Version Control Simplified: A Guide to Git and GitHub

Oct 13, 2023ยท

4 min read

As a DevOps engineer, your toolkit is incomplete without a strong grasp of version control and collaboration. In the modern software development landscape, one name stands out: Git and its web-based platform, GitHub. These tools are the foundation of efficient version control and collaboration, making them essential for any DevOps professional.

What Is Git?

At its core, Git is a distributed version control system (DVCS) that empowers developers to manage and track changes to their codebase. Unlike centralized systems, Git doesn't rely on a central server. Instead, every developer maintains a complete copy of the repository, which means you can work offline, make changes, and then synchronize with others when convenient.

Introducing GitHub

GitHub is like Git's online home. GitHub is a web-based platform that hosts Git repositories, offering a collaborative environment for teams to work on projects. It extends Git's capabilities with features like pull requests, issues, wikis, and more.

What is Version Control? How many types of version controls do we have?

Version control, sometimes called source control or revision control, is a system that monitors changes to files and directories over time. It facilitates collaboration among multiple users in a project, maintains a historical record of modifications, and provides the ability to return to previous project states as necessary. While commonly utilized in software development, version control can be beneficial for any project that includes files and documents.

There are two main types of version control systems:

  1. Centralized Version Control Systems (CVCS):

    • In CVCS, there is a central repository where all project files and their histories are stored.

    • Users check out files from the central repository, make changes, and then check them back in.

    • Examples of CVCS include Concurrent Versions System (CVS) and Subversion (SVN).

  2. Distributed Version Control Systems (DVCS):

    • In DVCS, each user maintains a local copy of the entire repository along with its history.

    • Users can commit changes to their local repository, create branches, and merge changes.

    • Changes are synchronized with the central repository or with other users' repositories as needed.

    • Examples of DVCS include Git, Mercurial, and Bazaar.

Why do we use distributed version control over centralized version control?

Distributed version control systems (DVCS) have gained popularity over centralized version control systems (CVCS) for several reasons, making them a preferred choice for many software development projects. Here are some of the key advantages of using a DVCS like Git over a CVCS:

  1. Offline Access: In a DVCS, each developer holds a full project copy locally, allowing work without constant internet access, while CVCS relies on continuous network connections.

  2. Faster Operations: DVCS systems offer speedier common tasks like commits, branching, and merging due to local repositories.

  3. Branching and Merging: DVCS excels at flexible branching and merging, supporting efficient development workflows.

  4. Data Redundancy: Local copies serve as project backups, reducing data loss risks compared to CVCS's single central point.

  5. Collaboration: DVCS simplifies distributed teamwork, enabling easy sharing of changes among team members.

  6. Security: Strong security with cryptographic keys and permissions, safeguarding the project even if a developer's machine is compromised.

  7. Flexibility: Adaptable to various project structures and workflows, empowering teams to define their development processes.

  8. Open Source: Leading DVCS systems like Git are open source, supported by active communities and enriched with extensions and integrations.


    1. Create a new repository on GitHub and clone it to your local machine:

      You can sign up at to create a new account.

      Create a new repository.

      Install git on your local machine.
      Use the git clone command and paste the repository URL you copied. For example, if using HTTPS:
      git clone

    2. Make some changes to a file in the repository and commit them to the repository using Git:

      Navigate to the cloned repository directory on your local machine.
      Open the file you want to modify using a text editor or code editor.
      Make your desired changes and save the file.
      git add . # Stage all changes git commit -m "Your commit message here"

    3. Push the changes back to the repository on GitHub:

      To push your changes to the GitHub repository, use the following command:
      git push origin main # Assuming you are on the 'main' branch

GitHub has become a central hub for software development, enabling developers and teams to work together on projects of all sizes.

Thank you!