All our code throughout the semester was placed on git and then brought to the server for testing/deployment. Instead of having to log on to the server and pull code every time a change was made, we wanted to update the server every time a change was made.

In order to accomplish this, we looked into GitHub’s web hooks, which work by calling a script every time a pull request goes through. The idea of this seemed simple, but we ran into some problems with permissions. In order to accommodate this, we decided to delete the whole directory and re-clone it into the same place by the following php script:

    $gitRoot = “/var/www/html/master”;

    // Use in the “Post-Receive URLs” section of your GitHub repo.
    if ($file = fopen(“log.txt”, “a”)){
        fwrite($file, “Update ” . date(“F j, Y, g:i a”));

    if ( $_POST[‘payload’] ) {
        $delete = shell_exec(“rm -rf $gitRoot”);
        $clone = shell_exec(“git clone -b master $gitRoot”);

        fwrite($file, “\n\tPayload Received\n\tClone: $clone\n\n”);
    } else{
        fwrite($file, “\n\tNo Payload Received\n\n”);

The better way to do this would be to pull changes into the directory, which is much quicker because it updates only the changed files. This wasn’t followed up on after the quick fix because the quick fix was needed early in the semester, and other things arose before re-addressing the issue.