Installing GitLab on Ubuntu

You have a number of options when installing GitLab on Ubuntu - these include doing so manually or installing through Cloud 66 EasyDeploy.

Depending on your configuration, a manual installation of GitLab can take up to a few days. Deploying through Cloud 66 on the other hand takes up to an hour for the initial deploy, and up to five minutes for subsequent deployments.

This post will take you through each option.

Option 1: Deploying with Cloud 66

Deploying with Cloud 66 consists of five simple steps:

1. Create an account on Cloud 66.

2. Click here to auto-fill your new stack page. 

3. Once the code has been analyzed, you need to specify environment variables for your deployment, as seen in the image below:


These are the environment variables you need to set: 

  • HOST' - the domain hosting your site (required)
  • HTTPS' - whether or not to require HTTPS (required)
  • SMTP_HOST' - your SMTP provider address (optional)
  • SMTP_PORT' - your SMTP provider port (optional)
  • SMTP_DOMAIN' - the domain you send emails from (optional)
  • EMAIL_FROM’ - the account you send emails from (optional)
  • SUPPORT_EMAIL' - the account you send support emails from (optional)
  • SMTP_USERNAME' - your SMTP username (optional)
  • SMTP_PASSWORD' - your SMTP password (optional)

To send emails, you can easily set up SMTP on your server, or use a service like Sendgrid or Mailchimp.

4. Next, choose where you’d like to deploy GitLab, the region and server size. You can also choose if you’d like to deploy to separate web, database and Redis servers.

5. Once you’re happy with your configuration, simply click ‘deploy’, and sit back and relax while we deploy GitLab for you.

The default username for your installation is ‘root’, and the password is ‘5iveL!fe' - just remember to change these when you first login. Also, please open port 22 on your server (through the stack security page) in order to commit over SSH.

Option 2: Manual Installation

1. Packages / Dependencies

Make sure your system is up-to-date.

# run as root!
apt-get update -y
apt-get upgrade -y

Note: During this installation some files will need to be edited manually. If you are familiar with vim set it as default editor with the commands below. If you are not familiar with vim please skip this and keep using the default editor.

# Install vim and set as default editor
sudo apt-get install -y vim
sudo update-alternatives --set editor /usr/bin/vim.basic

Install the required packages:

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential zlib1g-dev libyaml-dev libssl-dev libgdbm-dev libreadline-dev libncurses5-dev libffi-dev curl openssh-server redis-server checkinstall libxml2-dev libxslt-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libicu-dev logrotate

Make sure you have the right version of Python installed.

# Install Python
sudo apt-get install -y python

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

# If it's Python 3 you might need to install Python 2 separately
sudo apt-get install -y python2.7

# Make sure you can access Python via python2
python2 --version

# If you get a "command not found" error create a link to the python binary
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/python2

# For reStructuredText markup language support install required package:
sudo apt-get install -y python-docutils

Make sure you have the right version of Git installed

# Install Git
sudo apt-get install -y git-core

# Make sure Git is version 1.7.10 or higher, for example 1.7.12 or 1.8.4
git --version

Is the system packaged Git too old? Remove it and compile from source.

# Remove packaged Git
sudo apt-get remove git-core

# Install dependencies
sudo apt-get install -y libcurl4-openssl-dev libexpat1-dev gettext libz-dev libssl-dev build-essential

# Download and compile from source
cd /tmp
curl --progress | tar xz
cd git-
make prefix=/usr/local all

# Install into /usr/local/bin
sudo make prefix=/usr/local install

# When editing config/gitlab.yml (Step 6), change the git bin_path to /usr/local/bin/git

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:

sudo apt-get install -y postfix 

Then select ‘Internet Site’ and press enter to confirm the hostname.

2. Ruby

Remove the old Ruby 1.8 if present

sudo apt-get remove ruby1.8

Download Ruby and compile it:

mkdir /tmp/ruby && cd /tmp/ruby
curl --progress | tar xz
cd ruby-2.0.0-p247
./configure --disable-install-rdoc
sudo make install

Install the Bundler Gem:

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

3. System Users

Create a git user for Gitlab:

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

4. GitLab Shell

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

# Go to home directory
cd /home/git

# Clone gitlab shell
sudo -u git -H git clone

cd gitlab-shell

# switch to right version
sudo -u git -H git checkout v1.7.4

sudo -u git -H cp config.yml.example config.yml

# Edit config and replace gitlab_url
# with something like ''
sudo -u git -H editor config.yml

# Do setup
sudo -u git -H ./bin/install

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"
cd /home/git

Clone the source

# Clone GitLab repository
sudo -u git -H git clone gitlab

# Go to gitlab dir
cd /home/git/gitlab

# Checkout to stable release
sudo -u git -H git checkout 6-2-stable

Note: You can change 6-2-stable to master if you want the bleeding edge version, but never install master on a production server!

Configure it

cd /home/git/gitlab

# Copy the example GitLab config
sudo -u git -H cp config/gitlab.yml.example config/gitlab.yml

# Make sure to change "localhost" to the fully-qualified domain name of your
# host serving GitLab where necessary
# If you installed Git from source, change the git bin_path to /usr/local/bin/git
sudo -u git -H editor config/gitlab.yml

# Make sure GitLab can write to the log/ and tmp/ directories
sudo chown -R git log/
sudo chown -R git tmp/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX  log/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX  tmp/

# Create directory for satellites
sudo -u git -H mkdir /home/git/gitlab-satellites

# Create directories for sockets/pids and make sure GitLab can write to them
sudo -u git -H mkdir tmp/pids/
sudo -u git -H mkdir tmp/sockets/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX  tmp/pids/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX  tmp/sockets/

# Create public/uploads directory otherwise backup will fail
sudo -u git -H mkdir public/uploads
sudo chmod -R u+rwX  public/uploads

# Copy the example Unicorn config
sudo -u git -H cp config/unicorn.rb.example config/unicorn.rb

# Enable cluster mode if you expect to have a high load instance
# Ex. change amount of workers to 3 for 2GB RAM server
sudo -u git -H editor config/unicorn.rb

# Copy the example Rack attack config
sudo -u git -H cp config/initializers/rack_attack.rb.example config/initializers/rack_attack.rb

# Enable rack attack middleware
# Find and uncomment the line 'config.middleware.use Rack::Attack'
sudo -u git -H editor config/application.rb

# Configure Git global settings for git user, useful when editing via web
# Edit according to what is set in gitlab.yml
sudo -u git -H git config --global "GitLab"
sudo -u git -H git config --global "gitlab@localhost"
sudo -u git -H git config --global core.autocrlf input

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

Configure GitLab DB settings

# Mysql
sudo -u git cp config/database.yml.mysql config/database.yml

# Make sure to update username/password in config/database.yml.
# You only need to adapt the production settings (first part).
# If you followed the database guide then please do as follows:
# Change 'secure password' with the value you have given to $password
# You can keep the double quotes around the password
sudo -u git -H editor config/database.yml


# PostgreSQL
sudo -u git cp config/database.yml.postgresql config/database.yml

# Make config/database.yml readable to git only
sudo -u git -H chmod o-rwx config/database.yml

Install Gems

cd /home/git/gitlab

sudo gem install charlock_holmes --version ''

# For MySQL (note, the option says "without ... postgres")
sudo -u git -H bundle install --deployment --without development test postgres aws

# Or for PostgreSQL (note, the option says "without ... mysql")
sudo -u git -H bundle install --deployment --without development test mysql aws

Initialize Database and Activate Advanced Features

sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:setup RAILS_ENV=production

# Type 'yes' to create the database.

# When done you see 'Administrator account created:'

Install Init Script

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

sudo cp lib/support/init.d/gitlab /etc/init.d/gitlab
sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/gitlab

Make GitLab start on boot:

sudo update-rc.d gitlab defaults 21

Setup Logrotate

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

Check Application Status

sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:env:info RAILS_ENV=production

Start your GitLab Instance

sudo service gitlab start
# or
sudo /etc/init.d/gitlab restart

Double-check Application Status

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

sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:check RAILS_ENV=production

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

7. Nginx

Note: Nginx is the officially supported web server for GitLab. If you cannot or do not want to use Nginx as your web server, have a look at the GitLab recipes.


sudo apt-get install -y nginx

Site Configuration

Download an example site config:

sudo cp lib/support/nginx/gitlab /etc/nginx/sites-available/gitlab
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/gitlab /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/gitlab

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

# Change YOUR_SERVER_FQDN to the fully-qualified
# domain name of your host serving GitLab.
sudo editor /etc/nginx/sites-available/gitlab


sudo service nginx restart


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.