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Difference between Git Rebase and Merge

Difference between Git Rebase and Merge

Do you ever find yourself stuck in the web of Git commands and operations? Are there times when you are unsure which command is best suited for a particular situation? If yes, then this article provides an insight into the differences between two of the most commonly used git operations – rebasing and merging. Whether it’s cleaning up a feature branch or combining multiple branches, understanding their contrasts can help you make superior decisions about your codebase. Let’s begin our journey to understand what makes both these commands unique so that we know when to use them.

What is Git Rebase?

  • Git Rebase is a Git command that allows you to “rebase” the changes from one Git branch onto another. It is commonly used in the Git workflow when an update to existing commits has been made and the changes need to be pushed out to other developers.
  • Git Rebase moves the commits, then reapplies them on top of new ones, creating a new Git history that preserves the existence of the old commits but updates them with what was changed or added in subsequent ones.
  • In this way, Git Rebase makes it easier for developers to keep their coworkers up-to-date with their code without manually having to merge branches multiple times.

What is Git Merge?

Git Merge is an essential Git tool that is used to combine multiple sequences of commits into one unified branch history. It enables developers to manage individual contributions to a project that are made by different people or teams within the project, meaning that developers can manage large projects made up of multiple Git branches with relative ease.

Git Merge works by allowing a central source for each branch and making sure that no conflicting sets of changes appear in the same branch. This simplifies collaboration and keeps projects manageable as development progresses. Git Merge is also crucial in helping ensure all data goes where it needs to be while maintaining a clean, well-structured repository.

Difference between Git Rebase and Merge

Git Rebase and Merge might sound like the same thing but in reality, they are quite different. Git Rebase involves taking all of the changes committed to a Git branch, and moving them to another Git branch while Git Merge combines multiple Git branches into one. Git Rebase is usually used when you want to make sure that specific feature branch commits appear to be underneath the latest commit from the base branch.

Git Merge, on the other hand, can be used in situations where you need to combine or close a feature or topic branch; it takes some of the most recently updated commits from one branch and adds them on a different branch. Although both operations have their advantages, it is important to use Git Rebase and Merge responsibly in order to ensure your Git repository remains organized and clean.


In general, you want to use merge when practical because it preserves history. There are times, however, where rebase makes more sense. For example, if you have made a bunch of small commits on your feature branch and want to condense them into a smaller number of commits before merging with the master (or other branches), then rebasing would be the way to go. Another common reason for using rebase instead of the merge is called “linearizing” your commit history which can make it easier for others to follow.

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