Make Shell Script Committed to Git Executable

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Posted on May 9, 2016 in Development

You wrote a shell script (, say for a database backup or to regularly remove old files, and committed and pushed it to your Git repository. You go to your server, do git pull to pull the latest commit and try to execute the script with ./ Uh, oh, Permission denied, the script won’t run. Ah, no problem, you think, I’ll just change the permissions on the file with chmod. You do that, the script runs, all is peachy. Or so you think.

Next time you push another code update into your repo and then do another git pull, you’ll get this error:

But I didn’t change the code on the server, you say. No, you didn’t, but you changed the executable permissions on the file which is something that Git keeps track off. You can resolve the above error by resetting the repo clone to the latest commit:

Great, the error goes away, git pull works as before, but when you try to execute the script you realize you’re getting the Permission denied again – resetting the clone also reset the file permissions and made the script non-executable again.

Since you don’t want to be repeatedly changing the file permissions every time you update your code, what’s the solution?

As I mentioned above, whether the executable bit is on or off is something that Git tracks, so we need to make sure that we flag the file as executable when committing it to the repo in the first place. On your local machine, where you’re writing the code and committing it to the repo, do:

Then go to your remote (server), do git pull and try to execute the script. The permissions should be properly set and the script should run without any issues.

Similarly, if you later wanted to remove the executable permission from the file, you would do

followed by commit and push.

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