GitLab Pages administration for source installations

note
Before attempting to enable GitLab Pages, first make sure you have installed GitLab successfully.

This is the documentation for configuring a GitLab Pages when you have installed GitLab from source and not using the Omnibus packages.

You are encouraged to read the Omnibus documentation as it provides some invaluable information to the configuration of GitLab Pages. Please proceed to read it before going forward with this guide.

We also highly recommend that you use the Omnibus GitLab packages. We optimize them specifically for GitLab, and we take care of upgrading GitLab Pages to the latest supported version.

Overview

GitLab Pages makes use of the GitLab Pages daemon, a simple 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 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 aren’t able to be served with user-provided certificates. For HTTP, you can use HTTP or TCP load balancing.

In this document, we proceed assuming the first option. If you aren’t supporting custom domains, a secondary IP isn’t needed.

Prerequisites

Before proceeding with the Pages configuration, make sure that:

  • You have a separate domain to serve GitLab Pages from. In this document we assume that to be example.io.
  • You have configured a wildcard DNS record for that domain.
  • You have installed the zip and unzip packages in the same server that GitLab is installed since they are needed to compress and decompress the Pages artifacts.
  • Optional. You have a wildcard certificate for the Pages domain if you decide to serve Pages (*.example.io) under HTTPS.
  • Optional but recommended. You have configured and enabled the shared runners so your users don’t have to bring their own.

DNS configuration

GitLab Pages expect to run on their own virtual host. In your DNS server/provider you need to 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

Where example.io is the domain to serve GitLab Pages from, and 192.0.2.1 is the IP address of your GitLab instance.

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

Wildcard domains

Requirements:

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

This 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. Install the Pages daemon:

    cd /home/git
    sudo -u git -H git clone https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-pages.git
    cd gitlab-pages
    sudo -u git -H git checkout v$(</home/git/gitlab/GITLAB_PAGES_VERSION)
    sudo -u git -H make
    
  2. Go to the GitLab installation directory:

    cd /home/git/gitlab
    
  3. Edit gitlab.yml and under the pages setting, set enabled to true and the host to the FQDN to serve GitLab Pages from:

    ## GitLab Pages
    pages:
      enabled: true
      # The location where pages are stored (default: shared/pages).
      # path: shared/pages
    
      host: example.io
      access_control: false
      port: 8090
      https: false
      artifacts_server: false
      external_http: ["127.0.0.1:8090"]
      secret_file: /home/git/gitlab/gitlab-pages-secret
    
  4. Add the following configuration file to /home/git/gitlab-pages/gitlab-pages.conf, and be sure to change example.io to the FQDN from which you want to serve GitLab Pages and gitlab.example.com to the URL of your GitLab instance:

    listen-http=:8090
    pages-root=/home/git/gitlab/shared/pages
    api-secret-key=/home/git/gitlab/gitlab-pages-secret
    pages-domain=example.io
    internal-gitlab-server=https://gitlab.example.com
    

    You may use an http address, when running GitLab Pages and GitLab on the same host. If you use https and use a self-signed certificate, be sure to make your custom CA available to GitLab Pages, for example by setting the SSL_CERT_DIR environment variable.

  5. Add the secret API key:

    sudo -u git -H openssl rand -base64 32 > /home/git/gitlab/gitlab-pages-secret
    
  6. To enable the pages daemon:

    • If your system uses systemd as init, run:

      sudo systemctl edit gitlab.target
      

      In the editor that opens, add the following and save the file:

      [Unit]
      Wants=gitlab-pages.service
      
    • If your system uses SysV init instead, edit /etc/default/gitlab and set gitlab_pages_enabled to true:

      gitlab_pages_enabled=true
      
  7. Copy the gitlab-pages NGINX configuration file:

    sudo cp lib/support/nginx/gitlab-pages /etc/nginx/sites-available/gitlab-pages.conf
    sudo ln -sf /etc/nginx/sites-{available,enabled}/gitlab-pages.conf
    
  8. Restart NGINX
  9. Restart GitLab

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. Install the Pages daemon:

    cd /home/git
    sudo -u git -H git clone https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-pages.git
    cd gitlab-pages
    sudo -u git -H git checkout v$(</home/git/gitlab/GITLAB_PAGES_VERSION)
    sudo -u git -H make
    
  2. In gitlab.yml, set the port to 443 and https to true:

    ## GitLab Pages
    pages:
      enabled: true
      # The location where pages are stored (default: shared/pages).
      # path: shared/pages
    
      host: example.io
      port: 443
      https: true
    
  3. Edit /etc/default/gitlab and set gitlab_pages_enabled to true in order to enable the pages daemon. In gitlab_pages_options the -pages-domain must match the host setting that you set above. The -root-cert and -root-key settings are the wildcard TLS certificates of the example.io domain:

    gitlab_pages_enabled=true
    gitlab_pages_options="-pages-domain example.io -pages-root $app_root/shared/pages -listen-proxy 127.0.0.1:8090 -root-cert /path/to/example.io.crt -root-key /path/to/example.io.key"
    
  4. Copy the gitlab-pages-ssl NGINX configuration file:

    sudo cp lib/support/nginx/gitlab-pages-ssl /etc/nginx/sites-available/gitlab-pages-ssl.conf
    sudo ln -sf /etc/nginx/sites-{available,enabled}/gitlab-pages-ssl.conf
    
  5. Restart NGINX
  6. Restart GitLab

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.

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. Install the Pages daemon:

    cd /home/git
    sudo -u git -H git clone https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-pages.git
    cd gitlab-pages
    sudo -u git -H git checkout v$(</home/git/gitlab/GITLAB_PAGES_VERSION)
    sudo -u git -H make
    
  2. Edit gitlab.yml to look like the example below. You need to change the host to the FQDN to serve GitLab Pages from. Set external_http to the secondary IP on which the pages daemon listens for connections:

    pages:
      enabled: true
      # The location where pages are stored (default: shared/pages).
      # path: shared/pages
    
      host: example.io
      port: 80
      https: false
    
      external_http: 192.0.2.2:80
    
  3. Edit /etc/default/gitlab and set gitlab_pages_enabled to true in order to enable the pages daemon. In gitlab_pages_options the -pages-domain and -listen-http must match the host and external_http settings that you set above respectively:

    gitlab_pages_enabled=true
    gitlab_pages_options="-pages-domain example.io -pages-root $app_root/shared/pages -listen-proxy 127.0.0.1:8090 -listen-http 192.0.2.2:80"
    
  4. Copy the gitlab-pages-ssl NGINX configuration file:

    sudo cp lib/support/nginx/gitlab-pages /etc/nginx/sites-available/gitlab-pages.conf
    sudo ln -sf /etc/nginx/sites-{available,enabled}/gitlab-pages.conf
    
  5. Edit all GitLab related configurations in /etc/nginx/site-available/ and replace 0.0.0.0 with 192.0.2.1, where 192.0.2.1 the primary IP where GitLab listens to.
  6. Restart NGINX
  7. Restart 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. Install the Pages daemon:

    cd /home/git
    sudo -u git -H git clone https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-pages.git
    cd gitlab-pages
    sudo -u git -H git checkout v$(</home/git/gitlab/GITLAB_PAGES_VERSION)
    sudo -u git -H make
    
  2. Edit gitlab.yml to look like the example below. You need to change the host to the FQDN to serve GitLab Pages from. Set external_http and external_https to the secondary IP on which the pages daemon listens for connections:

    ## GitLab Pages
    pages:
      enabled: true
      # The location where pages are stored (default: shared/pages).
      # path: shared/pages
    
      host: example.io
      port: 443
      https: true
    
      external_http: 192.0.2.2:80
      external_https: 192.0.2.2:443
    
  3. Edit /etc/default/gitlab and set gitlab_pages_enabled to true in order to enable the pages daemon. In gitlab_pages_options the -pages-domain, -listen-http an