Import bare repositories into your GitLab instance


  • The owner of the project will be the first admin
  • The groups will be created as needed, including subgroups
  • The owner of the group will be the first admin
  • Existing projects will be skipped
  • Projects in hashed storage may be skipped (see Importing bare repositories from hashed storage)
  • The existing Git repos will be moved from disk (removed from the original path)

How to use

Create a new folder to import your Git repositories from.

The new folder needs to have git user ownership and read/write/execute access for git user and its group:

sudo -u git mkdir /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-<date>/new_group

Copy your bare repositories inside this newly created folder:

  • Any .git repositories found on any of the subfolders will be imported as projects
  • Groups will be created as needed, these could be nested folders. Example:

If we copy the repos to /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-<date>, and repo A needs to be under the groups G1 and G2, it will have to be created under those folders: /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-<date>/G1/G2/A.git.

sudo cp -r /old/git/foo.git /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-<date>/new_group/

# Do this once when you are done copying git repositories
sudo chown -R git:git /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-<date>

foo.git needs to be owned by the git user and git users group.

If you are using an installation from source, replace /var/opt/gitlab/ with /home/git.

Run the command below depending on your type of installation:

Omnibus Installation

$ sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:import:repos['/var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-<date>']

Installation from source

Before running this command you need to change the directory to where your GitLab installation is located:

$ cd /home/git/gitlab
$ sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:import:repos['/var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-<date>'] RAILS_ENV=production

Example output

Processing /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-1/a/b/c/blah.git
 * Using namespace: a/b/c
 * Created blah (a/b/c/blah)
 * Skipping repo  /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-1/a/b/c/
Processing /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-1/abcd.git
 * Created abcd (abcd.git)
Processing /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-1/group/xyz.git
 * Using namespace: group (2)
 * Created xyz (group/xyz.git)
 * Skipping repo /var/opt/gitlab/git-data/repository-import-1/@shared/a/b/abcd.git

Importing bare repositories from hashed storage


Projects in legacy storage have a directory structure that mirrors their full project path in GitLab, including their namespace structure. This information is leveraged by the bare repository importer to import projects into their proper locations. Each project and its parent namespaces are meaningfully named.

However, the directory structure of projects in hashed storage do not contain this information. This is beneficial for a variety of reasons, especially improved performance and data integrity. See Repository Storage Types for more details.

Which repositories are importable?

GitLab 10.3 or earlier

Importing bare repositories from hashed storage is unsupported.

GitLab 10.4 and later

To support importing bare repositories from hashed storage, GitLab 10.4 and later stores the full project path with each repository, in a special section of the git repository’s config file. This section is formatted as follows:

	fullpath = gitlab-org/gitlab-ce

However, existing repositories were not migrated to include this path.

Bare repositories are importable if the following events occurred to the repository in GitLab 10.4 and later:

  • Created
  • Migrated to hashed storage
  • Renamed
  • Transferred to another namespace
  • Ancestor renamed
  • Ancestor transferred to another namespace

Bare repositories are not importable by GitLab 10.4 and later when all the following are true about the repository:

  • It was created in GitLab 10.3 or earlier.
  • It was not renamed, transferred, or migrated to hashed storage in GitLab 10.4 and later.
  • Its ancestor namespaces were not renamed or transferred in GitLab 10.4 and later.

There is an open issue to add a migration to make all bare repositories importable.

Until then, you may wish to manually migrate repositories yourself. You can use Rails console to do so. In a Rails console session, run the following to migrate a project:

project = Project.find_by_full_path('gitlab-org/gitlab-ce')

In a Rails console session, run the following to migrate all of a namespace’s projects (this may take a while if there are 1000s of projects in a namespace):

namespace = Namespace.find_by_full_path('gitlab-org')