Learn how to deploy and test hot fixes and preserve orphan commits on your Pantheon Drupal or WordPress site.

For Experts only. You should not need to attempt this if you use Multidev and keep commits from reaching Dev that you do not intend on deploying.


  • A working knowledge of Git tools.
  • An up-to-date clone of your Pantheon Git repository.

Get Into the Right Tag

  1. From within your Git clone, get a quick list of the existing Git tags:

    git tag

    To get only the highest live tag, use the following:

    git tag | grep pantheon_live_ | sort -k1.15n | tail -1
  2. Select the highest live tag and check it out:

    git checkout pantheon_live_1
    Note: checking out 'pantheon_live_1'.
    You are in 'detached HEAD' state. You can make experimental
    changes and commit them, and you can discard any commits you make without impacting any branches by performing another checkout.
    If you want to create a new branch to retain commits you create, you can
    do so by using -b with the checkout command again. Example:
      git checkout -b new_branch_name
    HEAD is now at ....</pre code>

    You are now ready to start work based on the state of the live site.

  3. Create new branch and start working:

    git checkout -b hotfix
    git commit -a -m "Hotfix issue xyz"

Generate a New Hotfix Test Tag

Make your hotfixes and commit them locally, then tag and push them to test by creating a new test tag with a higher number value:

git tag -a pantheon_test_5 -m "Preparing a hotfix"
git push origin pantheon_test_5

Test and Deploy

If your tests pass, you will need to repeat the process to deploy your changes to the Live environment. Currently, the deploys interface does not enable hotfix tags on test to be deployed directly to live.

git tag -a pantheon_live_2 -m "Deploying my hotfix"
git push origin pantheon_live_2

Orphan Commits

On Pantheon an orphan commit is any commit that exists on the Test or Live environment, but not in the master branch.

Even when making hotfixes, your workflow should push those changes into the master branch. Since we have no way of knowing which future commit will contain those changes, we want you to be aware of potential code loss.

If you do want to preserve the orphan commits, follow these Git commands to make a clean merge:

git checkout master
git checkout -b hotfix
git cherry-pick 0f230b0ef9fdce5d794cb1a4b6cf26a8052ba92a
git checkout master
git merge hotfix

Make sure to cherry-pick the commits in chronological order to avoid issues with your integration and replace the hash code in the example above with the actual hash of the commit you are trying to preserve.