Home Setup Git LFS with Nexus as Backend

Setup Git LFS with Nexus as Backend

Sometimes I need to keep binaries that I’ll later use during an installation. I’d like to keep these in a git repo. But their size and “binary format” makes them unsuited for a git repo. Thanks to Git LFS (Large File Storage), I can keep them in git while keeping their sizes small because they’ll be stored in Nexus Repo Manager as Git LFS repositories.

From the perspective of using them, say, consuming them via curl, I’d be getting them from Nexus. As a “consumer”, Nexus is my single source of truth for such binary files or exectables.

As a “producer”, a git repo would be my source of truth. Ofcourse, I’d also need to push them to a Nexus repo where my “consumer” expects to retrieve them from. As such, I’d need the following:

Prepare Nexus Repo Manager

Setup the repository where to store git-lfs files

An example could be a repository in Nexus named my-gitlfs-hosted-repo, such that the whole Url is https://nexus.url.com/repository/my-gitlfs-hosted-repo/

Prep user in Nexus Repo Manager for git-lfs

This step is about setting the right roles for the user who’s going to push to Nexus Repo Manager. This user can be a “normal” user or a non-personal technical user or service account. This user needs to have the role nx-developer-git-lfs in Nexus Repo Manager.


  • As the user with the nx-developer-git-lfs permissions, log into Nexus Rep Manager.
  • Go to your accout page -> User Token -> click the button, “Acccess user token”.
  • Save the User token name and User token passode of your user.
  • Later on, when working on your dev machine and git prompts you for credentials, use these:
    • For the username, enter the User token name
    • For the password, enter the User token passode
  • Using you “normal” user’s credentials for github or Nexus Repo Manager will fail with such an error:
    Uploading LFS objects:   0% (0/9), 0 B | 0 B/s, done.  
    batch response: Authorization error: https://nexus.url.com/repository/my-gitlfs-hosted-repo/info/lfs/objects/batch
    Check that you have proper access to the repository
    error: failed to push some refs to 'github.com:gh-org-or-username/my-git-repo.git'

Configure git-lfs on git repository

Install git-lfs

Follow the steps in Installation · git-lfs/git-lfs Wiki · GitHub.

Check that the installation worked by executing the command, git lfs env.

Set up a new repository that’s git-lfs enabled following the official tutorial

Setup git repo for git-lfs

In the git console, navigate to the git repo. We’ll add one big file.


  • Show which file extensions is git-lfs tracking? git lfs track
  • Tell git-lfs to track certain extensions: git lfs track "*.msi" or maybe a folder with git lfs track "folderA/"
  • Git-lfs will save that information in .gitattributes. When opened, it looks like
    *.msi filter=lfs diff=lfs merge=lfs -text
  • Commit .gitattributes to the repo.
  • Add the .msi file, and commit it.

Before pushing to the remote repo, we need to setup which bakend git-lfs should use.

  • Add the backend url for git-lfs with git config -f .lfsconfig lfs.url https://nexus.url.com/repository/my-gitlfs-hosted-repo/info/lfs/
  • This generates a .lfsconfig file that should be added and committed to the repo. When opened, it looks like this:
      url = https://nexus.url.com/repository/my-gitlfs-hosted-repo/info/lfs
  • Run git lfs env to check that the Endpoint key points to the Nexus url.

On your first push, git will ask for credentials (for me, git asked for them twice even though pushing one file). Now we can use the token name and token code that we retrieved in section “Prep user in Nexus Repo Manager for git-lfs”

  • For the username, enter the User token name
  • For the password, enter the User token passode

When git is finished with pushing, take a look at the .msi file: it’ll contain the SHA for the file. And the SHA corresponds to the filename in Nexus.

Big file's SHA in Git will be the same in Nexus Big file’s SHA in Git will be the same in Nexus

Development workflow

Clone for local dev

Running git clone will retrieve all the files.

  • The executables will also be downloaded.
  • Run ls -hal to check that the sizes are the same.

Add files to the repo, commit, and push.

Push to Nexus (manually or via CI)

Whether pushing to Nexus manually or using a CI tool, I need the Tokens for my user in Nexus.

  • Log into Nexus.
  • Navigate to user’s profile.
  • Click the “Tokens” button. Save the Token Username and Token Passcode

Save those tokens in the shell’s terminal (there’s a TIL for that) )

# prompt for user for username.
read -s -p "Enter Token username: " TOKEN_USERNAME
# User types the username

# export as env var

# prompt user for password
read -s -p "Enter Token Passcode: " TOKEN_PASSCODE
# User types the username

# export as env var


curl --verbose \
--upload-file $file $nexus_url/repository/$repo/$file
This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.

Moving from wordpress.com to Jekyll on Netlify

Troubleshooting self-hosted GitLab - root user missing