>" \ -H "X-GitHub-Api-Version: 2022-11-28" \ http(s)://HOSTNAME/api/v3/repos/OWNER/REPO/git/refs/REF

Response

Status: 204