Getting started with an offline GitLab Installation

This is a step-by-step guide that helps you install, configure, and use a self-managed GitLab instance entirely offline.

Installation

note
This guide assumes the server is Ubuntu 20.04 using the Omnibus installation method and will be running GitLab Enterprise Edition. Instructions for other servers may vary. This guide also assumes the server host resolves as my-host.internal, which you should replace with your server’s FQDN, and that you have access to a different server with Internet access to download the required package files.

For a video walkthrough of this process, see Offline GitLab Installation: Downloading & Installing.

Download the GitLab package

You should manually download the GitLab package and relevant dependencies using a server of the same operating system type that has access to the Internet.

If your offline environment has no local network access, you must manually transport across the relevant package files through physical media, such as a USB drive, or writable DVD.

In Ubuntu, this can be performed on a server with Internet access using the following commands:

# Download the bash script to prepare the repository
curl --silent "https://packages.gitlab.com/install/repositories/gitlab/gitlab-ee/script.deb.sh" | sudo bash

# Download the gitlab-ee package and dependencies to /var/cache/apt/archives
sudo apt-get install --download-only gitlab-ee

# Copy the contents of the apt download folder to a mounted media device
sudo cp /var/cache/apt/archives/*.deb /path/to/mount

Install the GitLab package

Prerequisites:

  • Before installing the GitLab package on your offline environment, ensure that you have installed all required dependencies first.

If you are using Ubuntu, you can install the dependency .deb packages you copied across with dpkg. Do not install the GitLab package yet.

# Navigate to the physical media device
sudo cd /path/to/mount

# Install the dependency packages
sudo dpkg -i <package_name>.deb

Use the relevant commands for your operating system to install the package but make sure to specify an http URL for the EXTERNAL_URL installation step. Once installed, we can manually configure the SSL ourselves.

It is strongly recommended to setup a domain for IP resolution rather than bind to the server’s IP address. This better ensures a stable target for our certs’ CN and makes long-term resolution simpler.

The following example for Ubuntu specifies the EXTERNAL_URL using HTTP and installs the GitLab package:

sudo EXTERNAL_URL="http://my-host.internal" dpkg -i <gitlab_package_name>.deb

Enabling SSL

Follow these steps to enable SSL for your fresh instance. These steps reflect those for manually configuring SSL in Omnibus’s NGINX configuration:

  1. Make the following changes to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    # Update external_url from "http" to "https"
    external_url "https://my-host.internal"
    
    # Set Let's Encrypt to false
    letsencrypt['enable'] = false
    
  2. Create the following directories with the appropriate permissions for generating self-signed certificates:

    sudo mkdir -p /etc/gitlab/ssl
    sudo chmod 755 /etc/gitlab/ssl
    sudo openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout /etc/gitlab/ssl/my-host.internal.key -out /etc/gitlab/ssl/my-host.internal.crt
    
  3. Reconfigure your instance to apply the changes:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
    

Enabling the GitLab Container Registry

Follow these steps to enable the container registry. These steps reflect those for configuring the container registry under an existing domain:

  1. Make the following changes to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    # Change external_registry_url to match external_url, but append the port 4567
    external_url "https://gitlab.example.com"
    registry_external_url "https://gitlab.example.com:4567"
    
  2. Reconfigure your instance to apply the changes:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
    

Allow the Docker daemon to trust the registry and GitLab Runner

Provide your Docker daemon with your certs by following the steps for using trusted certificates with your registry:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/docker/certs.d/my-host.internal:5000

sudo cp /etc/gitlab/ssl/my-host.internal.crt /etc/docker/certs.d/my-host.internal:5000/ca.crt

Provide your GitLab Runner (to be installed next) with your certs by following the steps for using trusted certificates with your runner:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/gitlab-runner/certs

sudo cp /etc/gitlab/ssl/my-host.internal.crt /etc/gitlab-runner/certs/ca.crt

Enabling GitLab Runner

Following a similar process to the steps for installing our GitLab Runner as a Docker service, we must first register our runner:

$ sudo docker run --rm -it -v /etc/gitlab-runner:/etc/gitlab-runner gitlab/gitlab-runner register
Updating CA certificates...
Runtime platform                                    arch=amd64 os=linux pid=7 revision=1b659122 version=12.8.0
Running in system-mode.

Please enter the gitlab-ci coordinator URL (e.g. https://gitlab.com/):
https://my-host.internal
Please enter the gitlab-ci token for this runner:
XXXXXXXXXXX
Please enter the gitlab-ci description for this runner:
[eb18856e13c0]:
Please enter the gitlab-ci tags for this runner (comma separated):

Registering runner... succeeded                     runner=FSMwkvLZ
Please enter the executor: custom, docker, virtualbox, kubernetes, docker+machine, docker-ssh+machine, docker-ssh, parallels, shell, ssh:
docker
Please enter the default Docker image (e.g. ruby:2.6):
ruby:2.6
Runner registered successfully. Feel free to start it, but if it's running already the config should be automatically reloaded!

Now we must add some additional configuration to our runner:

Make the following changes to /etc/gitlab-runner/config.toml:

  • Add Docker socket to volumes volumes = ["/var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock", "/cache"]
  • Add pull_policy = "if-not-present" to the executor configuration

Now we can start our runner:

sudo docker run -d --restart always --name gitlab-runner -v /etc/gitlab-runner:/etc/gitlab-runner -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock gitlab/gitlab-runner:latest
90646b6587127906a4ee3f2e51454c6e1f10f26fc7a0b03d9928d8d0d5897b64

Authenticating the registry against the host OS

As noted in Docker registry authentication documentation, certain versions of Docker require trusting the certificate chain at the OS level.

In the case of Ubuntu, this involves using update-ca-certificates:

sudo cp /etc/docker/certs.d/my-host.internal\:5000/ca.crt /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/my-host.internal.crt

sudo update-ca-certificates

If all goes well, this is what you should see:

1 added, 0 removed; done.
Running hooks in /etc/ca-certificates/update.d...
done.

Disable Version Check and Service Ping

The Version Check and Service Ping services improve the GitLab user experience and ensure that users are on the most up-to-date instances of GitLab. These two services can be turned off for offline environments so that they do not attempt and fail to reach out to GitLab services.

Learn more about disabling usage statistics.