GitLab Pages administration

GitLab Pages allows for hosting of static sites. It must be configured by an administrator. Separate user documentation is available.

note
This guide is for Omnibus GitLab installations. If you have installed GitLab from source, see GitLab Pages administration for source installations.

Overview

GitLab Pages makes use of the GitLab Pages daemon, a basic HTTP server written in Go that can listen on an external IP address and provide support for custom domains and custom certificates. It supports dynamic certificates through Server Name Indication (SNI) and exposes pages using HTTP2 by default. You are encouraged to read its README to fully understand how it works.

In the case of custom domains (but not wildcard domains), the Pages daemon needs to listen on ports 80 and/or 443. For that reason, there is some flexibility in the way which you can set it up:

  • Run the Pages daemon in the same server as GitLab, listening on a secondary IP.
  • Run the Pages daemon in a separate server. In that case, the Pages path must also be present in the server that the Pages daemon is installed, so you must share it through the network.
  • Run the Pages daemon in the same server as GitLab, listening on the same IP but on different ports. In that case, you must proxy the traffic with a load balancer. If you choose that route, you should use TCP load balancing for HTTPS. If you use TLS-termination (HTTPS-load balancing), the pages can’t be served with user-provided certificates. For HTTP it’s OK to use HTTP or TCP load balancing.

In this document, we proceed assuming the first option. If you are not supporting custom domains a secondary IP is not needed.

Prerequisites

Before proceeding with the Pages configuration, you must:

  1. Have a domain for Pages that is not a subdomain of your GitLab instance domain.

    GitLab domain Pages domain Does it work?
    example.com example.io Yes
    example.com pages.example.com No
    gitlab.example.com pages.example.com Yes
  2. Configure a wildcard DNS record.
  3. Optional. Have a wildcard certificate for that domain if you decide to serve Pages under HTTPS.
  4. Optional but recommended. Enable Shared runners so that your users don’t have to bring their own.
  5. For custom domains, have a secondary IP.
note
If your GitLab instance and the Pages daemon are deployed in a private network or behind a firewall, your GitLab Pages websites are only accessible to devices/users that have access to the private network.

Add the domain to the Public Suffix List

The Public Suffix List is used by browsers to decide how to treat subdomains. If your GitLab instance allows members of the public to create GitLab Pages sites, it also allows those users to create subdomains on the pages domain (example.io). Adding the domain to the Public Suffix List prevents browsers from accepting supercookies, among other things.

Follow these instructions to submit your GitLab Pages subdomain. For instance, if your domain is example.io, you should request that example.io is added to the Public Suffix List. GitLab.com added gitlab.io in 2016.

DNS configuration

GitLab Pages expect to run on their own virtual host. In your DNS server/provider add a wildcard DNS A record pointing to the host that GitLab runs. For example, an entry would look like this:

*.example.io. 1800 IN A    192.0.2.1
*.example.io. 1800 IN AAAA 2001:db8::1

Where example.io is the domain GitLab Pages is served from, 192.0.2.1 is the IPv4 address of your GitLab instance, and 2001:db8::1 is the IPv6 address. If you don’t have IPv6, you can omit the AAAA record.

DNS configuration for custom domains

If support for custom domains is needed, the Pages root domain and its subdomains should point to the secondary IP (which is dedicated for the Pages daemon). <namespace>.<pages root domain> should point at Pages directly. Without this, users aren’t able to use CNAME records to point their custom domains to their GitLab Pages.

For example, an entry could look like this:

example.com   1800 IN A    192.0.2.1
*.example.io. 1800 IN A    192.0.2.2

This example contains the following:

  • example.com: The GitLab domain.
  • example.io: The domain GitLab Pages is served from.
  • 192.0.2.1: The primary IP of your GitLab instance.
  • 192.0.2.2: The secondary IP, which is dedicated to GitLab Pages. It must be different than the primary IP.
note
You should not use the GitLab domain to serve user pages. For more information see the security section.

Configuration

Depending on your needs, you can set up GitLab Pages in 4 different ways.

The following examples are listed from the easiest setup to the most advanced one. The absolute minimum requirement is to set up the wildcard DNS because that is needed in all configurations.

Wildcard domains

Requirements:


URL scheme: http://<namespace>.example.io/<project_slug>

The following is the minimum setup that you can use Pages with. It is the base for all other setups as described below. NGINX proxies all requests to the daemon. The Pages daemon doesn’t listen to the outside world.

  1. Set the external URL for GitLab Pages in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    pages_external_url 'http://example.io'
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Watch the video tutorial for this configuration.

Wildcard domains with TLS support

Requirements:


URL scheme: https://<namespace>.example.io/<project_slug>

NGINX proxies all requests to the daemon. Pages daemon doesn’t listen to the outside world.

  1. Place the example.io certificate and key inside /etc/gitlab/ssl.
  2. In /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb specify the following configuration:

    pages_external_url 'https://example.io'
    
    pages_nginx['redirect_http_to_https'] = true
    
  3. If you haven’t named your certificate and key example.io.crt and example.io.key, you must also add the full paths as shown below:

    pages_nginx['ssl_certificate'] = "/etc/gitlab/ssl/pages-nginx.crt"
    pages_nginx['ssl_certificate_key'] = "/etc/gitlab/ssl/pages-nginx.key"
    
  4. Reconfigure GitLab.
  5. If you’re using Pages Access Control, update the redirect URI in the GitLab Pages System OAuth application to use the HTTPS protocol.
caution
Multiple wildcards for one instance is not supported. Only one wildcard per instance can be assigned.

Global settings

Below is a table of all configuration settings known to Pages in Omnibus GitLab, and what they do. These options can be adjusted in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb, and take effect after you reconfigure GitLab. Most of these settings don’t have to be configured manually unless you need more granular control over how the Pages daemon runs and serves content in your environment.

Setting Description
pages_external_url The URL where GitLab Pages is accessible, including protocol (HTTP / HTTPS). If https:// is used, additional configuration is required. See Wildcard domains with TLS support and Custom domains with TLS support for details.
gitlab_pages[]  
access_control Whether to enable access control.
api_secret_key Full path to file with secret key used to authenticate with the GitLab API. Auto-generated when left unset.
artifacts_server Enable viewing artifacts in GitLab Pages.
artifacts_server_timeout Timeout (in seconds) for a proxied request to the artifacts server.
artifacts_server_url API URL to proxy artifact requests to. Defaults to GitLab external URL + /api/v4, for example https://gitlab.com/api/v4. When running a separate Pages server, this URL must point to the main GitLab server’s API.
auth_redirect_uri Callback URL for authenticating with GitLab. Defaults to project’s subdomain of pages_external_url + /auth.
auth_secret Secret key for signing authentication requests. Leave blank to pull automatically from GitLab during OAuth registration.
dir Working directory for configuration and secrets files.
enable Enable or disable GitLab Pages on the current system.
external_http Configure Pages to bind to one or more secondary IP addresses, serving HTTP requests. Multiple addresses can be given as an array, along with exact ports, for example ['1.2.3.4', '1.2.3.5:8063']. Sets value for listen_http.
external_https Configure Pages to bind to one or more secondary IP addresses, serving HTTPS requests. Multiple addresses can be given as an array, along with exact ports, for example ['1.2.3.4', '1.2.3.5:8063']. Sets value for listen_https.
gitlab_client_http_timeout GitLab API HTTP client connection timeout in seconds (default: 10s).
gitlab_client_jwt_expiry JWT Token expiry time in seconds (default: 30s).
gitlab_cache_expiry The maximum time a domain’s configuration is stored in the cache (default: 600s).
gitlab_cache_refresh The interval at which a domain’s configuration is set to be due to refresh (default: 60s).
gitlab_cache_cleanup The interval at which expired items are removed from the cache (default: 60s).
gitlab_retrieval_timeout The maximum time to wait for a response from the GitLab API per request (default: 30s).
gitlab_retrieval_interval The interval to wait before retrying to resolve a domain’s configuration via the GitLab API (default: 1s).
gitlab_retrieval_retries The maximum number of times to retry to resolve a domain’s configuration via the API (default: 3).
domain_config_source This parameter was removed in 14.0, on earlier versions it can be used to enable and test API domain configuration source
gitlab_id The OAuth application public ID. Leave blank to automatically fill when Pages authenticates with GitLab.
gitlab_secret The OAuth application secret. Leave blank to automatically fill when Pages authenticates with GitLab.
auth_scope The OAuth application scope to use for authentication. Must match GitLab Pages OAuth application settings. Leave blank to use api scope by default.
gitlab_server Server to use for authentication when access control is enabled; defaults to GitLab external_url.
headers Specify any additional http headers that should be sent to the client with each response. Multiple headers can be given as an array, header and value as one string, for example ['my-header: myvalue', 'my-other-header: my-other-value']
inplace_chroot REMOVED in GitLab 14.3. On systems that don’t support bind-mounts, this instructs GitLab Pages to chroot into its pages_path directory. Some caveats exist when using in-place chroot; refer to the GitLab Pages README for more information.
enable_disk Allows the GitLab Pages daemon to serve content from disk. Shall be disabled if shared disk storage isn’t available.
insecure_ciphers Use default list of cipher suites, may contain insecure ones like 3DES and RC4.
internal_gitlab_server Internal GitLab server address used exclusively for API requests. Useful if you want to send that traffic over an internal load balancer. Defaults to GitLab external_url.
listen_proxy The addresses to listen on for reverse-proxy requests. Pages binds to these addresses’ network sockets and receives incoming requests from them. Sets the value of proxy_pass in $nginx-dir/conf/gitlab-pages.conf.
log_directory Absolute path to a log directory.
log_format The log output format: text or json.
log_verbose Verbose logging, true/false.
propagate_correlation_id Set to true (false by default) to re-use existing Correlation ID from the incoming request header X-Request-ID if present. If a reverse proxy sets this header, the value is propagated in the request chain.
max_connections Limit on the number of concurrent connections to the HTTP, HTTPS or proxy listeners.
max_uri_length The maximum length of URIs accepted by GitLab Pages. Set to 0 for unlimited length. Introduced in GitLab 14.5.
metrics_address The address to listen on for metrics requests.
redirect_http Redirect pages from HTTP to HTTPS, true/false.
sentry_dsn The address for sending Sentry crash reporting to.
sentry_enabled Enable reporting and logging with Sentry, true/false.
sentry_environment The environment for Sentry crash reporting.
status_uri The URL path for a status page, for example, /@status.
tls_max_version Specifies the maximum TLS version (“tls1.2” or “tls1.3”).
tls_min_version Specifies the minimum TLS version (“tls1.2” or “tls1.3”).
use_http2 Enable HTTP2 support.
gitlab_pages['env'][]  
http_proxy Configure GitLab Pages to use an HTTP Proxy to mediate traffic between Pages and GitLab. Sets an environment variable http_proxy when starting Pages daemon.
gitlab_rails[]  
pages_domain_verification_cron_worker Schedule for verifying custom GitLab Pages domains.
pages_domain_ssl_renewal_cron_worker Schedule for obtaining and renewing SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt for GitLab Pages domains.
pages_domain_removal_cron_worker Schedule for removing unverified custom GitLab Pages domains.
pages_path The directory on disk where pages are stored, defaults to GITLAB-RAILS/shared/pages.
pages_nginx[]  
enable Include a virtual host server{} block for Pages inside NGINX. Needed for NGINX to proxy traffic back to the Pages daemon. Set to false if the Pages daemon should directly receive all requests, for example, when using custom domains.
FF_ENABLE_REDIRECTS Feature flag to enable/disable redirects (enabled by default). Read the redirects documentation for more information.
FF_ENABLE_PLACEHOLDERS Feature flag to enable/disable rewrites (disabled by default). Read the redirects documentation for more information.
use_legacy_storage Temporarily-introduced parameter allowing to use legacy domain configuration source and storage. Removed in 14.3.
rate_limit_source_ip Rate limit per source IP in number of requests per second. Set to 0 to disable this feature.
rate_limit_source_ip_burst Rate limit per source IP maximum burst allowed per second.

Advanced configuration

In addition to the wildcard domains, you can also have the option to configure GitLab Pages to work with custom domains. Again, there are two options here: support custom domains with and without TLS certificates. The easiest setup is that without TLS certificates. In either case, you need a secondary IP. If you have IPv6 as well as IPv4 addresses, you can use them both.

Custom domains

Requirements:


URL scheme: http://<namespace>.example.io/<project_slug> and http://custom-domain.com

In that case, the Pages daemon is running, NGINX still proxies requests to the daemon but the daemon is also able to receive requests from the outside world. Custom domains are supported, but no TLS.

  1. In /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb specify the following configuration:

    pages_external_url "http://example.io"
    nginx['listen_addresses'] = ['192.0.2.1'] # The primary IP of the GitLab instance
    pages_nginx['enable'] = false
    gitlab_pages['external_http'] = ['192.0.2.2:80', '[2001:db8::2]:80'] # The secondary IPs for the GitLab Pages daemon
    

    If you don’t have IPv6, you can omit the IPv6 address.

  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Custom domains with TLS support

Requirements:


URL scheme: https://<namespace>.example.io/<project_slug> and https://custom-domain.com

In that case, the Pages daemon is running, NGINX still proxies requests to the daemon but the daemon is also able to receive requests from the outside world. Custom domains and TLS are supported.

  1. Place the example.io certificate and key inside /etc/gitlab/ssl.
  2. In /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb specify the following configuration:

    pages_external_url "https://example.io"
    nginx['listen_addresses'] = ['192.0.2.1'] # The primary IP of the GitLab instance
    pages_nginx['enable'] = false
    gitlab_pages['external_http'] = ['192.0.2.2:80', '[2001:db8::2]:80'] # The secondary IPs for the GitLab Pages daemon
    gitlab_pages['external_https'] = ['192.0.2.2:443', '[2001:db8::2]:443'] # The secondary IPs for the GitLab Pages daemon
    # Redirect pages from HTTP to HTTPS
    gitlab_pages['redirect_http'] = true
    

    If you don’t have IPv6, you can omit the IPv6 address.

  3. If you haven’t named your certificate and key example.io.crt and example.io.key respectively, then you need to also add the full paths as shown below:

    gitlab_pages['cert'] = "/etc/gitlab/ssl/example.io.crt"
    gitlab_pages['cert_key'] = "/etc/gitlab/ssl/example.io.key"
    
  4. Reconfigure GitLab.
  5. If you’re using Pages Access Control, update the redirect URI in the GitLab Pages System OAuth application to use the HTTPS protocol.

Custom domain verification

To prevent malicious users from hijacking domains that don’t belong to them, GitLab supports custom domain verification. When adding a custom domain, users are required to prove they own it by adding a GitLab-controlled verification code to the DNS records for that domain.

If your user base is private or otherwise trusted, you can disable the verification requirement:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Preferences.
  3. Expand Pages.
  4. Clear the Require users to prove ownership of custom domains checkbox. This setting is enabled by default.

Let’s Encrypt integration

Introduced in GitLab 12.1.

GitLab Pages’ Let’s Encrypt integration allows users to add Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for GitLab Pages sites served under a custom domain.

To enable it:

  1. Choose an email address on which you want to receive notifications about expiring domains.
  2. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  3. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Preferences.
  4. Expand Pages.
  5. Enter the email address for receiving notifications and accept Let’s Encrypt’s Terms of Service.
  6. Select Save changes.

Access control

GitLab Pages access control can be configured per-project, and allows access to a Pages site to be controlled based on a user’s membership to that project.

Access control works by registering the Pages daemon as an OAuth application with GitLab. Whenever a request to access a private Pages site is made by an unauthenticated user, the Pages daemon redirects the user to GitLab. If authentication is successful, the user is redirected back to Pages with a token, which is persisted in a cookie. The cookies are signed with a secret key, so tampering can be detected.

Each request to view a resource in a private site is authenticated by Pages using that token. For each request it receives, it makes a request to the GitLab API to check that the user is authorized to read that site.

Pages access control is disabled by default. To enable it:

  1. Enable it in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['access_control'] = true
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.
  3. Users can now configure it in their projects’ settings.
note
For this setting to be effective with multi-node setups, it has to be applied to all the App nodes and Sidekiq nodes.

Using Pages with reduced authentication scope

Introduced in GitLab 13.10.

By default, the Pages daemon uses the api scope to authenticate. You can configure this. For example, this reduces the scope to read_api in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

gitlab_pages['auth_scope'] = 'read_api'

The scope to use for authentication must match the GitLab Pages OAuth application settings. Users of pre-existing applications must modify the GitLab Pages OAuth application. Follow these steps to do this:

  1. Enable access control.
  2. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  3. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Applications.
  4. Expand GitLab Pages.
  5. Clear the api scope’s checkbox and select the desired scope’s checkbox (for example, read_api).
  6. Select Save changes.

Disable public access to all Pages sites

Introduced in GitLab 12.7.

You can enforce Access Control for all GitLab Pages websites hosted on your GitLab instance. By doing so, only logged-in users have access to them. This setting overrides Access Control set by users in individual projects.

This can be helpful to restrict information published with Pages websites to the users of your instance only. To do that:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Preferences.
  3. Expand Pages.
  4. Select the Disable public access to Pages sites checkbox.
  5. Select Save changes.
caution
For self-managed installations, all public websites remain private until they are redeployed. Resolve this issue by sourcing domain configuration from the GitLab API.

Running behind a proxy

Like the rest of GitLab, Pages can be used in those environments where external internet connectivity is gated by a proxy. To use a proxy for GitLab Pages:

  1. Configure in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['env']['http_proxy'] = 'http://example:8080'
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

Using a custom Certificate Authority (CA)

When using certificates issued by a custom CA, Access Control and the online view of HTML job artifacts fails to work if the custom CA is not recognized.

This usually results in this error: Post /oauth/token: x509: certificate signed by unknown authority.

For installation from source, this can be fixed by installing the custom Certificate Authority (CA) in the system certificate store.

For Omnibus, this is fixed by installing a custom CA in Omnibus GitLab.

ZIP serving and cache configuration

Introduced in GitLab 13.7.

caution
These instructions deal with some advanced settings of your GitLab instance. The recommended default values are set inside GitLab Pages. You should change these settings only if absolutely necessary. Use extreme caution.

GitLab Pages can serve content from ZIP archives through object storage (an issue exists for supporting disk storage as well). It uses an in-memory cache to increase the performance when serving content from a ZIP archive. You can modify the cache behavior by changing the following configuration flags.

Setting Description
zip_cache_expiration The cache expiration interval of ZIP archives. Must be greater than zero to avoid serving stale content. Default is 60s.
zip_cache_cleanup The interval at which archives are cleaned from memory if they have already expired. Default is 30s.
zip_cache_refresh The time interval in which an archive is extended in memory if accessed before zip_cache_expiration. This works together with zip_cache_expiration to determine if an archive is extended in memory. See the example below for important details. Default is 30s.
zip_open_timeout The maximum time allowed to open a ZIP archive. Increase this time for big archives or slow network connections, as doing so may affect the latency of serving Pages. Default is 30s.

ZIP cache refresh example

Archives are refreshed in the cache (extending the time they are held in memory) if they’re accessed before zip_cache_expiration, and the time left before expiring is less than or equal to zip_cache_refresh. For example, if archive.zip is accessed at time 0s, it expires in 60s (the default for zip_cache_expiration). In the example below, if the archive is opened again after 15s it is not refreshed because the time left for expiry (45s) is greater than zip_cache_refresh (default 30s). However, if the archive is accessed again after 45s (from the first time it was opened) it’s refreshed. This extends the time the archive remains in memory from 45s + zip_cache_expiration (60s), for a total of 105s.

After an archive reaches zip_cache_expiration, it’s marked as expired and removed on the next zip_cache_cleanup interval.

ZIP cache configuration

Activate verbose logging for daemon

Follow the steps below to configure verbose logging of GitLab Pages daemon.

  1. By default the daemon only logs with INFO level. If you wish to make it log events with level DEBUG you must configure this in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['log_verbose'] = true
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Propagating the correlation ID

Introduced in GitLab 13.10.

Setting the propagate_correlation_id to true allows installations behind a reverse proxy to generate and set a correlation ID to requests sent to GitLab Pages. When a reverse proxy sets the header value X-Request-ID, the value propagates in the request chain. Users can find the correlation ID in the logs.

To enable the propagation of the correlation ID:

  1. Set the parameter to true in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['propagate_correlation_id'] = true
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Change storage path

Follow the steps below to change the default path where GitLab Pages’ contents are stored.

  1. Pages are stored by default in /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages. If you wish to store them in another location you must set it up in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_rails['pages_path'] = "/mnt/storage/pages"
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Alternatively, if you have existing Pages deployed you can follow the below steps to do a no downtime transfer to a new storage location.

  1. Pause Pages deployments by setting the following in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    sidekiq['queue_selector'] = true
    sidekiq['queue_groups'] = [
      "feature_category!=pages"
    ]
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.
  3. rsync contents from the current storage location to the new storage location: sudo rsync -avzh --progress /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/ /mnt/storage/pages
  4. Set the new storage location in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_rails['pages_path'] = "/mnt/storage/pages"
    
  5. Reconfigure GitLab.
  6. Verify Pages are still being served up as expected.
  7. Resume Pages deployments by removing from /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb the sidekiq setting set above.
  8. Reconfigure GitLab.
  9. Trigger a new Pages deployment and verify it’s working as expected.
  10. Remove the old Pages storage location: sudo rm -rf /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages
  11. Verify Pages are still being served up as expected.

Configure listener for reverse proxy requests

Follow the steps below to configure the proxy listener of GitLab Pages.

  1. By default the listener is configured to listen for requests on localhost:8090.

    If you wish to disable it you must configure this in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['listen_proxy'] = nil
    

    If you wish to make it listen on a different port you must configure this also in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['listen_proxy'] = "localhost:10080"
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Set global maximum pages size per project

To set the global maximum pages size for a project:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Preferences.
  3. Expand Pages.
  4. Edit the Maximum size of pages.
  5. Select Save changes.

Override maximum pages size per project or group

Introduced in GitLab 12.7.

note
Only GitLab administrators are able to view and override the Maximum size of Pages setting.

To override the global maximum pages size for a specific project:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Projects and find your project.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Pages.
  3. Enter a value under Maximum size of pages in MB.
  4. Select Save changes.

To override the global maximum pages size for a specific group:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > General.
  3. Expand Pages.
  4. Enter a value under Maximum size of pages in MB.
  5. Select Save changes.

Running GitLab Pages on a separate server

You can run the GitLab Pages daemon on a separate server to decrease the load on your main application server. This configuration does not support mutual TLS (mTLS). See the corresponding feature proposal for more information.

To configure GitLab Pages on a separate server:

caution
The following procedure includes steps to back up and edit the gitlab-secrets.json file. This file contains secrets that control database encryption. Proceed with caution.
  1. Create a backup of the secrets file on the GitLab server:

    cp /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json.bak
    
  2. On the GitLab server, to enable Pages, add the following to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    pages_external_url "http://<pages_server_URL>"
    
  3. Optionally, to enable access control, add the following to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['access_control'] = true
    
  4. Configure the object storage and migrate pages data to it.

  5. Reconfigure the GitLab server for the changes to take effect. The gitlab-secrets.json file is now updated with the new configuration.

  6. Set up a new server. This becomes the Pages server.

  7. On the Pages server, install Omnibus GitLab and modify /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb to include:

    roles ['pages_role']
    
    pages_external_url "http://<pages_server_URL>"
    
    gitlab_pages['gitlab_server'] = 'http://<gitlab_server_IP_or_URL>'
    
  8. If you have custom UID/GID settings on the GitLab server, add them to the Pages server /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb as well, otherwise running a gitlab-ctl reconfigure on the GitLab server can change file ownership and cause Pages requests to fail.

  9. Create a backup of the secrets file on the Pages server:

    cp /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json.bak
    
  10. Copy the /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json file from the GitLab server to the Pages server.

    # On the GitLab server
    cp /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json /mnt/pages/gitlab-secrets.json
    
    # On the Pages server
    mv /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/gitlab-secrets.json /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json
    
  11. Reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

  12. On the GitLab server, make the following changes to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    pages_external_url "http://<pages_server_URL>"
    gitlab_pages['enable'] = false
    pages_nginx['enable'] = false
    
  13. Reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

It’s possible to run GitLab Pages on multiple servers if you wish to distribute the load. You can do this through standard load balancing practices such as configuring your DNS server to return multiple IPs for your Pages server, configuring a load balancer to work at the IP level, and so on. If you wish to set up GitLab Pages on multiple servers, perform the above procedure for each Pages server.

Domain source configuration

When GitLab Pages daemon serves pages requests it firstly needs to identify which project should be used to serve the requested URL and how its content is stored.

Before GitLab 13.3, all pages content was extracted to the special shared directory, and each project had a special configuration file. The Pages daemon was reading these configuration files and storing their content in memory.

This approach had several disadvantages and was replaced with GitLab Pages using the internal GitLab API every time a new domain is requested. The domain information is also cached by the Pages daemon to speed up subsequent requests.

From GitLab 13.3 to GitLab 13.12 GitLab Pages supported both ways of obtaining domain information.

Starting from GitLab 14.0 GitLab Pages uses API by default and fails to start if it can’t connect to it. For common issues, see the troubleshooting section.

For more details see this blog post.

Domain source configuration before 14.0

Introduced in GitLab 13.3.

caution
domain_config_source parameter is removed and has no effect starting from GitLab 14.0

From GitLab 13.3 to GitLab 13.12 GitLab Pages can either use disk or gitlab domain configuration source.

We highly advise you to use gitlab configuration source as it makes transitions to newer versions easier.

To explicitly enable API source:

  1. Add the following to your /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb file:

    gitlab_pages['domain_config_source'] = "gitlab"
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

Or if you want to use legacy configuration source you can:

  1. Add the following to your /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb file:

    gitlab_pages['domain_config_source'] = "disk"
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

GitLab API cache configuration

Introduced in GitLab 13.10.

API-based configuration uses a caching mechanism to improve performance and reliability of serving Pages. The cache behavior can be modified by changing the cache settings, however, the recommended values are set for you and should only be modified if needed. Incorrect configuration of these values may result in intermittent or persistent errors, or the Pages Daemon serving old content.

note
Expiry, interval and timeout flags use Golang’s duration formatting. A duration string is a possibly signed sequence of decimal numbers, each with optional fraction and a unit suffix, such as 300ms, 1.5h or 2h45m. Valid time units are ns, us (or µs), ms, s, m, h.

Examples:

  • Increasing gitlab_cache_expiry allows items to exist in the cache longer. This setting might be useful if the communication between GitLab Pages and GitLab Rails is not stable.

  • Increasing gitlab_cache_refresh reduces the frequency at which GitLab Pages requests a domain’s configuration from GitLab Rails. This setting might be useful GitLab Pages generates too many requests to GitLab API and content does not change frequently.

  • Decreasing gitlab_cache_cleanup removes expired items from the cache more frequently, reducing the memory usage of your Pages node.

  • Decreasing gitlab_retrieval_timeout allows you to stop the request to GitLab Rails more quickly. Increasing it allows more time to receive a response from the API, useful in slow networking environments.

  • Decreasing gitlab_retrieval_interval makes requests to the API more frequently, only when there is an error response from the API, for example a connection timeout.

  • Decreasing gitlab_retrieval_retries reduces the number of times a domain’s configuration is tried to be resolved automatically before reporting an error.

Using object storage

Introduced in GitLab 13.6.

Read more about using object storage with GitLab.

Object storage settings

The following settings are:

  • Nested under pages: and then object_store: on source installations.
  • Prefixed by pages_object_store_ on Omnibus GitLab installations.
Setting Description Default
enabled Whether object storage is enabled. false
remote_directory The name of the bucket where Pages site content is stored.  
connection Various connection options described below.  
note
If you want to stop using and disconnect the NFS server, you need to explicitly disable local storage, and it’s only possible after upgrading to GitLab 13.11.

S3-compatible connection settings

See the available connection settings for different providers.

In Omnibus installations:

  1. Add the following lines to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb and replace the values with the ones you want:

    gitlab_rails['pages_object_store_enabled'] = true
    gitlab_rails['pages_object_store_remote_directory'] = "pages"
    gitlab_rails['pages_object_store_connection'] = {
      'provider' => 'AWS',
      'region' => 'eu-central-1',
      'aws_access_key_id' => 'AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID',
      'aws_secret_access_key' => 'AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY'
    }
    

    If you use AWS IAM profiles, be sure to omit the AWS access key and secret access key/value pairs:

    gitlab_rails['pages_object_store_connection'] = {
      'provider' => 'AWS',
      'region' => 'eu-central-1',
      'use_iam_profile' => true
    }
    
  2. Save the file and reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

  3. Migrate existing Pages deployments to object storage.

In installations from source:

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

    pages:
      object_store:
        enabled: true
        remote_directory: "pages" # The bucket name
        connection:
          provider: AWS # Only AWS supported at the moment
          aws_access_key_id: AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID
          aws_secret_access_key: AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY
          region: eu-central-1
    
  2. Save the file and restart GitLab for the changes to take effect.

  3. Migrate existing Pages deployments to object storage.

ZIP storage

In GitLab 14.0 the underlying storage format of GitLab Pages is changing from files stored directly in disk to a single ZIP archive per project.

These ZIP archives can be stored either locally on disk storage or on object storage if it is configured.

Starting from GitLab 13.5 ZIP archives are stored every time pages site is updated.

Migrate legacy storage to ZIP storage

Introduced in GitLab 13.11.

GitLab tries to automatically migrate the old storage format to the new ZIP-based one when you upgrade to GitLab 13.11 or further. However, some projects may fail to be migrated for different reasons. To verify that all projects have been migrated successfully, you can manually run the migration:

gitlab-rake gitlab:pages:migrate_legacy_storage

It’s safe to interrupt this task and run it multiple times.

There are two most common problems this task can report:

  • Missing public directory error:

    E, [2021-04-09T13:11:52.534768 #911919] ERROR -- : project_id: 1 /home/vlad/gdk/gitlab/shared/pages/gitlab-org/gitlab-test failed to be migrated in 0.07 seconds: Archive not created. Missing public directory in /home/vlad/gdk/gitlab/shared/pages/gitlab-org/gitlab-test

    In this case, you should verify that these projects don’t have pages deployed, and re-run the migration with an additional flag to mark those projects as not deployed with GitLab Pages:

    sudo PAGES_MIGRATION_MARK_PROJECTS_AS_NOT_DEPLOYED=true gitlab-rake gitlab:pages:migrate_legacy_storage
    
  • File is invalid error:

    E, [2021-04-09T14:43:05.821767 #923322] ERROR -- : project_id: 1 /home/vlad/gdk/gitlab/shared/pages/gitlab-org/gitlab-test failed to be migrated: /home/vlad/gdk/gitlab/shared/pages/gitlab-org/gitlab-test/public/link is invalid, input_dir: /home/vlad/gdk/gitlab/shared/pages/gitlab-org/gitlab-test

    This error indicates invalid files on disk storage, most commonly symlinks leading outside of the public directory. You can manually remove these files, or just ignore them during migration:

    sudo PAGES_MIGRATION_IGNORE_INVALID_ENTRIES=true gitlab-rake gitlab:pages:migrate_legacy_storage
    

Rolling back ZIP migration

If you find that migrated data is invalid, you can remove all migrated data by running:

sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:pages:clean_migrated_zip_storage

This does not remove any data from the legacy disk storage and the GitLab Pages daemon automatically falls back to using that.

Migrate Pages deployments to object storage

Introduced in GitLab 13.11.

Existing Pages deployment objects (which store ZIP archives) can similarly be migrated to object storage.

Migrate your existing Pages deployments from local storage to object storage:

sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:pages:deployments:migrate_to_object_storage

Rolling Pages deployments back to local storage

After the migration to object storage is performed, you can choose to move your Pages deployments back to local storage:

sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:pages:deployments:migrate_to_local

Disable Pages local storage

Introduced in GitLab 13.11.

If you use object storage, you can disable local storage:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_rails['pages_local_store_enabled'] = false
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

Starting from GitLab 13.12, this setting also disables the legacy storage, so if you were using NFS to serve Pages, you can completely disconnect from it.

Prepare GitLab Pages for 14.0

In GitLab 14.0 a number of breaking changes were introduced which may require some user intervention. The steps below describe the best way to migrate without causing any downtime for your GitLab instance.

A GitLab instance running on a single server typically upgrades to 14.0 smoothly, and there should be minimal issues after the upgrade is complete. Regardless, we recommend everyone follow the migration steps to ensure a successful upgrade. If at any point you run into issues, consult the troubleshooting section.

If your current GitLab version is lower than 13.12, then you must first update to 13.12. Updating directly to 14.0 is not supported and may cause downtime for some web-sites hosted on GitLab Pages. After you update to 13.12, migrate GitLab Pages to prepare them for GitLab 14.0:

  1. Set domain_config_source to gitlab, which is the default starting from GitLab 14.0. Skip this step if you’re already running GitLab 14.0 or above.
  2. If you want to store your pages content in object storage, make sure to configure it. If you want to store the pages content locally or continue using an NFS server, skip this step.
  3. Migrate legacy storage to ZIP storage.
  4. Upgrade GitLab to 14.0.

Backup

GitLab Pages are part of the regular backup, so there is no separate backup to configure.

Security

You should strongly consider running GitLab Pages under a different hostname than GitLab to prevent XSS attacks.

Rate limits

Introduced in GitLab 14.5.

You can enforce source-IP rate limits to help minimize the risk of a Denial of Service (DoS) attack. GitLab Pages uses a token bucket algorithm to enforce rate limiting. By default, requests that exceed the specified limits are reported but not rejected.

Source-IP rate limits are enforced using the following:

  • rate_limit_source_ip: Set the maximum threshold in number of requests per second. Set to 0 to disable this feature.
  • rate_limit_source_ip_burst: Sets the maximum threshold of number of requests allowed in an initial outburst of requests. For example, when you load a web page that loads a number of resources at the same time.

Enable source-IP rate limits

  1. Set rate limits in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['rate_limit_source_ip'] = 20.0
    gitlab_pages['rate_limit_source_ip_burst'] = 600
    
  2. To reject requests that exceed the specified limits, enable the FF_ENABLE_RATE_LIMITER feature flag in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['env'] = {'FF_ENABLE_RATE_LIMITER' => 'true'}
    
  3. Reconfigure GitLab.

Troubleshooting

How to see GitLab Pages logs

You can see Pages daemon logs by running:

sudo gitlab-ctl tail gitlab-pages

You can also find the log file in /var/log/gitlab/gitlab-pages/current.

open /etc/ssl/ca-bundle.pem: permission denied

caution
This issue is fixed in GitLab 14.3 and above, try upgrading GitLab first.

GitLab Pages runs inside a chroot jail, usually in a uniquely numbered directory like /tmp/gitlab-pages-*.

In the jail, a bundle of trusted certificates is provided at /etc/ssl/ca-bundle.pem. It’s copied there from /opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/cacert.pem as part of starting up Pages.

If the permissions on the source file are incorrect (they should be 0644), then the file inside the chroot jail is also wrong.

Pages logs errors in /var/log/gitlab/gitlab-pages/current like:

x509: failed to load system roots and no roots provided
open /etc/ssl/ca-bundle.pem: permission denied

The use of a chroot jail makes this error misleading, as it is not referring to /etc/ssl on the root file system.

The fix is to correct the source file permissions and restart Pages:

sudo chmod 644 /opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/cacert.pem
sudo gitlab-ctl restart gitlab-pages

dial tcp: lookup gitlab.example.com and x509: certificate signed by unknown authority

caution
This issue is fixed in GitLab 14.3 and above, try upgrading GitLab first.

When setting both inplace_chroot and access_control to true, you might encounter errors like:

dial tcp: lookup gitlab.example.com on [::1]:53: dial udp [::1]:53: connect: cannot assign requested address

Or:

open /opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/cacert.pem: no such file or directory
x509: certificate signed by unknown authority

The reason for those errors is that the files resolv.conf, /etc/hosts/, /etc/nsswitch.conf and ca-bundle.pem are missing inside the chroot. The fix is to copy these files inside the chroot:

sudo mkdir -p /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/etc/ssl
sudo mkdir -p /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/

sudo cp /etc/resolv.conf /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/etc/
sudo cp /etc/hosts /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/etc/
sudo cp /etc/nsswitch.conf /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/etc/
sudo cp /opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/cacert.pem /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/
sudo cp /opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/cacert.pem /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/etc/ssl/ca-bundle.pem

unsupported protocol scheme \"\""

If you see the following error:

{"error":"failed to connect to internal Pages API: Get \"/api/v4/internal/pages/status\": unsupported protocol scheme \"\"","level":"warning","msg":"attempted to connect to the API","time":"2021-06-23T20:03:30Z"}

It means you didn’t set the HTTP(S) protocol scheme in the Pages server settings. To fix it:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['gitlab_server'] = "https://<your_pages_domain_name>"
    gitlab_pages['internal_gitlab_server'] = "https://<your_pages_domain_name>"
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
    

502 error when connecting to GitLab Pages proxy when server does not listen over IPv6

In some cases, NGINX might default to using IPv6 to connect to the GitLab Pages service even when the server does not listen over IPv6. You can identify when this is happening if you see something similar to the log entry below in the gitlab_pages_error.log:

2020/02/24 16:32:05 [error] 112654#0: *4982804 connect() failed (111: Connection refused) while connecting to upstream, client: 123.123.123.123, server: ~^(?<group>.*)\.pages\.example\.com$, request: "GET /-/group/project/-/jobs/1234/artifacts/artifact.txt HTTP/1.1", upstream: "http://[::1]:8090//-/group/project/-/jobs/1234/artifacts/artifact.txt", host: "group.example.com"

To resolve this, set an explicit IP and port for the GitLab Pages listen_proxy setting to define the explicit address that the GitLab Pages daemon should listen on:

gitlab_pages['listen_proxy'] = '127.0.0.1:8090'

Intermittent 502 errors or after a few days

If you run Pages on a system that uses systemd and tmpfiles.d, you may encounter intermittent 502 errors trying to serve Pages with an error similar to:

dial tcp: lookup gitlab.example.com on [::1]:53: dial udp [::1]:53: connect: no route to host"

GitLab Pages creates a bind mount inside /tmp/gitlab-pages-* that includes files like /etc/hosts. However, systemd may clean the /tmp/ directory on a regular basis so the DNS configuration may be lost.

To stop systemd from cleaning the Pages related content:

  1. Tell tmpfiles.d to not remove the Pages /tmp directory:

    echo 'x /tmp/gitlab-pages-*' >> /etc/tmpfiles.d/gitlab-pages-jail.conf
    
  2. Restart GitLab Pages:

    sudo gitlab-ctl restart gitlab-pages
    

404 error after promoting a Geo secondary to a primary node

Pages files are not among the supported data types for replication in Geo. After a secondary node is promoted to a primary node, attempts to access a Pages site result in a 404 Not Found error.

It is possible to copy the subfolders and files in the Pages path to the new primary node to resolve this. For example, you can adapt the rsync strategy from the moving repositories documentation. Alternatively, run the CI pipelines of those projects that contain a pages job again.

404 or 500 error when accessing GitLab Pages in a Geo setup

Pages sites are only available on the primary Geo site, while the codebase of the project is available on all sites.

If you try to access a Pages page on a secondary site, a 404 or 500 HTTP code is returned depending on the access control.

Read more which features don’t support Geo replication/verification.

Failed to connect to the internal GitLab API

If you see the following error:

ERRO[0010] Failed to connect to the internal GitLab API after 0.50s  error="failed to connect to internal Pages API: HTTP status: 401"

If you are Running GitLab Pages on a separate server you must copy the /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json file from the GitLab server to the Pages server after upgrading to GitLab 13.3, as described in that section.

Other reasons may include network connectivity issues between your GitLab server and your Pages server such as firewall configurations or closed ports. For example, if there is a connection timeout:

error="failed to connect to internal Pages API: Get \"https://gitlab.example.com:3000/api/v4/internal/pages/status\": net/http: request canceled while waiting for connection (Client.Timeout exceeded while awaiting headers)"

Pages cannot communicate with an instance of the GitLab API

If you use the default value for domain_config_source=auto and run multiple instances of GitLab Pages, you may see intermittent 502 error responses while serving Pages content. You may also see the following warning in the Pages logs:

WARN[0010] Pages cannot communicate with an instance of the GitLab API. Please sync your gitlab-secrets.json file https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-pages/-/issues/535#workaround. error="pages endpoint unauthorized"

This can happen if your gitlab-secrets.json file is out of date between GitLab Rails and GitLab Pages. Follow steps 8-10 of Running GitLab Pages on a separate server, in all of your GitLab Pages instances.

500 error with securecookie: failed to generate random iv and Failed to save the session

This problem most likely results from an out-dated operating system. The Pages daemon uses the securecookie library to get random strings via crypto/rand in Go. This requires the getrandom system call or /dev/urandom to be available on the host OS. Upgrading to an officially supported operating system is recommended.

The requested scope is invalid, malformed, or unknown

This problem comes from the permissions of the GitLab Pages OAuth application. To fix it:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Applications > GitLab Pages.
  3. Edit the application.
  4. Under Scopes, ensure that the api scope is selected.
  5. Save your changes.

When running a separate Pages server, this setting needs to be configured on the main GitLab server.

Workaround in case no wildcard DNS entry can be set

If the wildcard DNS prerequisite can’t be met, you can still use GitLab Pages in a limited fashion:

  1. Move all projects you need to use Pages with into a single group namespace, for example pages.
  2. Configure a DNS entry without the *.-wildcard, for example pages.example.io.
  3. Configure pages_external_url http://example.io/ in your gitlab.rb file. Omit the group namespace here, because it automatically is prepended by GitLab.

Pages daemon fails with permission denied errors

If /tmp is mounted with noexec, the Pages daemon fails to start with an error like:

{"error":"fork/exec /gitlab-pages: permission denied","level":"fatal","msg":"could not create pages daemon","time":"2021-02-02T21:54:34Z"}

In this case, change TMPDIR to a location that is not mounted with noexec. Add the following to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

gitlab_pages['env'] = {'TMPDIR' => '<new_tmp_path>'}

Once added, reconfigure with sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure and restart GitLab with sudo gitlab-ctl restart.

The redirect URI included is not valid. when using Pages Access Control

Verify that the Callback URL/Redirect URI in the GitLab Pages System OAuth application is using the protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) that pages_external_url is configured to use.

500 error cannot serve from disk

If you get a 500 response from Pages and encounter an error similar to:

ERRO[0145] cannot serve from disk                        error="gitlab: disk access is disabled via enable-disk=false" project_id=27 source_path="file:///shared/pages/@hashed/67/06/670671cd97404156226e507973f2ab8330d3022ca96e0c93bdbdb320c41adcaf/pages_deployments/14/artifacts.zip" source_type=zip

It means that GitLab Rails is telling GitLab Pages to serve content from a location on disk, however, GitLab Pages was configured to disable disk access.

To enable disk access:

  1. Enable disk access for GitLab Pages in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['enable_disk'] = true
    
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

httprange: new resource 403

If you see an error similar to:

{"error":"httprange: new resource 403: \"403 Forbidden\"","host":"root.pages.example.com","level":"error","msg":"vfs.Root","path":"/pages1/","time":"2021-06-10T08:45:19Z"}

And you run pages on the separate server syncing files via NFS, it may mean that the shared pages directory is mounted on a different path on the main GitLab server and the GitLab Pages server.

In that case, it’s highly recommended you to configure object storage and migrate any existing pages data to it.

Alternatively, you can mount the GitLab Pages shared directory to the same path on both servers.

GitLab Pages doesn’t work after upgrading to GitLab 14.0 or above

GitLab 14.0 introduces a number of changes to GitLab Pages which may require manual intervention.

  1. Firstly follow the migration guide.
  2. Try to upgrade to GitLab 14.3 or above. Some of the issues were fixed in GitLab 14.1, 14.2 and 14.3.
  3. If it doesn’t work, see GitLab Pages logs, and if you see any errors there then search them on this page.
caution
In GitLab 14.0-14.2 you can temporarily enable legacy storage and configuration mechanisms.

To do that:

  1. Please describe the issue you’re seeing in here.

  2. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['use_legacy_storage'] = true
    
  3. Reconfigure GitLab.

GitLab Pages fails to start in Docker container

caution
This issue is fixed in GitLab 14.3 and above, try upgrading GitLab first.

The GitLab Pages daemon doesn’t have permissions to bind mounts when it runs in a Docker container. To overcome this issue, you must change the chroot behavior:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb.
  2. Set the inplace_chroot to true for GitLab Pages:

    gitlab_pages['inplace_chroot'] = true
    
  3. Reconfigure GitLab.
note
inplace_chroot option might not work with the other features, such as Pages Access Control. The GitLab Pages README has more information about caveats and workarounds.