Using MySQL

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Many applications depend on MySQL as their database, and you may need it for your tests to run.

Use MySQL with the Docker executor

If you want to use a MySQL container, you can use GitLab Runner with the Docker executor.

This example shows you how to set a username and password that GitLab uses to access the MySQL container. If you do not set a username and password, you must use root.

Variables set in the GitLab UI are not passed down to the service containers. For more information, see GitLab CI/CD variables.
  1. To specify a MySQL image, add the following to your .gitlab-ci.yml file:

      - mysql:latest
    • You can use any Docker image available on Docker Hub. For example, to use MySQL 5.5, use mysql:5.5.
    • The mysql image can accept environment variables. For more information, view the Docker Hub documentation.
  2. To include the database name and password, add the following to your .gitlab-ci.yml file:

      # Configure mysql environment variables (

    The MySQL container uses MYSQL_DATABASE and MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD to connect to the database. Pass these values by using variables ($MYSQL_DB and $MYSQL_PASS), rather than calling them directly.

  3. Configure your application to use the database, for example:

    Host: mysql
    User: runner
    Password: <your_mysql_password>
    Database: <your_mysql_database>

    In this example, the user is runner. You should use a user that has permission to access your database.

Use MySQL with the Shell executor

You can also use MySQL on manually-configured servers that use GitLab Runner with the Shell executor.

  1. Install the MySQL server:

    sudo apt-get install -y mysql-server mysql-client libmysqlclient-dev
  2. Choose a MySQL root password and type it twice when asked.

    As a security measure, you can run mysql_secure_installation to remove anonymous users, drop the test database, and disable remote logins by the root user.
  3. Create a user by logging in to MySQL as root:

    mysql -u root -p
  4. Create a user (in this case, runner) that is used by your application. Change $password in the command to a strong password.

    At the mysql> prompt, type:

    CREATE USER 'runner'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '$password';
  5. Create the database:

    CREATE DATABASE IF NOT EXISTS `<your_mysql_database>` DEFAULT CHARACTER SET `utf8` \
    COLLATE `utf8_unicode_ci`;
  6. Grant the necessary permissions on the database:

  7. If all went well, you can quit the database session:

  8. Connect to the newly-created database to check that everything is in place:

    mysql -u runner -p -D <your_mysql_database>
  9. Configure your application to use the database, for example:

    Host: localhost
    User: runner
    Password: $password
    Database: <your_mysql_database>

Example project

To view a MySQL example, create a fork of this sample project. This project uses publicly-available instance runners on Update the file, commit your changes, and view the CI/CD pipeline to see it in action.