API Docs

Use the GitLab APIs to automate GitLab.

REST API

A REST API is available in GitLab. Usage instructions are below.

For examples, see How to use the API.

For a list of the available resources and their endpoints, see REST API resources.

You can also use a partial OpenAPI definition, to test the API directly from the GitLab user interface. Contributions are welcome.

For an introduction and basic steps, see How to make GitLab API calls.

SCIM API

GitLab provides a SCIM API that both implements the RFC7644 protocol and provides the /Users endpoint. The base URL is /api/scim/v2/groups/:group_path/Users/.

GraphQL API

A GraphQL API is available in GitLab. For a list of the available resources and their endpoints, see GraphQL API resources.

With GraphQL, you can make an API request for only what you need, and it’s versioned by default.

GraphQL co-exists with the current v4 REST API. If we have a v5 API, this should be a compatibility layer on top of GraphQL.

There were some patenting and licensing concerns with GraphQL. However, these have been resolved to our satisfaction. The reference implementations were re-licensed under MIT, and the OWF license used for the GraphQL specification.

Compatibility guidelines

The HTTP API is versioned with a single number, which is currently 4. This number symbolizes the major version number, as described by SemVer. Because of this, backward-incompatible changes require this version number to change.

The minor version isn’t explicit, which allows for a stable API endpoint. New features can be added to the API in the same version number.

New features and bug fixes are released in tandem with GitLab. Apart from incidental patch and security releases, GitLab is released on the 22nd of each month. Major API version changes, and removal of entire API versions, are done in tandem with major GitLab releases.

All deprecations and changes between versions are in the documentation. For the changes between v3 and v4, see the v3 to v4 documentation.

Current status

Only API version v4 is available.

How to use the API

API requests must include both api and the API version. The API version is defined in lib/api.rb. For example, the root of the v4 API is at /api/v4.

Valid API request

The following is a basic example of a request to the fictional gitlab.example.com endpoint:

curl "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects"

The API uses JSON to serialize data. You don’t need to specify .json at the end of the API URL.

note
In the example above, replace gitlab.example.com with gitlab.com to query GitLab.com (GitLab SaaS). Access can be denied due to authentication. For more information, see Authentication.

API request to expose HTTP response headers

If you want to expose HTTP response headers, use the --include option:

curl --include "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects"
HTTP/2 200
...

This request can help you investigate an unexpected response.

API request that includes the exit code

If you want to expose the HTTP exit code, include the --fail option:

curl --fail "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/does-not-exist"
curl: (22) The requested URL returned error: 404

The HTTP exit code can help you diagnose the success or failure of your REST request.

Authentication

Most API requests require authentication, or only return public data when authentication isn’t provided. When authentication is not required, the documentation for each endpoint specifies this. For example, the /projects/:id endpoint does not require authentication.

There are several ways you can authenticate with the GitLab API:

Project access tokens are supported by:

  • Self-managed GitLab Free and higher.
  • GitLab SaaS Premium and higher.

If you are an administrator, you or your application can authenticate as a specific user. To do so, use:

If authentication information is not valid or is missing, GitLab returns an error message with a status code of 401:

{
  "message": "401 Unauthorized"
}
note
Deploy tokens can’t be used with the GitLab public API. For details, see Deploy Tokens.

OAuth2 tokens

You can use an OAuth2 token to authenticate with the API by passing it in either the access_token parameter or the Authorization header.

Example of using the OAuth2 token in a parameter:

curl "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects?access_token=OAUTH-TOKEN"

Example of using the OAuth2 token in a header:

curl --header "Authorization: Bearer OAUTH-TOKEN" "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects"

Read more about GitLab as an OAuth2 provider.

note
We recommend OAuth access tokens have an expiration. You can use the refresh_token parameter to refresh tokens. Integrations may need to be updated to use refresh tokens prior to expiration, which is based on the expires_in property in the token endpoint response. See OAuth2 token documentation for examples requesting a new access token using a refresh token.

A default refresh setting of two hours is tracked in this issue.

Personal/project/group access tokens

You can use access tokens to authenticate with the API by passing it in either the private_token parameter or the PRIVATE-TOKEN header.

Example of using the personal, project, or group access token in a parameter:

curl "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects?private_token=<your_access_token>"

Example of using the personal, project, or group access token in a header:

curl --header "PRIVATE-TOKEN: <your_access_token>" "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects"

You can also use personal, project, or group access tokens with OAuth-compliant headers:

curl --header "Authorization: Bearer <your_access_token>" "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects"

Signing in to the main GitLab application sets a _gitlab_session cookie. The API uses this cookie for authentication if it’s present. Using the API to generate a new session cookie isn’t supported.

The primary user of this authentication method is the web frontend of GitLab itself. The web frontend can use the API as the authenticated user to get a list of projects without explicitly passing an access token.

Impersonation tokens

Impersonation tokens are a type of personal access token. They can be created only by an administrator, and are used to authenticate with the API as a specific user.

Use impersonation tokens as an alternative to:

  • The user’s password or one of their personal access tokens.
  • The Sudo feature. The user’s or administrator’s password or token may not be known, or may change over time.

For more information, see the users API documentation.

Impersonation tokens are used exactly like regular personal access tokens, and can be passed in either the private_token parameter or the PRIVATE-TOKEN header.

Disable impersonation

By default, impersonation is enabled. To disable impersonation:

For Omnibus installations

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

    gitlab_rails['impersonation_enabled'] = false
    
  2. Save the file, and then reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

To re-enable impersonation, remove this configuration, and then reconfigure GitLab.

For installations from source

  1. Edit the config/gitlab.yml file:

    gitlab:
      impersonation_enabled: false
    
  2. Save the file, and then restart GitLab for the changes to take effect.

To re-enable impersonation, remove this configuration, and then restart GitLab.

Sudo

All API requests support performing an API request as if you were another user, provided you’re authenticated as an administrator with an OAuth or personal access token that has the sudo scope. The API requests are executed with the permissions of the impersonated user.

As an administrator, pass the sudo parameter either by using query string or a header with an ID or username (case insensitive) of the user you want to perform the operation as. If passed as a header, the header name must be Sudo.

If a non administrative access token is provided, GitLab returns an error message with a status code of 403:

{
  "message": "403 Forbidden - Must be admin to use sudo"
}

If an access token without the sudo scope is provided, an error message is returned with a status code of 403:

{
  "error": "insufficient_scope",
  "error_description": "The request requires higher privileges than provided by the access token.",
  "scope": "sudo"
}

If the sudo user ID or username cannot be found, an error message is returned with a status code of 404:

{
  "message": "404 User with ID or username '123' Not Found"
}

Example of a valid API request and a request using cURL with sudo request, providing a username:

GET /projects?private_token=<your_access_token>&sudo=username
curl --header "PRIVATE-TOKEN: <your_access_token>" --header "Sudo: username" "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects"

Example of a valid API request and a request using cURL with sudo request, providing an ID:

GET /projects?private_token=<your_access_token>&sudo=23
curl --header "PRIVATE-TOKEN: <your_access_token>" --header "Sudo: 23" "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects"

Status codes

The API is designed to return different status codes according to context and action. This way, if a request results in an error, you can get insight into what went wrong.

The following table gives an overview of how the API functions generally behave.

Request type Description
GET Access one or more resources and return the result as JSON.
POST Return 201 Created if the resource is successfully created and return the newly created resource as JSON.
GET / PUT Return 200 OK if the resource is accessed or modified successfully. The (modified) result is returned as JSON.
DELETE Returns 204 No Content if the resource was deleted successfully or 202 Accepted if the resource is scheduled to be deleted.

The following table shows the possible return codes for API requests.

Return values Description
200 OK The GET, PUT or DELETE request was successful, and the resource itself is returned as JSON.
202 Accepted The GET, PUT or DELETE request was successful, and the resource is scheduled for processing.
204 No Content The server has successfully fulfilled the request, and there is no additional content to send in the response payload body.