Host the GitLab product documentation

Tier: Free, Premium, Ultimate Offering: Self-managed

If you are not able to access the GitLab product documentation at, you can host the documentation yourself instead.

The local help of your instance does not include all the docs (for example, it doesn’t include docs for GitLab Runner or GitLab Operator), and it’s not searchable or browsable. It’s intended to only support direct links to specific pages from within a self-managed GitLab instance.

Documentation self-hosting options

To host the GitLab product documentation, you can use:

  • A Docker container
  • GitLab Pages
  • Your own web server

The following examples use GitLab 16.0, but make sure to use the version that corresponds to your GitLab instance.

Self-host the product documentation with Docker

The documentation website is served under the port 4000 inside the container. In the following example, we expose this on the host under the same port.

Make sure you either:

  • Allow port 4000 in your firewall.
  • Use a different port. In following examples, replace the leftmost 4000 with a different port number.

To run the GitLab product documentation website in a Docker container:

  1. On the server where you host GitLab, or on any other server that your GitLab instance can communicate with:

    • If you use plain Docker, run:

      docker run --detach --name gitlab_docs -it --rm -p 4000:4000
    • If you host your GitLab instance using Docker compose, add the following to your existing docker-compose.yaml:

      version: '3.6'
          hostname: ''
            - '4000:4000'

      Then, pull the changes:

      docker-compose up -d
  2. Visit to view the documentation website and verify that it works.
  3. Redirect the help links to the new documentation site.

Self-host the product documentation with GitLab Pages

You can use GitLab Pages to host the GitLab product documentation.


  • Ensure the Pages site URL does not use a subfolder. Because of the way the site is pre-compiled, the CSS and JavaScript files are relative to the main domain or subdomain. For example, URLs like are not supported.

To host the product documentation site with GitLab Pages:

  1. Create a blank project.
  2. Create a new or edit your existing .gitlab-ci.yml file, and add the following pages job, while ensuring the version is the same as your GitLab installation:

        - mkdir public
        - cp -a /usr/share/nginx/html/* public/
        - public
  3. Optional. Set the GitLab Pages domain name. Depending on the type of the GitLab Pages website, you have two options:

    Type of website Default domain Custom domain
    Project website Not supported Supported
    User or group website Supported Supported
  4. Redirect the help links to the new documentation site.

Self-host the product documentation on your own web server

The website you create must be hosted under a subdirectory that matches your installed GitLab version (for example, 16.0/). The Docker images use this version by default.

Because the product documentation site is static, you can take the contents of /usr/share/nginx/html from inside the container, and use your own web server to host the documentation wherever you want.

The html directory should be served as is and it has the following structure:

├── 16.0/
├── index.html

In this example:

  • 16.0/ is the directory where the documentation is hosted.
  • index.html is a simple HTML file that redirects to the directory containing the documentation. In this case, 16.0/.

To extract the HTML files of the documentation site:

  1. Create the container that holds the HTML files of the documentation website:

    docker create -it --name gitlab_docs
  2. Copy the website under /srv/gitlab/:

    docker cp gitlab-docs:/usr/share/nginx/html /srv/gitlab/

    You end up with a /srv/gitlab/html/ directory that holds the documentation website.

  3. Remove the container:

    docker rm -f gitlab_docs
  4. Point your web server to serve the contents of /srv/gitlab/html/.
  5. Redirect the help links to the new documentation site.

After your local product documentation site is running, redirect the help links in the GitLab application to your local site, by using the fully qualified domain name as the documentation URL. For example, if you used the Docker method, enter

You don’t need to append the version. GitLab detects it and appends it to documentation URL requests as needed. For example, if your GitLab version is 16.0:

  • The GitLab documentation URL becomes
  • The link in GitLab displays as <instance_url>/help/administration/settings/help_page#destination-requirements.
  • When you select the link, you are redirected to

To test the setting, in GitLab, select a Learn more link. For example:

  1. On the left sidebar, select your avatar.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. In the Syntax highlighting theme section, select Learn more.

Upgrade the product documentation to a later version

Upgrading the documentation site to a later version requires downloading the newer Docker image tag.

Upgrade using Docker

To upgrade to a later version using Docker:

  • If you use Docker:

    1. Stop the running container:

      sudo docker stop gitlab_docs
    2. Remove the existing container:

      sudo docker rm gitlab_docs
    3. Pull the new image. For example, 16.0:

      docker run --detach --name gitlab_docs -it --rm -p 4000:4000
  • If you use Docker Compose:

    1. Change the version in docker-compose.yaml, for example 16.0:

      version: '3.6'
          hostname: ''
            - '4000:4000'
    2. Pull the changes:

      docker-compose up -d

Upgrade using GitLab Pages

To upgrade to a later version using GitLab Pages:

  1. Edit your existing .gitlab-ci.yml file, and replace the image version number:

  2. Commit the changes, push, and GitLab Pages pulls the new documentation site version.

Upgrade using your own web-server

To upgrade to a later version using your own web-server:

  1. Copy the HTML files of the documentation site:

    docker create -it --name gitlab_docs
    docker cp gitlab_docs:/usr/share/nginx/html /srv/gitlab/
    docker rm -f gitlab_docs
  2. Optional. Remove the old site:

    rm -r /srv/gitlab/html/16.0/


Search does not work

Local search is included in versions 15.6 and later. If you’re using an earlier version, the search doesn’t work.

Those images are pushed to a separate repository in the container registry.

If you want to have a local search, make sure you use the Docker image the contains archives in its name, for example:

For more information, read about the different types of searches GitLab Docs are using.

The Docker image is not found

If you’re using version 15.5 and earlier, you should drop /archives from the Docker image name.

For example: