How to install and configure GITLab to manage your git repositories.

gitlabGitlab is a free git repository management application based on Ruby on Rails. It is distributed under the MIT License and its source code can be found on Github. It is a very active project with a monthly release cycle and ideal for businesses that want to keep their code private. Consider it as a self hosted Github but open source.

Select Version to Install

Make sure you view this installation guide from the branch (version) of GitLab you would like to install. In most cases this should be the highest numbered stable branch.

Important notes

This installation guide was created for and tested on Debian/Ubuntu operating systems. Please read doc/install/ for hardware and operating system requirements.

This is the official installation guide to set up a production server. To set up a development installation or for many other installation options please consult the installation section in the readme.

The following steps have been known to work. Please use caution when you deviate from this guide. Make sure you don’t violate any assumptions GitLab makes about its environment. For example many people run into permission problems because they changed the location of directories or run services as the wrong user.

If you find a bug/error in this guide please submit a pull request following the contributing guide.


The GitLab installation consists of setting up the following components:

1. Packages / Dependencies

sudo is not installed on Debian by default. Make sure your system is up-to-date and install it.

Note: Vim is an editor that is used here whenever there are files that need to be edited by hand. But, you can use any editor you like instead.

# Install vim

Install the required packages:

Make sure you have the right version of Python installed.

# Install Python

# Make sure that Python is 2.5+ (3.x is not supported at the moment)

# If it’s Python 3 you might need to install Python 2 separately

# Make sure you can access Python via python2

# If you get a “command not found” error create a link to the python binary

Note: In order to receive mail notifications, make sure to install a mail server. By default, Debian is shipped with exim4 whereas Ubuntu does not ship with one. The recommended mail server is postfix and you can install it with:

2. Ruby

Remove old 1.8 ruby if present

Download and compile it:

Install the Bundler Gem:

3. System Users

Create a git user for Gitlab:

4. GitLab shell

GitLab Shell is a ssh access and repository management software developed specially for GitLab.

# Login as git

# Go to home directory

# Clone gitlab shell

# switch to right version

# Edit config and replace gitlab_url
# with something like ‘’

# Do setup

5. Database

To setup the MySQL/PostgreSQL database and dependencies please see doc/install/

6. GitLab

# We’ll install GitLab into home directory of the user “git”

Clone the Source

# Clone GitLab repository

# Go to gitlab dir

# Checkout to stable release

Note: You can change 5-2-stable to master if you want the bleeding edge version, but do so with caution!

Configure it

# Copy the example GitLab config

# Make sure to change “localhost” to the fully-qualified domain name of your
# host serving GitLab where necessary

# Make sure GitLab can write to the log/ and tmp/ directories

# Create directory for satellites

# Create directories for sockets/pids and make sure GitLab can write to them

# Create public/uploads directory otherwise backup will fail

# Copy the example Puma config

# Configure Git global settings for git user, useful when editing via web
# Edit according to what is set in gitlab.yml

Important Note: Make sure to edit both gitlab.yml and puma.rb to match your setup.

Configure GitLab DB settings

Make sure to update username/password in config/database.yml.

Install Gems

Initialize Database and Activate Advanced Features

Install Init Script

Download the init script (will be /etc/init.d/gitlab):

Make GitLab start on boot:

Check Application Status

Check if GitLab and its environment are configured correctly:

Start Your GitLab Instance

Double-check Application Status

To make sure you didn’t miss anything run a more thorough check with:

If all items are green, then congratulations on successfully installing GitLab! However there are still a few steps left.

7. Nginx

Note: If you can’t or don’t want to use Nginx as your web server, have a look at the Advanced Setup Tips section.


Site Configuration

Download an example site config:

Make sure to edit the config file to match your setup:

# **YOUR_SERVER_FQDN** to the fully-qualified
# domain name of your host serving GitLab. Also, replace
# the ‘listen’ line with the following:
# listen 80 default_server; # e.g., listen;

Visit YOUR_SERVER for your first GitLab login. The setup has created an admin account for you. You can use it to log in:

Important Note: Please go over to your profile page and immediately change the password, so nobody can access your GitLab by using this login information later on.


Advanced Setup Tips
Custom Redis Connection

If you’d like Resque to connect to a Redis server on a non-standard port or on a different host, you can configure its connection string via the config/resque.yml file.

# example
production: redis://redis.example.tld:6379
Custom SSH Connection

If you are running SSH on a non-standard port, you must change the gitlab user’s SSH config.

# Add to /home/git/.ssh/config
host localhost # Give your setup a name (here: override localhost)
user git # Your remote git user
port 2222 # Your port number
hostname; # Your server name or IP
You also need to change the corresponding options (e.g. ssh_user, ssh_host, admin_uri) in the configgitlab.yml file.

LDAP authentication

You can configure LDAP authentication in config/gitlab.yml. Please restart GitLab after editing this file.

Using Custom Omniauth Providers

GitLab uses Omniauth for authentication and already ships with a few providers preinstalled (e.g. LDAP, GitHub, Twitter). But sometimes that is not enough and you need to integrate with other authentication solutions. For these cases you can use the Omniauth provider.


These steps are fairly general and you will need to figure out the exact details from the Omniauth provider’s documentation.

Add gem “omniauth-your-auth-provider” to the Gemfile
Run sudo -u git -H bundle install to install the new gem(s)
Add provider specific configuration options to your config/gitlab.yml (you can use the auth providers section of the example config as a reference)
Add icons for the new provider into the vendor/assets/images/authbuttons directory (you can find some more popular ones over at
Restart GitLab

If you have successfully set up a provider that is not shipped with GitLab itself, please let us know. You can help others by reporting successful configurations and probably share a few insights or provide warnings for common errors or pitfalls by sharing your experience in the public Wiki. While we can’t officially support every possible auth mechanism out there, we’d like to at least help those with special needs.

Reference :

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Tapas Mishra

Sr. Engineer (DevOps)
Loves to work on Opensource products. Having experience on Linux environment. Knowledge on Public cloud services like AWS, Rackspace, DigitalOcean, Linode. Please don't hesitate to give a comment on the posts. Your comments are my strength.

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