Troubleshooting the Terraform integration with GitLab

When you are using the integration with Terraform and GitLab, you might experience issues you need to troubleshoot.

gitlab_group_share_group resources not detected when subgroup state is refreshed

The GitLab Terraform provider can fail to detect existing gitlab_group_share_group resources due to the issue “User with permissions cannot retrieve share_with_groups from the API”. This results in an error when running terraform apply because Terraform attempts to recreate an existing resource.

For example, consider the following group/subgroup configuration:

├── subgroup-A
└── subgroup-B


  • User user-1 creates parent-group, subgroup-A, and subgroup-B.
  • subgroup-A is shared with subgroup-B.
  • User terraform-user is member of parent-group with inherited owner access to both subgroups.

When the Terraform state is refreshed, the API query GET /groups/:subgroup-A_id issued by the provider does not return the details of subgroup-B in the shared_with_groups array. This leads to the error.

To workaround this issue, make sure to apply one of the following conditions:

  1. The terraform-user creates all subgroup resources.
  2. Grant Maintainer or Owner role to the terraform-user user on subgroup-B.
  3. The terraform-user inherited access to subgroup-B and subgroup-B contains at least one project.

Invalid CI/CD syntax error when using the latest base template

On GitLab 14.2 and later, you might get a CI/CD syntax error when using the latest Base Terraform template:

  - template: Terraform/Base.latest.gitlab-ci.yml

  extends: .init

The base template’s jobs were renamed with better Terraform-specific names. To resolve the syntax error, you can:

  • Use the stable Terraform/Base.gitlab-ci.yml template, which has not changed.
  • Update your pipeline configuration to use the new job names in For example:

      - template: Terraform/Base.latest.gitlab-ci.yml
      extends: .terraform:init  # The updated name.

Troubleshooting Terraform state

Unable to lock Terraform state files in CI jobs for terraform apply using a plan created in a previous job

When passing -backend-config= to terraform init, Terraform persists these values inside the plan cache file. This includes the password value.

As a result, to create a plan and later use the same plan in another CI job, you might get the error Error: Error acquiring the state lock errors when using -backend-config=password=$CI_JOB_TOKEN. This happens because the value of $CI_JOB_TOKEN is only valid for the duration of the current job.

As a workaround, use http backend configuration variables in your CI job, which is what happens behind the scenes when following the Get started using GitLab CI instructions.

Error: “address”: required field is not set

By default, we set TF_ADDRESS to ${CI_API_V4_URL}/projects/${CI_PROJECT_ID}/terraform/state/${TF_STATE_NAME}. If you don’t set TF_STATE_NAME or TF_ADDRESS in your job, the job fails with the error message Error: "address": required field is not set.

To resolve this, ensure that either TF_ADDRESS or TF_STATE_NAME is accessible in the job that returned the error:

  1. Configure the CI/CD environment scope for the job.
  2. Set the job’s environment, matching the environment scope from the previous step.