Troubleshooting GitLab installations that use Docker

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When installing GitLab by using Docker, you might encounter the following issues.

Diagnose potential problems

Read container logs:

sudo docker logs gitlab

Enter running container:

sudo docker exec -it gitlab /bin/bash

From within the container you can administer the GitLab container as you would usually administer a Linux package installation.

500 Internal Error

When updating the Docker image you may encounter an issue where all paths display a 500 page. If this occurs, restart the container to try to rectify the issue:

sudo docker restart gitlab

Permission problems

When updating from older GitLab Docker images you might encounter permission problems. This happens when users in previous images were not preserved correctly. There’s script that fixes permissions for all files.

To fix your container, execute update-permissions and restart the container afterwards:

sudo docker exec gitlab update-permissions
sudo docker restart gitlab

Error executing action run on resource ruby_block

This error occurs when using Docker Toolbox with VirtualBox on Windows or Mac, and making use of Docker volumes:

Error executing action run on resource ruby_block[directory resource: /data/GitLab]

The /c/Users volume is mounted as a VirtualBox Shared Folder, and does not support the all POSIX file system features. The directory ownership and permissions cannot be changed without remounting, and GitLab fails.

Our recommendation is to switch to using the native Docker install for your platform, instead of using Docker Toolbox.

If you cannot use the native Docker install (Windows 10 Home Edition, or Windows 7/8), then an alternative solution is to set up NFS mounts instead of VirtualBox shares for Docker Toolbox’s boot2docker.

Linux ACL issues

If you are using file ACLs on the Docker host, the docker group requires full access to the volumes in order for GitLab to work:

getfacl $GITLAB_HOME

# file: $GITLAB_HOME
# owner: XXXX
# group: XXXX

If these are not correct, set them with:

sudo setfacl -mR default:group:docker:rwx $GITLAB_HOME

The default group is docker. If you changed the group, be sure to update your commands.

/dev/shm mount not having enough space in Docker container

GitLab comes with a Prometheus metrics endpoint at /-/metrics to expose a variety of statistics on the health and performance of GitLab. The files required for this gets written to a temporary file system (like /run or /dev/shm).

By default, Docker allocates 64 MB to the shared memory directory (mounted at /dev/shm). This is insufficient to hold all the Prometheus metrics related files generated, and will generate error logs like the following:

writing value to /dev/shm/gitlab/sidekiq/gauge_all_sidekiq_0-1.db failed with unmapped file
writing value to /dev/shm/gitlab/sidekiq/gauge_all_sidekiq_0-1.db failed with unmapped file
writing value to /dev/shm/gitlab/sidekiq/gauge_all_sidekiq_0-1.db failed with unmapped file
writing value to /dev/shm/gitlab/sidekiq/histogram_sidekiq_0-0.db failed with unmapped file
writing value to /dev/shm/gitlab/sidekiq/histogram_sidekiq_0-0.db failed with unmapped file
writing value to /dev/shm/gitlab/sidekiq/histogram_sidekiq_0-0.db failed with unmapped file
writing value to /dev/shm/gitlab/sidekiq/histogram_sidekiq_0-0.db failed with unmapped file

Other than disabling the Prometheus Metrics from the Admin area, the recommended solution to fix this problem is to install with shared memory set to at least 256 MB. If using docker run, this can be done by passing the flag --shm-size 256m. If using a docker-compose.yml file, the shm_size key can be used for this purpose.

Docker containers exhausts space due to the json-file

Docker uses the json-file default logging driver, which performs no log rotation by default. As a result of this lack of rotation, log files stored by the json-file driver can consume a significant amount of disk space for containers that generate a lot of output. This can lead to disk space exhaustion. To address this, use journald as the logging driver when available, or another supported driver with native rotation support.

Buffer overflow error when starting Docker

If you receive this buffer overflow error, you should purge old log files in /var/log/gitlab:

buffer overflow detected : terminated
xargs: tail: terminated by signal 6

Removing old log files helps fix the error, and ensures a clean startup of the instance.

ThreadError can’t create Thread Operation not permitted

can't create Thread: Operation not permitted

This error occurs when running a container built with newer glibc versions on a host that doesn’t have support for the new clone3 function. In GitLab 16.0 and later, the container image includes the Ubuntu 22.04 Linux package which is built with this newer glibc.

This problem is fixed with newer container runtime tools like Docker 20.10.10.

To resolve this issue, update Docker to version 20.10.10 or later.