Deploy the GitLab Helm chart

Before running helm install, you need to make some decisions about how you will run GitLab. Options can be specified using Helm’s --set command-line option. This guide will cover required values and common options. For a complete list of options, read Installation command line options.

The default Helm chart configuration is not intended for production. The default chart creates a proof of concept (PoC) implementation where all GitLab services are deployed in the cluster. For production deployments, you must follow the Cloud Native Hybrid reference architecture.

For a production deployment, you should have strong working knowledge of Kubernetes. This method of deployment has different management, observability, and concepts than traditional deployments.

Deploy using Helm

Once you have all of your configuration options collected, we can get any dependencies and run Helm. In this example, we’ve named our Helm release gitlab.

helm repo add gitlab
helm repo update
helm upgrade --install gitlab gitlab/gitlab \
  --timeout 600s \
  --set \
  --set global.hosts.externalIP= \
  --set \
  --set postgresql.image.tag=13.6.0

Note the following:

  • All Helm commands are specified using Helm v3 syntax.
  • Helm v3 requires that the release name be specified as a positional argument on the command line unless the --generate-name option is used.
  • Helm v3 requires one to specify a duration with a unit appended to the value (e.g. 120s = 2m and 210s = 3m30s). The --timeout option is handled as the number of seconds without the unit specification.
  • The use of the --timeout option is deceptive in that there are multiple components that are deployed during an Helm install or upgrade in which the --timeout is applied. The --timeout value is applied to the installation of each component individually and not applied for the installation of all the components. So intending to abort the Helm install after 3 minutes by using --timeout=3m may result in the install completing after 5 minutes because none of the installed components took longer than 3 minutes to install.

You can also use --version <installation version> option if you would like to install a specific version of GitLab.

For mappings between chart versions and GitLab versions, read GitLab version mappings.

Instructions for installing a development branch rather than a tagged release can be found in the developer deploy documentation.

Monitoring the Deployment

This will output the list of resources installed once the deployment finishes which may take 5-10 minutes.

The status of the deployment can be checked by running helm status gitlab which can also be done while the deployment is taking place if you run the command in another terminal.

Initial login

You can access the GitLab instance by visiting the domain specified during installation. The default domain would be, unless the global host settings were changed. If you manually created the secret for initial root password, you can use that to sign in as root user. If not, GitLab would’ve automatically created a random password for root user. This can be extracted by the following command (replace <name> by name of the release - which is gitlab if you used the command above).

kubectl get secret <name>-gitlab-initial-root-password -ojsonpath='{.data.password}' | base64 --decode ; echo

Deploy the Community Edition

By default, the Helm charts use the Enterprise Edition of GitLab. The Enterprise Edition is a free, open core version of GitLab with the option of upgrading to a paid tier to unlock additional features. If desired, you can instead use the Community Edition which is licensed under the MIT Expat license. Learn more about the difference between the two.

To deploy the Community Edition, include this option in your Helm install command:

--set global.edition=ce

Convert Community Edition to Enterprise Edition

If you deployed the Community Edition and you want to convert to the Enterprise Edition, you need to redeploy GitLab without specifying --set global.edition=ce. If you also specified individual images (for example, --set, you need to omit any occurrence of those images.

After the deployment, you can activate your Enterprise Edition license.

Install the product documentation

This is an optional step. See how to self-host the product documentation.