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Authors: fire1ce | Created: 2022-02-04 | Last update: 2022-03-24

Removing Sensitive Data from a Repository History

As humans, we sometimes make mistakes. One of them is committing sensitive data in our Git repository. If you commit sensitive data, such as a password, SSH key, API tokens, license keys and so on into a Git repository, you can remove it from the history. You can follow the official GitHub instructions to remove sensitive data from the history. It's probably the best and the right way to do it.

Below is a fast way to remove sensitive data from a repository's history but with a few caveats like loosing all the history of the repository.

Delete Commit History in Github Repository


This will remove your old commit history completely, You can’t recover it again!

Create Orphan Branch – Create a new orphan branch in git repository. The newly created branch will not show in ‘git branch’ command.

git checkout --orphan temp_branch

Add Files to Branch – Now add all files to newly created branch and commit them using following commands.

git add -A
git commit -am "first commit"

Delete master/main Branch. Adjust the command according your git repository

git branch -D main

Rename Current Branch – After deleting the master/main branch, let’s rename newly created branch name to master/main.

git branch -m main

Push Changes – You have completed the changes to your local git repository. Finally, push your changes to the remote master/main (Github) repository forcefully.

git push -f origin main