Upgrading GitLab

Upgrading GitLab is a relatively straightforward process, but the complexity can increase based on the installation method you have used, how old your GitLab version is, if you’re upgrading to a major version, and so on.

Make sure to read the whole page as it contains information related to every upgrade method.

The maintenance policy documentation has additional information about upgrading, including:

  • How to interpret GitLab product versioning.
  • Recommendations on the what release to run.
  • How we use patch and security patch releases.
  • When we backport code changes.

Upgrade based on installation method

Depending on the installation method and your GitLab version, there are multiple official ways to update GitLab:

Linux packages (Omnibus GitLab)

The Omnibus update guide contains the steps needed to update a package installed by official GitLab repositories.

There are also instructions when you want to update to a specific version.

Installation from source

In the past we used separate documents for the upgrading instructions, but we have since switched to using a single document. The old upgrading guidelines can still be found in the Git repository:

Installation using Docker

GitLab provides official Docker images for both Community and Enterprise editions. They are based on the Omnibus package and instructions on how to update them are in a separate document.

Installation using Helm

GitLab can be deployed into a Kubernetes cluster using Helm. Instructions on how to update a cloud-native deployment are in a separate document.

Use the version mapping from the chart version to GitLab version to determine the upgrade path.

Checking for background migrations before upgrading

Certain major/minor releases may require a set of background migrations to be finished. The number of remaining migrations jobs can be found by running the following command:

For Omnibus installations

If using GitLab 12.9 and newer, run:

sudo gitlab-rails runner -e production 'puts Gitlab::BackgroundMigration.remaining'

If using GitLab 12.8 and older, run the following using a Rails console:

puts Sidekiq::Queue.new("background_migration").size
Sidekiq::ScheduledSet.new.select { |r| r.klass == 'BackgroundMigrationWorker' }.size

For installations from source

If using GitLab 12.9 and newer, run:

cd /home/git/gitlab
sudo -u git -H bundle exec rails runner -e production 'puts Gitlab::BackgroundMigration.remaining'

If using GitLab 12.8 and older, run the following using a Rails console:

Sidekiq::ScheduledSet.new.select { |r| r.klass == 'BackgroundMigrationWorker' }.size

What do I do if my background migrations are stuck?

cautionThe following operations can disrupt your GitLab performance.

It is safe to re-execute these commands, especially if you have 1000+ pending jobs which would likely overflow your runtime memory.

For Omnibus installations

# Start the rails console
sudo gitlab-rails c

# Execute the following in the rails console
scheduled_queue = Sidekiq::ScheduledSet.new
pending_job_classes = scheduled_queue.select { |job| job["class"] == "BackgroundMigrationWorker" }.map { |job| job["args"].first }.uniq
pending_job_classes.each { |job_class| Gitlab::BackgroundMigration.steal(job_class) }

For installations from source

# Start the rails console
sudo -u git -H bundle exec rails RAILS_ENV=production

# Execute the following in the rails console
scheduled_queue = Sidekiq::ScheduledSet.new
pending_job_classes = scheduled_queue.select { |job| job["class"] == "BackgroundMigrationWorker" }.map { |job| job["args"].first }.uniq
pending_job_classes.each { |job_class| Gitlab::BackgroundMigration.steal(job_class) }

Checking for pending Elasticsearch migrations

This section is only applicable if you have enabled the Elasticsearch integration.

Certain major releases might require Elasticsearch migrations to be finished. You can find pending migrations by running the following command:

For Omnibus installations

sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:elastic:list_pending_migrations

For installations from source

cd /home/git/gitlab
sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:elastic:list_pending_migrations

What do I do if my Elasticsearch migrations are stuck?

See how to retry a halted migration.

Upgrade paths

Although you can generally upgrade through multiple GitLab versions in one go, sometimes this can cause issues.

Find where your version sits in the upgrade path below, and upgrade GitLab accordingly, while also consulting the version-specific upgrade instructions:

8.11.Z -> 8.12.0 -> 8.17.7 -> 9.5.10 -> 10.8.7 -> 11.11.8 -> 12.0.12 -> 12.1.17 -> 12.10.14 -> 13.0.14 -> 13.1.11 - > latest 13.Y.Z

The following table, while not exhaustive, shows some examples of the supported upgrade paths.

Target version Your version Supported upgrade path Note
13.4.3 12.9.2 12.9.2 -> 12.10.14 -> 13.0.14 -> 13.4.3 Two intermediate versions are required: the final 12.10 release, plus 13.0.
13.2.10 11.5.0 11.5.0 -> 11.11.8 -> 12.0.12 -> 12.1.17 -> 12.10.14 -> 13.0.14 -> 13.2.10 Five intermediate versions are required: the final 11.11, 12.0, 12.1 and 12.10 releases, plus 13.0.
12.10.14 11.3.4 11.3.4 -> 11.11.8 -> 12.0.12 -> 12.1.17 -> 12.10.14 Three intermediate versions are required: the final 11.11 and 12.0 releases, plus 12.1
12.9.5 10.4.5 10.4.5 -> 10.8.7 -> 11.11.8 -> 12.0.12 -> 12.1.17 -> 12.9.5 Four intermediate versions are required: 10.8, 11.11, 12.0 and 12.1, then 12.9.5
12.2.5 9.2.6 9.2.6 -> 9.5.10 -> 10.8.7 -> 11.11.8 -> 12.0.12 -> 12.1.17 -> 12.2.5 Five intermediate versions are required: 9.5, 10.8, 11.11, 12.0, 12.1, then 12.2.
11.3.4 8.13.4 8.13.4 -> 8.17.7 -> 9.5.10 -> 10.8.7 -> 11.3.4 8.17.7 is the last version in version 8, 9.5.10 is the last version in version 9, 10.8.7 is the last version in version 10.

Upgrading to a new major version

Upgrading the major version requires more attention. Backward-incompatible changes and migrations are reserved for major versions. We cannot guarantee that upgrading between major versions will be seamless. It is suggested to upgrade to the latest available minor version within your major version before proceeding to the next major version. Doing this will address any backward-incompatible changes or deprecations to help ensure a successful upgrade to the next major release. Identify a supported upgrade path.

More significant migrations may occur during major release upgrades. To ensure these are successful:

  1. Increment to the first minor version (X.0.Z) during the major version jump.
  2. Proceed with upgrading to a newer release.

It’s also important to ensure that any background migrations have been fully completed before upgrading to a new major version. To see the current size of the background_migration queue, Check for background migrations before upgrading.

If your GitLab instance has any runners associated with it, it is very important to upgrade GitLab Runner to match the GitLab minor version that was upgraded to. This is to ensure compatibility with GitLab versions.

Upgrading without downtime

Starting with GitLab 9.1.0 it’s possible to upgrade to a newer major, minor, or patch version of GitLab without having to take your GitLab instance offline. However, for this to work there are the following requirements:

Most of the time you can safely upgrade from a patch release to the next minor release if the patch release is not the latest. For example, upgrading from 9.1.1 to 9.2.0 should be safe even if 9.1.2 has been released. We do recommend you check the release posts of any releases between your current and target version just in case they include any migrations that may require you to upgrade 1 release at a time.

Some releases may also include so called “background migrations”. These migrations are performed in the background by Sidekiq and are often used for migrating data. Background migrations are only added in the monthly releases.

Certain major/minor releases may require a set of background migrations to be finished. To guarantee this such a release will process any remaining jobs before continuing the upgrading procedure. While this won’t require downtime (if the above conditions are met) we recommend users to keep at least 1 week between upgrading major/minor releases, allowing the background migrations to finish. The time necessary to complete these migrations can be reduced by increasing the number of Sidekiq workers that can process jobs in the background_migration queue. To see the size of this queue, Check for background migrations before upgrading.

As a rule of thumb, any database smaller than 10 GB won’t take too much time to upgrade; perhaps an hour at most per minor release. Larger databases however may require more time, but this is highly dependent on the size of the database and the migrations that are being performed.


To help explain this, let’s look at some examples.

Example 1: You are running a large GitLab installation using version 9.4.2, which is the latest patch release of 9.4. When GitLab 9.5.0 is released this installation can be safely upgraded to 9.5.0 without requiring downtime if the requirements mentioned above are met. You can also skip 9.5.0 and upgrade to 9.5.1 after it’s released, but you can not upgrade straight to 9.6.0; you have to first upgrade to a 9.5.Z release.

Example 2: You are running a large GitLab installation using version 9.4.2, which is the latest patch release of 9.4. GitLab 9.5 includes some background migrations, and 10.0 will require these to be completed (processing any remaining jobs for you). Skipping 9.5 is not possible without downtime, and due to the background migrations would require potentially hours of downtime depending on how long it takes for the background migrations to complete. To work around this you will have to upgrade to 9.5.Z first, then wait at least a week before upgrading to 10.0.

Example 3: You use MySQL as the database for GitLab. Any upgrade to a new major/minor release will require downtime. If a release includes any background migrations this could potentially lead to hours of downtime, depending on the size of your database. To work around this you will have to use PostgreSQL and meet the other online upgrade requirements mentioned above.


Steps to upgrade without downtime.

Upgrading between editions

GitLab comes in two flavors: Community Edition which is MIT licensed, and Enterprise Edition which builds on top of the Community Edition and includes extra features mainly aimed at organizations with more than 100 users.

Below you can find some guides to help you change GitLab editions.

Community to Enterprise Edition

noteThe following guides are for subscribers of the Enterprise Edition only.

If you wish to upgrade your GitLab installation from Community to Enterprise Edition, follow the guides below based on the installation method:

  • Source CE to EE update guides - The steps are very similar to a version upgrade: stop the server, get the code, update configuration files for the new functionality, install libraries and do migrations, update the init script, start the application and check its status.
  • Omnibus CE to EE - Follow this guide to update your Omnibus GitLab Community Edition to the Enterprise Edition.

Enterprise to Community Edition

If you need to downgrade your Enterprise Edition installation back to Community Edition, you can follow this guide to make the process as smooth as possible.

Version-specific upgrading instructions

Each month, a major or minor release of GitLab is published along with a release post. You should check all the major and minor versions you’re passing over. At the end of those release posts, there are three sections to look for:

  • Deprecations
  • Removals
  • Important notes on upgrading

These will include:

  • Steps you need to perform as part of an upgrade. For example 8.12 required the Elasticsearch index to be recreated. Any older version of GitLab upgrading to 8.12 or higher would require this.
  • Changes to the versions of software we support such as ceasing support for IE11 in GitLab 13.

Apart from the instructions in this section, you should also check the installation-specific upgrade instructions, based on how you installed GitLab:

noteSpecific information that follow related to Ruby and Git versions do not apply to Omnibus installations and Helm Chart deployments. They come with appropriate Ruby and Git versions and are not using system binaries for Ruby and Git. There is no need to install Ruby or Git when utilizing these two approaches.


Ruby 2.7.2 is required. GitLab will not start with Ruby 2.6.6 or older versions.

The required Git version is Git v2.29 or higher.


The recommended Git version is Git v2.28. The minimum required version of Git v2.24 remains the same.


GitLab installations that have multiple web nodes will need to be upgraded to 13.1 before upgrading to 13.2 (and later) due to a breaking change in Rails that can result in authorization issues.

GitLab 13.2.0 remediates an email verification bypass. After upgrading, if some of your users are unexpectedly encountering 404 or 422 errors when signing in, or “blocked” messages when using the command line, their accounts may have been un-confirmed. In that case, please ask them to check their email for a re-confirmation link. For more information, see our discussion of Email confirmation issues.

GitLab 13.2.0 relies on the btree_gist extension for PostgreSQL. For installations with an externally managed PostgreSQL setup, please make sure to install the extension manually before upgrading GitLab if the database user for GitLab is not a superuser. This is not necessary for installations using a GitLab managed PostgreSQL database.


In 13.1.0, you must upgrade to either:

  • At least Git v2.24 (previously, the minimum required version was Git v2.22).
  • The recommended Git v2.26.

Failure to do so will result in internal errors in the Gitaly service in some RPCs due to the use of the new --end-of-options Git flag.

Additionally, in GitLab 13.1.0, the version of Rails was upgraded from 6.0.3 to The Rails upgrade included a change to CSRF token generation which is not backwards-compatible - GitLab servers with the new Rails version will generate CSRF tokens that are not recognizable by GitLab servers with the older Rails version - which could cause non-GET requests to fail for multi-node GitLab installations.

So, if you are using multiple Rails servers and specifically upgrading from 13.0, all servers must first be upgraded to 13.1.Z before upgrading to 13.2.0 or later:

  1. Ensure all GitLab web nodes are on GitLab 13.1.Z.
  2. Optionally, enable the global_csrf_token feature flag to enable new method of CSRF token generation:

  3. Only then, continue to upgrade to later versions of GitLab.


In 12.2.0, we enabled Rails’ authenticated cookie encryption. Old sessions are automatically upgraded.

However, session cookie downgrades are not supported. So after upgrading to 12.2.0, any downgrades would result to all sessions being invalidated and users are logged out.


If you are planning to upgrade from 12.0.Z to 12.10.Z, it is necessary to perform an intermediary upgrade to 12.1.Z before upgrading to 12.10.Z to avoid issues like #215141.


In 12.0.0 we made various database related changes. These changes require that users first upgrade to the latest 11.11 patch release. After upgraded to 11.11.Z, users can upgrade to 12.0.Z. Failure to do so may result in database migrations not being applied, which could lead to application errors.

It is also required that you upgrade to 12.0.Z before moving to a later version of 12.Y.

Example 1: you are currently using GitLab 11.11.8, which is the latest patch release for 11.11.Z. You can upgrade as usual to 12.0.Z.

Example 2: you are currently using a version of GitLab 10.Y. To upgrade, first upgrade to the last 10.Y release (10.8.7) then the last 11.Y release (11.11.8). After upgraded to 11.11.8 you can safely upgrade to 12.0.Z.

See our documentation on upgrade paths for more information.

Upgrades from versions earlier than 8.12