Git “Pre-Receive Hook Declined” Error

Nearly every developer on the planet has heard or has ever used Git and other associated Git services such as hosting the platforms with GitHub, GitLab, GoGs, etc.

When performing the Git operations on the Git hosting services such as GitHub, you might encounter the “git pre-receive hook declined” error message.

This can be inconvenient especially for new Git users as they do not know how to troubleshoot it. In this post, we will explore what this error means and how to fix it to allow you to perform your desired Git operations.

What Causes this Error?

The “pre-receive hook declined” error mainly occurs when you try to push the changes to a branch or repo in which you do not have sufficient permissions.

It mainly indicates that the pre-receive hook has rejected the specified commits. The pre-receive hook is a script that analyzes the incoming commits and decides if they allow it into the branch or not.

There are various causes of this error which include the following:

Pushing to the Main Branch

Unless you are working in a personal repository, most public repos have the master or main branch marked as protected.

This means that you are not allowed to push the changes directly into the main branch. It is the role of the repo admin to verify the changes that you push (from another branch), accept or reject them, and finally merge them into the main branch.

To fix this error, you can either mark the master branch as unprotected (if you own the repo) or push to the correct branch.

You can also contact the administrator of the repository to give you permission to push into the main branch if necessary.

NOTE: For most cases, it is just recommended to create a pull request and wait for the administrator to approve your changes. The changes can then be merged into the main branch without actually modifying the permissions of the main branch.

Push to the Protected Branch

Apart from the master branch, you may be trying to push the changes to another branch that is marked as protected.

In this case, you can either mark the branch as unprotected or just ask for permission to push the changes into the protected branch.

Non-Fast-Forward Push

In some cases, another developer might push the commits to the same branch as you. If you didn’t fetch and merge the new changes, attempting to push your new changes can lead to this error.

To fix it, use the “git pull” command to update your branch and fix this error.

$ git pull


In this tutorial, we learned about the “git pre-receive hook declined” error when pushing changes to a Git repo. This is mainly caused by insufficient permissions on the target branch or pushing to the incorrect branch. Just check to which branch you are pushing or modify the permissions of the branch.

About the author

John Otieno

My name is John and am a fellow geek like you. I am passionate about all things computers from Hardware, Operating systems to Programming. My dream is to share my knowledge with the world and help out fellow geeks. Follow my content by subscribing to LinuxHint mailing list