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A transparent bidirectional bridge between Git and Dropbox

Project description

git-remote-dropbox Build Status

git-remote-dropbox is a transparent bidirectional bridge between Git and Dropbox. It lets you use a Dropbox folder or a shared folder as a Git remote!

This Git remote helper makes Dropbox act like a true Git remote. It maintains all guarantees that are provided by a traditional Git remote while using Dropbox as a backing store. This means that it works correctly even when there are multiple people operating on the repository at once, making it possible to use a Dropbox shared folder as a Git remote for collaboration.

Once the helper is installed, using it is as simple as adding a remote like dropbox:///path/to/repo.

To clone repositories in folders or shared folders mounted in your Dropbox, you can run:

git clone "dropbox:///path/to/repo"

To add a remote to an existing local repository, you can run:

git remote add origin "dropbox:///path/to/repo"

The repository directory will be created automatically the first time you push.

After adding the remote, you can treat it just like a regular Git remote. The Dropbox-backed remote supports all operations that regular remotes support, and it provides identical guarantees in terms of atomicity even when there are concurrent operations, even when using a shared folder.


  1. Install the helper with pip install git-remote-dropbox. Make sure the git-remote-dropbox executable is on your $PATH.

  2. Generate an OAuth 2 token by going to the app console, creating a Dropbox API app with "Full Dropbox" access (or "App folder" access if you prefer, if you're not going to be using Dropbox's sharing features to use git-remote-dropbox in a multi-user setup), and generating an access token for yourself.

  3. Save your OAuth token in ~/.config/git/git-remote-dropbox.json or ~/.git-remote-dropbox.json. The file should look something like this:

        "default": "xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"

Multiple Accounts

git-remote-dropbox supports using multiple Dropbox accounts. You can create OAuth tokens for different accounts and add them all to the config file, using a user-defined username as the key:

    "alice": "xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx",
    "ben": "xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx",
    "charlie": "xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"

You can tell git-remote-dropbox to use the token corresponding to username by specifying a URL like dropbox://username@/path/to/repo.

You can also specify the token inline by using a URL like dropbox://:token@/path/to/repo.

Repository Manager

In addition to the git remote helper, git-remote-dropbox comes with an additional tool to manage repositories on Dropbox. This tool can be invoked as git-dropbox-manage. You can also create an alias for it with the following:

git config --global alias.dropbox '!git-dropbox-manage'

With this configuration, the tool can be invoked as git dropbox.

Currently the tool supports a single subcommand, git dropbox set-head <remote> <branch>, that can be used to set the default branch on the remote.


  • Do not directly interact with Git repositories in your Dropbox folder -always use git-remote-dropbox. If you're using the Dropbox client to sync files, it's a good idea to use selective sync and disable syncing of the folder containing the repository to avoid any unexpected conflicts, just in case.
  • git-remote-dropbox does not use the Dropbox desktop client - it uses the API directly. It does not require that the desktop client is installed.
  • The remote helper does not support shallow cloning.
  • Cloning a repository or fetching a lot of objects produces lots of loose objects. To save space in the local repository, run git gc --aggressive.
  • If the remote HEAD (default branch on the remote) is not set, after cloning a repository from Dropbox, Git will not automatically check out a branch. To check out a branch, run git checkout <branch>. To set the default branch on the remote, use the git-dropbox-manage command.


Why shouldn't I keep my Git repository in Dropbox and let the client sync it?

There seem to be a lot of articles on the Internet recommending this as a good workflow. However, this is not a good idea! The desktop client is not aware of how Git manages it's on-disk format, so if there are concurrent changes or delays in syncing, it's possible to have conflicts that result in a corrupted Git repository. This may be uncommon with the way the timing works out in the single user case, but it's still not safe!

Why shouldn't I keep a bare Git repository in a Dropbox shared folder, use it as a folder-based Git remote, and sync it with the desktop client?

There seem to be some articles on the Internet suggesting that this is a good idea. It's not. Using the desktop client to sync a bare Git repository is not safe. Concurrent changes or delays in syncing can result in a corrupted Git repository.

How can I access / recover my repository from Dropbox without using the git-remote-dropbox helper?

Because git-remote-dropbox uses an on-disk format that's compatible with Git, accessing your repository without using the helper is easy:

  1. Download the repository data (a directory containing the objects and refs directories) from Dropbox.
  2. Make a new directory and initialize an empty Git repository in the directory.
  3. Overwrite .git/refs and .git/objects in your newly initialized repository with the data downloaded from Dropbox (using a command like rm -rf .git/{refs,objects} && cp -r /path/to/data/{refs,objects} .git/).
  4. Check out a branch (using a command like git checkout -f master).
  5. Optionally, run git gc --aggressive to save disk space in your local repository.

How do I use git-remote-dropbox from behind a proxy server?

You can use git-remote-dropbox from behind a proxy server by setting the HTTP_PROXY and HTTPS_PROXY environment variables. See here for more details.


To read about the design of git-remote-dropbox, see This could be especially useful if you're thinking about contributing to the project.


Do you have ideas on how to improve git-remote-dropbox? Have a feature request, bug report, or patch? Great! See for information on what you can do about that.


  1. Update version information.
  2. Build the package using python sdist bdist_wheel.
  3. Sign and upload the package using twine upload -s dist/*.


Copyright (c) 2015-2020 Anish Athalye. Released under the MIT License. See for details.

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