Git Hooks: let the machine do all the routine

I wanna live in a world where every commit is a project state in which everything is fine: linters are green, dependencies are up-to-date, git history is clear, etc. Fortunately, I can configure my projects to use git hooks to help contributors to avoid mistakes.

Git hooks basics

Git hook is a snippet triggered when the git executes something. For example, if you have a strict rule “No tabs for indentation”, you can create a hook that checks all the changed files to satisfy the rule. Git will run this check and stop the action (push, commit), if the rule has been ignored by some impudent contributor.

There are many git actions you can interfere with:

You can find more information about all existing git hooks here.

To set up a hook, you should create an executable file in the .git/hooks directory named according to the spec.

Let’s create a simple hook that runs linters on every git push. It will help to keep the repo clean.

cd .git/hooks # go to the hooks directory
vi pre-push # create or edit the hook

Paste the following code to the file.

npm run lint

Pretty simple, right? This hook just runs a custom npm script from your package.json. You can use my config as an example.

Save, exit, commit, profit!

Note: it’s important to make the hook file executable. The magic will not happen without it.

chmod +x pre-push # make the file executable

Useful git hooks

If you know bash language a little, you can add many useful git hooks to your project.

Of course, you can use not only bash for your git hooks. It can be everything executable, like Python or even JS. But remember that bash is preinstalled and can be run on most environments, whereas other languages should be installed and configured before their usage. So I prefer bash.

Check these projects to have inspiration:

Put the Task ID to commit messages

If your team decided to use task ids from the task tracker (JIRA, Wrike, whatever else) in commit messages, create a prepare-commit-msg file in the .git/hooks directory and paste the following code there.


# .git/hooks/prepare-commit-msg

COMMIT_MSG=$(cat $1)
CURRENT_BRANCH=$(git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD)
TASK_ID_REGEX="[A-Z]+-[0-9]+" # corresponds to JIRA-123 or SERP-666

if [ ! -z "$TASK_ID_FROM_CURRENT_BRANCH" ]; then

It parses your branch name, and if the name contains something looking like the task ID, the hook prepends this ID to the commit message. For example, if you have the branch named AREA-51 and your commit message is Find UFO, the final commit message will be AREA-51: Find UFO.

You can make this hook much smarter like here.

Get notified about new dependencies after checkout

Paste the following code to the .git/hooks/post-checkout.


# .git/hooks/post-checkout


if [ -f package-lock.json ]; then
    if ! git diff --quiet $PREV_COMMIT..$POST_COMMIT -- package-lock.json; then
        echo "'package-lock.json' has been changed. Please, run 'npm ci' to update dependencies."

You can make it more colourful and even let it running npm ci automatically like here. But I don’t like when my tools install something without my permission.

Disable direct commits to the main branch

It’s a common pattern to have no direct commits to the main branch. Let your CI do all the thing. Of course, you must configure your repository to avoid such situation, but it’s ok to add more confidence with an extra check on a git level.

Paste the following code to the .git/hooks/pre-push.


# .git/hooks/pre-push

CURRENT_BRANCH=$(git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD)

if [ "$CURRENT_BRANCH" = "main" ]; then
    echo "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!\nDear $USER, you don't want to commit directly to the 'main' branch ;)"
    exit 1

Note: it’s important to keep exit 1 in the code to stop the push.

I found a cool example of public alerting about the accident here. But you should be sure all your teammates are ok with such sort of blaming.

simple-git-hooks with lint-staged

If your project is small and you don’t need complicated hooks with dozens of checks, try to use a lightweight library simple-git-hooks. It has some limitations but its possibilities are enough for my opensource projects.

I use the next flow:

  1. Run linters on staged files before commit and fix the files automatically if it’s possible.
  2. Run linters on all files before push.

To work with staged changes only I use another useful library lint-staged.

Let’s configure the project to implement the flow. Firstly, install the packages.

npm install --save-dev simple-git-hooks lint-staged

Then add a configuration to your package.json.

    "scripts": {
        "lint": "npm run lint:editorconfig && npm run lint:css && npm run lint:js"
    "lint-staged": {
        "*": [
        "*.js": [
            "eslint --fix"
        "*.css": [
            "stylelint --fix"
    "simple-git-hooks": {
        "pre-commit": "npx lint-staged",
        "pre-push": "npm run lint"

As you can see, I use editorconfig to check all the files and separate linters for JS and CSS files. So when I commit, simple-git-hooks calls the lint-staged, and lint-staged does all the magic connected to fixing the staged files.

When I try to push my local changes to the remote repo, simple-git-hooks starts linters with npm run lint, and if the linters fail, the push will be stopped until I fix all the errors.

To apply the config, run the following command.

npx simple-git-hooks

More: Git Hooks: share with your team


It’s easier to have clean code in your repo when you have git hooks configured. Add clear warning messages with helpful tips, links, and instructions to help other people contribute to your project. And don’t waste your time fixing the accidents instead of preventing them.


Webmentions [?]

  1. Написал заметку о том, как настроить git-хуки для проекта, зачем они нужны и как в простых проектах работать с хуками без ковыряния в папке `.git`.

  2. Хуки в Git. Никита Дубко показывает, как добавить дополнительные автоматические проверки в проект, которые исполняются локально при различных событиях в git, вроде коммита или пуша.…

  3. Отличная статья по git hooks от @dark_mefody Рекомендую 👍 Git Hooks: let the machine do all the routine by @dev_tip…