Gitlab is a server near to Github. He let to manage and centralize your Git repositories with a Web user Interface. Gitlab also provide an issue manage system, a powerfull API and many other features compared to a simple bare repository.

The advantage with such a server is that it allows you to see the status of your repositories from any platform / device and most importantly it brings a complete group management and tools to chat with other servers (Like Jenkins for example).

This tutorial allows you to install Gitlab in its Community version. He resume the official tutorial already well done.


To deploy a Gitlab server, you should have a good knowledge of Git and Linux (and Ruby if possible) to understand to understand the interest and especially its functioning.

  • A Linux server with root rights.

This tutorial was performed on an Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS


Like all softwares, Gitlab need some external libraries to work. Ensure your server is up-to-date and install the following:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y build-essential zlib1g-dev libyaml-dev libssl-dev libgdbm-dev libreadline-dev libncurses5-dev libffi-dev curl openssh-server checkinstall libxml2-dev libxslt-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libicu-dev logrotate python-docutils pkg-config cmake 

If you want to use Kerberos, install also following library:

sudo apt-get install libkrb5-dev

Install Git

You should have a Git version upper or equal to 2.7.4. In many distribution, Git will not be up-to-date with the current version of Git.

To get last Git version, add the repository:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:git-core/ppa
sudo apt-get update
# Then install "git-core"
sudo apt-get install git-core

If you want ot be sure to have a compatible version, run:

algorys@srv-gitlab:~$ git --version
git version 2.7.4

Note: I’ve installed a Gitlab server with a 1.9.1 version and Gitlab is working well. But, for safety reasons, it is better to have the latest version installed.

Now you have all requirement to install Gitlab, but the road is still long…


Gitlab need at least Ruby 2.1.x for Gitlab < 9.0 and Ruby 2.3 for Gitlab >= 9.0. So be sure to install the right version !

It is also indicated that the version managers for Ruby are also not supported / recommended and may pose different problems for your future push and pull on the server.

Ruby 2.1

To install Ruby 2.1, first remove your current version if needed:

sudo apt-get remove rubyX.x

Where X.x is your Ruby version number.

Then download Ruby:

mkdir /tmp/ruby && cd /tmp/ruby
curl -O --progress
echo 'c7e50159357afd87b13dc5eaf4ac486a70011149  ruby-2.1.8.tar.gz' | shasum -c - && tar xzf ruby-2.1.8.tar.gz

And compile and install:

cd ruby-2.1.8
./configure --disable-install-rdoc
sudo make install

It may take some time before ending, so you can drink a coffee while waiting.

Ruby 2.3

On recent “distro”, Ruby 2.3 is already installed. If not just follow the same procedure as above by changing the version number.


Once Ruby installed, you’ve to install the Bundler Gem:

sudo gem install bundler --no-ri --no-rdoc

Note: if you have headers problems, just install rubyX.x-dev packages to solve it.

Now Ruby is installed and ready to use.


Since Gitlab 8.0, HTTP requests of git are done with gitlab-workhorse. This a daemon like written in Go. To install it, you need Go compiler.

The foolowing commands are for a 64-bit Linux. Adjust archive according to your platform by going on the Go Download Page !

curl -O --progress
echo '43afe0c5017e502630b1aea4d44b8a7f059bf60d7f29dfd58db454d4e4e0ae53  go1.5.3.linux-amd64.tar.gz' | shasum -a256 -c -
sudo tar -C /usr/local -xzf go1.5.3.linux-amd64.tar.gz
sudo ln -sf /usr/local/go/bin/{go,godoc,gofmt} /usr/local/bin/
# Delete useless archive
rm go1.5.3.linux-amd64.tar.gz


Since Gitlab 8.17, Gitlab use node >= v4.3.0 to compile javascript assets and yarn >= v0.17.0to manage its dependencies.

# Install node v7.x
curl --location | sudo bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

# Install yarn
# In Official Documentation, here is the given command:
curl --location | sudo -u git -H bash -
# Personally, Gitlab could not detect "yarn" thereafter
# If this is your case, install from packages:
curl -sS | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install yarn

Git User

You have to create a dedicated user to Gitlab, without password. By convention, we give as name git:

sudo adduser --disabled-login --gecos 'Gitlab' git

Later, you will see that many things will be found in the $HOME directory of this user.


Gitlab does not recommend MySQL ! It is however possible to use it by going on MySQL Documentation.

Gitlab recommend to use PostgreSQL >= 9.1 ! So we do as they want:

sudo apt-get install -y postgresql postgresql-client libpq-dev postgresql-contrib

Then define git user inside:

sudo -u postgres psql -d template1 -c "CREATE USER git CREATEDB;"
# Create "pg_trgm" extension
sudo -u postgres psql -d template1 -c "CREATE EXTENSION IF NOT EXISTS pg_trgm;"

Create the Database dedicated to “production”:

sudo -u postgres psql -d template1 -c "CREATE DATABASE gitlabhq_production OWNER git;"

Then try to connect:

sudo -u git -H psql -d gitlabhq_production

You should have the following output:

psql (9.x.x)
Type "help" for help.


Check if pg_trgm extension is enabled:

SELECT true AS enabled
FROM pg_available_extensions
WHERE name = 'pg_trgm'
AND installed_version IS NOT NULL;

If it’s enbled, you should see:

(1 row)

Type \q or press CTRL-D to quit PostgreSQL.

Install Redis Server

Redis is a powerfull Database management system and is required by Gitlab. A minimum 2.8 version is required! On Debian like, this package is normally up-to-date:

sudo apt-get install redis-server

If you have not the required version, you have to add the repository by following Gitlab Redis Documentation.

Now, you’ve to give redis rights to git user by adding him in group:

sudo usermod -aG redis git

And modify the configuration file like this (sudo vi /etc/redis/redis.conf):

# Change port to 0
port 0
# Set socket path and permissions for redis
unixsocket /var/run/redis/redis.sock
unixsocketperm 770

Then restart redis-server:

sudo service redis-server restart

Ready is Redis ;)


Finally ! We’ll take care of Gitlab!

Go to the git home folder and clone the repository:

cd /home/git
# Change the Gitlab version to the one you want. Here is the 9.1:
sudo -u git -H git clone -b 9-1-stable gitlab

Now, we have to configure Gitlab according to what we installed before:

cd /home/git/gitlab
sudo -u git -H cp config/gitlab.yml.example config/gitlab.yml

Open the gitlab.yml file (sudo -u git -H vi config/gitlab.yml). You have at the top of the file, the main changes you have to do. But here is a resume:

# Buy default, "host" is at `localhost`. You can put your FQDN here instead.
host: localhost
# Chosse an email for emails from this server
# Check your Git path
  bin_path: /usr/bin/git

Of course, you’ll have other settings to configure after, like LDAP accounts (see at the end of this tutorial).

Once done, copy the following file:

sudo -u git -H cp config/secrets.yml.example config/secrets.yml
sudo -u git -H chmod 0600 config/secrets.yml

Ensure Gitlab can write in the following folders:

sudo chown -R git log/
sudo chown -R git tmp/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX,go-w log/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX tmp/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX tmp/pids/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX tmp/sockets/

Then, create a folder public/uploads/ and ensure that nobody can write in:

sudo -u git -H mkdir public/uploads/
sudo chmod 0700 public/uploads

And finally, change the permissions for Gitlab-CI and Gitlab Pages:

sudo chmod -R u+rwX builds/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX shared/artifacts/
sudo chmod -R ug+rwX shared/pages/

Now copy the unicorn.rb file and edit it:

sudo -u git -H cp config/unicorn.rb.example config/unicorn.rb
sudo -u git -H vi config/unicorn.rb

You have to define the worker processes number in this file. For a server with 2GB of RAM, the number is 3 maximum. You can see number of processor of your server by typing the followin command: nproc. To define the worker number, count processors number + 1.

worker_processes 3

Save and quit this file.

Then, you have to copy the rack_attack.rb configuration file:

sudo -u git -H cp config/initializers/rack_attack.rb.example config/initializers/rack_attack.rb

And you have to dconfigure git for Gitlab. This settings will be used when you edit something on Web interface and others:

sudo -u git -H git config --global core.autocrlf input
sudo -u git -H git config --global 0
sudo -u git -H git config --global repack.writeBitmaps true

Finally, you need to copy the Redis configuration file and edit it if you have modify the socket path before:

sudo -u git -H cp config/resque.yml.example config/resque.yml
sudo -u git -H vi config/resque.yml
# Changement à faire pour le path du socket
# production: unix:/var/run/redis/redis.sock
production: unix:/path/to/new/sock.sock

Configure DataBase for Gitlab

Now you’ve to copy and check the database.yml file:

sudo -u git cp config/database.yml.postgresql config/database.yml
sudo -u git -H vi config/database.yml
# Check the file according to previous configurations

And make this file readable to user git only:

sudo -u git -H chmod o-rwx config/database.yml

Install Gems

Ruby needs some Gems to work (like module in Python or other languages). You must have a bundle versigreater than or equal to 1.5.2 (run bundle -v to see it). If this is the case, run gems installation:

# For an installation with PostgreSQL.
# If you have choosen MySQL, replace "mysql" by "postgres"
sudo -u git -H bundle install --deployment --without development test mysql aws kerberos

You should see the following output:

Fetching gem metadata from
Installing ...
Bundle complete! 173 Gemfile dependencies, 264 gems now installed.
Gems in the groups development, test, mysql, aws and kerberos were not installed.
Bundled gems are installed into ./vendor/bundle.

Note: it’s possible, depending on your connection, that some gems take a long time to be installed. Be patient and do not interrupt the installation. If there is any error, bundle is usually verbose enough to tell you what to do.

Note: if you have the following error: can't find header files for ruby at /usr/lib/ruby/include/ruby.h is that you are missing the ruby headers files. In this case, just run: sudo apt-get install ruby2.x-dev to install them.

Install Gitlab Shell

The Gitlab Shell is a repository management software especially developed for Gitlab. To install it, run the gitlab-shell task:

# Change Redis URL if needed !
sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:shell:install REDIS_URL=unix:/var/run/redis/redis.sock RAILS_ENV=production SKIP_STORAGE_VALIDATION=true

This will clone the corresponding repository in /home/git/gitlab-shell and create repositories in git HOME folder. Here is the output:

WARNING: This version of GitLab depends on gitlab-shell 2.6.11, but you're running Unknown. Please update gitlab-shell.
Missing `db_key_base` for 'production' environment. The secrets will be generated and stored in `config/secrets.yml`
Clonage dans '/home/git/gitlab-shell'...
remote: Counting objects: 2536, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (879/879), done.
remote: Total 2536 (delta 1596), reused 2495 (delta 1568)
Réception d'objets: 100% (2536/2536), 357.72 KiB | 0 bytes/s, fait.
Résolution des deltas: 100% (1596/1596), fait.
Vérification de la connectivité... fait.
HEAD est maintenant à bceed73 Update CHANGELOG for 2.6.11
mkdir -p /home/git/repositories/: OK
mkdir -p /home/git/.ssh: OK
chmod 700 /home/git/.ssh: OK
touch /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys: OK
chmod 600 /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys: OK
chmod ug+rwX,o-rwx /home/git/repositories/: OK

Check after the configuration file (sudo -u git -H vi /home/git/gitlab-shell/config.yml). It must match your installation, especially if you intend to use a DNS and an FQDN:


Now we can install gitlab-workhorse.

Install Gitlab-Workhorse

Go on the HOME git folder and clone repository:

cd /home/git
# For Gitlab 8.x
sudo -u git -H git clone
cd gitlab-workhorse
sudo -u git -H git checkout v0.7.1
sudo -u git -H make
# For Gitlab 9.x
sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake "gitlab:workhorse:install[/home/git/gitlab-workhorse]" RAILS_ENV=production

Init Data Base

Now we can initialize the database. If you encounter the following error:

This will create the necessary database tables and seed the database.
You will lose any previous data stored in the database.
Do you want to continue (yes/no)? yes

gitlabhq_production already exists
-- enable_extension("plpgsql")
   -> 0.0238s
   -- enable_extension("pg_trgm")
   rake aborted!
   ActiveRecord::StatementInvalid: PG::UndefinedFile: ERROR:  could not open extension control file "/usr/share/postgresql/9.3/extension/pg_trgm.control": Aucun fichier ou dossier de ce type

To solve it, install the following:

# Adaptez à la version de votre PostgreSQL
sudo apt-get install -y postgresql-contrib-9.3

Initialize database:

cd /home/git/gitlab
sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:setup RAILS_ENV=production
# Answer "yes" to create tables

At the end, you should have the following output:

== Seed from /home/git/gitlab/db/fixtures/production/001_admin.rb
Administrator account created:

login:    root
password: You'll be prompted to create one on your first visit.

Secure your secrets.yml file

This file keep stores encryption keys for sessions and secure variables. Backup secrets.yml someplace safe, but don’t store it in the same place as your database backups. Otherwise your secrets are exposed if one of your backups is compromised.

Install Init Script

Now you need init script to start, stop and restart your Gitlab server properly:

# If you do not use the default folders, adapt this file according to your configuration
sudo cp lib/support/init.d/gitlab /etc/init.d/gitlab
sudo update-rc.d gitlab defaults 21

Enable rotation logs:

sudo cp lib/support/logrotate/gitlab /etc/logrotate.d/gitlab

Gitaly (for Gitlab 9.1 only)

Since Gitlab 9.1, Gitaly is an optional component. It is OK to wait with setting up Gitaly until you upgrade to GitLab 9.2 or later.

sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake "gitlab:gitaly:install[/home/git/gitaly]" RAILS_ENV=production

Then configure it:

sudo chmod 0700 /home/git/gitlab/tmp/sockets/private
sudo chown git /home/git/gitlab/tmp/sockets/private
cd /home/git/gitaly
sudo -u git -H cp config.toml.example config.toml
# Then configure it if needed
sudo -u git -H vi config.toml

Enable it in init file of Gitlab (sudo vi /etc/init.d/gitlab):

# Update daemons
sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Then in Gitlab configuration file (sudo -u git -H vi /home/git/gitlab/config/gitlab.yml):

    enabled: true

Check Installation

Now that most files are configured and ready, it must be verified that all this can work. To do this, you will need to run the following test:

# Check application status
sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:env:info RAILS_ENV=production
# Command output (may differ depending on the installation):
System information
System:     Ubuntu 14.04
Current User:   git
Using RVM:  no
Ruby Version:   2.1.8p440
Gem Version:    2.2.5
Bundler Version:1.11.2
Rake Version:   10.5.0
Sidekiq Version:4.0.1

GitLab information
Version:    8.6.0-rc4
Revision:   834dae6
Directory:  /home/git/gitlab
DB Adapter: postgresql
URL:        http://localhost
HTTP Clone URL: http://localhost/some-group/some-project.git
SSH Clone URL:  git@localhost:some-group/some-project.git
Using LDAP: no
Using Omniauth: no

GitLab Shell
Version:    2.6.11
Repositories:   /home/git/repositories/
Hooks:      /home/git/gitlab-shell/hooks/
Git:        /usr/bin/git

Compile “assets”

Now you’ve to compile the Gitlab assets:

# If you use "yarn"
sudo -u git -H /home/git/.yarn/bin/yarn install --production --pure-lockfile
# Then
sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake assets:precompile RAILS_ENV=production NODE_ENV

This may take some time, so be patient…

Start Gitlab

If all previous commands are passed, you can start your Gitlab server !

sudo service gitlab start
# Output or "status" command output
Starting GitLab Unicorn
Starting GitLab Sidekiq
Starting gitlab-workhorse

The GitLab Unicorn web server with pid 24274 is running.
The GitLab Sidekiq job dispatcher with pid 24320 is running.
The gitlab-workhorse with pid 24302 is running.
GitLab and all its components are up and running.

Web Inerface with Nginx

Now that your server is running, it leave just the Web Interface.

Gitlab recommends Nginx:

sudo apt-get install -y nginx

Configure Site

As from the beginning, you already have a sample file to copy and you simply activate the site with a symbolic link:

sudo cp lib/support/nginx/gitlab /etc/nginx/sites-available/gitlab
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/gitlab /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/gitlab
# Delete the "default" server to avoid conflicts
sudo rm -f /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

Configure file to suit your configuration (sudo vi /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/gitlab):

# Add your FQDN

Test Nginx and Restart

Confirm your Nginx configuration with the following command:

sudo nginx -t

Then restart Nginx:

sudo service nginx restart

That’s done !

Visit Web Interface

You should be able to open your browser on as setting in Nginx file. The following page should be displayed:

Gitlab - First Visit

You should define a new password for admin account ! Once done, Gitlab will redirect you on login page.

  • Login: root
  • Password: thePasswordYouHaveEnterBefore

Congratulations, your Gitlab server is ready to receive your first repository !

LDAP and Users

Standard users

If you want that your users register themselves, you have nothing to do. By default, Gitlab let users register on Web Interface. You ca deactivate this feature in Admin area (the key icon on top right) and under Settings. Uncheck Sign-up enabled.

LDAP Users

If you have a LDAP server, you can configure it in Gitlab. Open the Gitlab configuration file (sudo -u git -H vi /home/git/gitlab/config/gitlab.yml) and add your LDAP informations:

  enabled: true
    # Label who be displayed at Gitlab start page
    label: 'DOMAIN'
    # Set LDAP IP or FQDN
    # Change port if needed
    host: 'XXX.XXX.X.XX'
    port: 389
    # How Gitlab authenticates users
    uid: 'sAMAccountName'
    # Choose method: # "tls" or "ssl" or "plain"
    method: 'plain'
    # Put account data of a user who had sufficient rights
    bind_dn: 'DOMAIN\user'
    password: 'xxxxxxxx'
    # If your server is not Active Directory server
    active_directory: true
    # Specify research base
    base: 'DC=domaine,DC=fr'

Save and quit. You should restart Gitlab to take in count:

sudo service gitlab restart

You will always be able to log in with your ** root ** account (fortunately …). If you go in Admlin area, you should see a “green” chip near LDAP. You should also see a new Tab with your Domain name (the one you’ve set for “label” before).


You will see that each user will have a namespace (often the name of his account) for his repositories. You can also create groups to put repository and then add users to this group. You can also determine which user can push on the repository, pull, make pull requests… as a Github server.


Gitlab is not necessarily obvious to create, nor to configure but if you’re patient, it is in fact very easy to use. The Gitlab team always makes documentation very comprehensive !

For the moment your server is empty, you just have to add projects and use Git with. I would not do any tutorials on how to create a project because Gitlab gives all the necessary commands to create a repository, cloning, adding branches, creating README…