How to Push an Empty Commit in Git

Git, an essential tool in modern software development, offers a myriad of features to streamline code management. One such feature, often overlooked but crucial in certain scenarios, is the empty commit. This guide provides a technical overview of empty Git commits and their practical applications.

Rationale Behind Empty Commits

In the realm of version control, every commit ideally represents a set of changes. However, there are instances where committing without any code changes becomes necessary.

Key Use Cases:

  • CI/CD Pipeline Triggers: Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines often rely on commits to initiate builds or deployments. An empty commit can serve as a manual trigger in the absence of code changes.
  • Documentation of Non-code Activities: For events like configuration changes or external system adjustments, an empty commit provides a timestamped record within the Git history.
  • Resetting Stale Pull Requests: In platforms like GitHub, an empty commit can refresh a pull request, prompting checks to rerun.

Executing an Empty Commit: Technical Steps

Execute the following command:
git commit --allow-empty -m "Descriptive message detailing the reason"
Ensure the message is descriptive, providing context for the empty commit.

Push the Commit

After committing, push the commit to the desired branch:
git push origin branch-name
Replace branch-name with the appropriate branch you're working on.

Best Practices and Considerations

While empty commits are valuable, they should be used judiciously.

  • Avoid Overuse: Frequent empty commits can clutter the Git history, making it challenging to track genuine changes.
  • Descriptive Messages: Always accompany empty commits with meaningful messages to provide context for team members.
  • Not a Substitute for Code Reviews: Empty commits should not be used to bypass mandatory code review processes.


1. What defines an empty commit in Git?
An empty commit is a Git commit made without any changes to the codebase, serving specific operational or documentation purposes.

2. When is it appropriate to use an empty commit?
Use empty commits for triggering CI/CD processes, documenting non-code modifications, or refreshing stale pull requests.

3. How is an empty commit executed?
Use the command git commit --allow-empty -m "Descriptive message", followed by a push to the desired branch.