How to Clone a Git Repository to a Specific Folder

When cloning a repository, it's crucial to specify the local destination folder rather than relying on the default location.

Git has become the dominant version control solution, enabling developers to efficiently manage and version their code. Central to Git's functionality is the concept of cloning, which involves creating a duplicate of a Git repository on your local machine from a remote source. 

When cloning a repository, it's crucial to specify the local destination folder rather than relying on the default location. This deliberate approach allows you to tailor the organization of your projects and repositories according to your preferences. 

In this article, I'll guide you through the process of effectively cloning a Git repository into a folder of your choice.

To learn more about Git’s inner workings, check out the blog How Git Works.

Cloning a Git Repository to a Specific Local Folder

This section dives into how to clone a Git repository using HTTPS and SSH.

Cloning a Git Repository Using HTTPS

The git clone command creates a local copy of a repository from a remote source like GitHub. By default, it clones into a folder named after the repository in your current directory. However, you can specify any local folder as the destination.

To clone a repository into a specific local folder:

  1. Use the git clone command with the repository URL, then the destination folder path:
git clone /path/to/destination

If the destination folder doesn't exist, Git will create it during cloning. If the folder already exists, Git will clone the repository into it. 

  1. Verify the clone by accessing the destination folder and listing the files using the following command:
cd /path/to/destination/folder
dir (on Windows)
ls (on macOS/Linux)

This allows you to confirm that the repository was cloned properly into the correct location before making any changes.


  • To clone this repository named Kode into a folder called 'KodeKloud' you can use the following command:
git clone C:\Users\Chi.Salaam\Downloads\KodeKloud
  • Now, to verify the repository has been successfully copied into the 'KodeKloud' folder, use:
cd C:\Users\Chi.Salaam\Downloads\KodeKloud

This command will display a list of files and directories in the 'KodeKloud' folder. Look for the repository files and directories to confirm that the cloning was successful.

Alternative Method

In addition to the conventional method, there's an alternative approach that involves creating the folder beforehand and using the current directory as the destination. Maintaining the previous example, here's how you can do it:

  1. Create a folder called 'KodeKloud' and navigate into it.
mkdir kodekloud
cd kodekloud
  1. Clone the Git repository into the Kodekloud directory (.)
git clone .

Using this method, the repository will be cloned directly into the folder you created (kodekloud). The dot (.) at the end of the git clone command signifies the current directory as the destination. 

Repeat the verification step to ensure it has been successfully copied into the desired folder.

Cloning a Git Repository Using SSH

In addition to HTTPS, Git repositories can be cloned using the SSH protocol. Just like with HTTPS, SSH allows you to specify a destination folder rather than cloning it into the current directory. 

With your SSH key already generated, use the following command to clone to a specific folder:

git clone ssh://username@host/path/to/repo.git /local/destination/folder

Replace ‘ssh://username@host/path/to/repo.git’ with the SSH URL of the repository you want to clone and '/local/destination/folder' with the actual path to the folder where you want to clone the repository on your local machine.


To clone this repository named Kode into a folder called 'KodeKloud' via SSH you can use the following command:

git clone [email protected]:kodekloud/kode.git C:\Users\Chi.Salaam\Downloads\KodeKloud

This clones the "Kode" repository into the "KodeKloud" folder. You can repeat the verification step to ensure it has been successfully copied.

Cloning with SSH vs. HTTPS

When cloning remote Git repositories, one key consideration is which protocol offers superior security. Here we examine how HTTPS and SSH differ in their security approaches:

1. Authentication:

  • HTTPS relies on username/password or tokens, which are potentially vulnerable to interception.
  • SSH utilizes public-key cryptography, offering stronger authentication without transmitting sensitive credentials over the network.

2. Encryption:

  • HTTPS encrypts data transmission using SSL/TLS protocols, securing communication channels.
  • SSH encrypts all communication between client and server, ensuring confidentiality and integrity of data exchanged.

3. Key Management:

  • HTTPS involves managing passwords or tokens, which may require frequent updates and pose security risks.
  • SSH requires managing key pairs, simplifying access control with fewer security vulnerabilities.

4. Resilience to Attacks:

  • HTTPS is vulnerable to password-based attacks like brute force or credential theft.
  • SSH is resilient against such attacks due to its key-based authentication mechanism and robust encryption.

5. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):

  • HTTPS supports 2FA but still relies on passwords or secondary codes, which may introduce vulnerabilities.
  • SSH implementations may support 2FA with additional security layers, further enhancing protection against unauthorized access.

SSH generally provides superior security compared to HTTPS, but it is a bit more complex. Learn how to simplify credential management from our blog: Git Save Credentials: How to Save Your Passwords & Username.

Tips and Best Practices 

Below are some best practices that you should follow when cloning a Git repository:

  • Choose Descriptive Folder Names: When choosing a destination folder, opt for descriptive names. For instance, if cloning a project related to web development, consider a folder name like "web_project" instead of a generic name.
  • Check for Existing Folders: Before cloning, check if the destination folder already exists. You can do this using:
cd /path/to/descriptive/folder

If the folder exists, verify that it's intentional and not a mistake. If unintentional, consider using a different folder or remove the existing one.

  • Considerations for Different Operating Systems: Be mindful of operating system differences in folder path conventions. Git supports both slash conventions but maintains consistency within a command. See the example below:
# Windows 
git clone C:\Projects\Repo

# Linux/macOS
git clone /home/user/repos

Using the native path format for your OS avoids inconsistencies or errors when specifying clone destinations.


Q1. Can I clone a repository into a folder with spaces in its name?

Yes, you can. When specifying the destination folder path, enclose the path containing spaces within double quotation marks. For example:

git clone "C:\Path to\Destination Folder"

Q2. What if I want to clone a private repository?

If the repository is private, you'll need to authenticate yourself with the Git server using HTTPS or SSH. For HTTPS, you'll be prompted to enter your username and password during the cloning process. For SSH, you'll need to set up SSH keys and configure them with your Git provider.

Q3. Can I clone a specific branch of the repository?

Yes, you can specify the branch you want to clone using the -b or --branch option followed by the branch name. For example:

git clone -b branch_name /path/to/destination

Q4. What if I encounter permission- denied errors during cloning?

Permission-denied errors can occur if you don't have the necessary permissions to access the repository. Ensure that you have the appropriate access rights,i.e., edit and read permissions.


While the standard git clone command copies a repository for local work, taking control of the destination path establishes clear boundaries, effectively segregating environments and preventing tangled code. This intentional approach not only enhances organization but also contributes to a more streamlined and manageable version control process.

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