GitLab Git Large File Storage (LFS) Administration

Documentation about how to use Git LFS are under Managing large binary files with Git LFS doc.

LFS is enabled in GitLab self-managed instances by default.



Git LFS objects can be large in size. By default, they are stored on the server GitLab is installed on.

There are various configuration options to help GitLab server administrators:

  • Enabling/disabling Git LFS support.
  • Changing the location of LFS object storage.
  • Setting up object storage supported by Fog.

Configuration for Omnibus installations

In /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

# Change to true to enable lfs - enabled by default if not defined
gitlab_rails['lfs_enabled'] = false

# Optionally, change the storage path location. Defaults to
# `#{gitlab_rails['shared_path']}/lfs-objects`. Which evaluates to
# `/var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/lfs-objects` by default.
gitlab_rails['lfs_storage_path'] = "/mnt/storage/lfs-objects"

After you update settings in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb, run Omnibus GitLab reconfigure.

Configuration for installations from source

In config/gitlab.yml:

# Change to true to enable lfs
    enabled: false
    storage_path: /mnt/storage/lfs-objects

Storing LFS objects in remote object storage

You can store LFS objects in remote object storage. This allows you to reduce reads and writes to the local disk, and free up disk space significantly. GitLab is tightly integrated with Fog, so you can refer to its documentation to check which storage services can be integrated with GitLab. You can also use external object storage in a private local network. For example, MinIO is a standalone object storage service that works with GitLab instances.

GitLab provides two different options for the uploading mechanism: “Direct upload” and “Background upload”.

Read more about using object storage with GitLab.

In GitLab 13.2 and later, we recommend using the consolidated object storage settings. This section describes the earlier configuration format.

Option 1. Direct upload

  1. User pushes an lfs file to the GitLab instance.
  2. GitLab-workhorse uploads the file directly to the external object storage.
  3. GitLab-workhorse notifies GitLab-rails that the upload process is complete.

Option 2. Background upload

  1. User pushes an lfs file to the GitLab instance.
  2. GitLab-rails stores the file in the local file storage.
  3. GitLab-rails then uploads the file to the external object storage asynchronously.

The following general settings are supported.

enabledEnable/disable object storage.false
remote_directoryThe bucket name where LFS objects are stored. 
proxy_downloadSet to true to enable proxying all files served. Option allows to reduce egress traffic as this allows clients to download directly from remote storage instead of proxying all data.false
connectionVarious connection options described below. 

See the available connection settings for different providers.

Here is a configuration example with S3.

S3 for Omnibus installations

On Omnibus GitLab installations, the settings are prefixed by lfs_object_store_:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb and add the following lines, replacing values based on your needs:

    gitlab_rails['lfs_object_store_enabled'] = true
    gitlab_rails['lfs_object_store_remote_directory'] = "lfs-objects"
    gitlab_rails['lfs_object_store_connection'] = {
      'provider' => 'AWS',
      'region' => 'eu-central-1',
      'aws_access_key_id' => '1ABCD2EFGHI34JKLM567N',
      'aws_secret_access_key' => 'abcdefhijklmnopQRSTUVwxyz0123456789ABCDE',
      # The below options configure an S3 compatible host instead of AWS
      'host' => 'localhost',
      'endpoint' => '',
      'path_style' => true
  2. Save the file, and then reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.
  3. Migrate any existing local LFS objects to the object storage. New LFS objects are forwarded to object storage unless gitlab_rails['lfs_object_store_background_upload'] and gitlab_rails['lfs_object_store_direct_upload'] is set to false.

S3 for installations from source

For source installations the settings are nested under lfs: and then object_store::

  1. Edit /home/git/gitlab/config/gitlab.yml and add or amend the following lines:

    enabled: true
      enabled: false
      remote_directory: lfs-objects # Bucket name
        provider: AWS
        aws_access_key_id: 1ABCD2EFGHI34JKLM567N
        aws_secret_access_key: abcdefhijklmnopQRSTUVwxyz0123456789ABCDE
        region: eu-central-1
        # Use the following options to configure an AWS compatible host such as Minio
        host: 'localhost'
        endpoint: ''
        path_style: true
  2. Save the file, and then restart GitLab for the changes to take effect.
  3. Migrate any existing local LFS objects to the object storage. New LFS objects are forwarded to object storage unless background_upload and direct_upload is set to false.

Migrating to object storage

Option 1: Rake task

After configuring the object storage, use the following task to migrate existing LFS objects from the local storage to the remote storage. The processing is done in a background worker and requires no downtime.

For Omnibus GitLab:

sudo gitlab-rake "gitlab:lfs:migrate"

For installations from source:

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

You can optionally track progress and verify that all packages migrated successfully using the PostgreSQL console:

  • sudo gitlab-rails dbconsole for Omnibus GitLab instances.
  • sudo -u git -H psql -d gitlabhq_production for source-installed instances.

Verify objectstg below (where store=2) has count of all LFS objects:

gitlabhq_production=# SELECT count(*) AS total, sum(case when file_store = '1' then 1 else 0 end) AS filesystem, sum(case when file_store = '2' then 1 else 0 end) AS objectstg FROM lfs_objects;

Example Output

total | filesystem | objectstg
 2409 |          0 |      2409

Verify that there are no files on disk in the objects folder:

sudo find /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/lfs-objects -type f | grep -v tmp | wc -l

Option 2: Rails console

Log into the Rails console:

sudo gitlab-rails console

Upload LFS files manually

LfsObject.where(file_store: [nil, 1]).find_each do |lfs_object|
  lfs_object.file.migrate!(ObjectStorage::Store::REMOTE) if lfs_object.file.file.exists?

Migrating back to local storage

To migrate back to local storage:

  1. Set both direct_upload and background_upload to false under the LFS object storage settings. Don’t forget to restart GitLab.
  2. Run rake gitlab:lfs:migrate_to_local on your console.
  3. Disable object_storage for LFS objects in gitlab.rb. Remember to restart GitLab afterwards.

Storage statistics

You can see the total storage used for LFS objects on groups and projects:


Missing LFS objects

An error about a missing LFS object may occur in either of these situations:

  • When migrating LFS objects from disk to object storage, with error messages like:

    ERROR -- : Failed to transfer LFS object
    with error: No such file or directory @ rb_sysopen -

    (Line breaks have been added for legibility.)

  • When running the integrity check for LFS objects with the VERBOSE=1 parameter.

The database can have records for LFS objects which are not on disk. The database entry may prevent a new copy of the object from being pushed. To delete these references:

  1. Start a rails console.
  2. Query the object that’s reported as missing in the rails console, to return a file path:

    lfs_object = LfsObject.find_by(oid: '006622269c61b41bf14a22bbe0e43be3acf86a4a446afb4250c3794ea47541a7')
  3. Check on disk or object storage if it exists:

    ls -al /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/lfs-objects/00/66/22269c61b41bf14a22bbe0e43be3acf86a4a446afb4250c3794ea47541a7
  4. If the file is not present, remove the database record via the rails console:


Google::Apis::TransmissionError: execution expired

If LFS integration is configured with Google Cloud Storage and background uploads (background_upload: true and direct_upload: false), Sidekiq workers may encounter this error. This is because the uploading timed out with very large files. LFS files up to 6 GB can be uploaded without any extra steps, otherwise you need to use the following workaround.

Sign in to Rails console:

sudo gitlab-rails console

Set up timeouts:

  • These settings are only in effect for the same session. For example, they are not effective for Sidekiq workers.
  • 20 minutes (1200 sec) is enough to upload 30GB LFS files:
::Google::Apis::ClientOptions.default.open_timeout_sec = 1200
::Google::Apis::ClientOptions.default.read_timeout_sec = 1200
::Google::Apis::ClientOptions.default.send_timeout_sec = 1200

Upload LFS files manually (this process does not use Sidekiq at all):

LfsObject.where(file_store: [nil, 1]).find_each do |lfs_object|
  lfs_object.file.migrate!(ObjectStorage::Store::REMOTE) if lfs_object.file.file.exists?

See more information in !19581

LFS commands fail on TLS v1.3 server

If you configure GitLab to disable TLS v1.2 and only enable TLS v1.3 connections, LFS operations require a Git LFS client version 2.11.0 or later. If you use a Git LFS client earlier than version 2.11.0, GitLab displays an error:

batch response: Post https://username:*** remote error: tls: protocol version not supported
error: failed to fetch some objects from 'https://username:[MASKED]'

When using GitLab CI over a TLS v1.3 configured GitLab server, you must upgrade to GitLab Runner 13.2.0 or later to receive an updated Git LFS client version via the included GitLab Runner Helper image.

To check an installed Git LFS client’s version, run this command:

git lfs version

Known limitations

  • Only compatible with the Git LFS client versions 1.1.0 and later, or 1.0.2.
  • The storage statistics count each LFS object for every project linking to it.