GitLab Container Registry

Version history
  • Introduced in GitLab 8.8.
  • Docker Registry manifest v1 support was added in GitLab 8.9 to support Docker versions earlier than 1.10.
  • Starting from GitLab 8.12, if you have 2FA enabled in your account, you need to pass a personal access token instead of your password in order to login to GitLab’s Container Registry.
  • Multiple level image names support was added in GitLab 9.1.
Note: This document is the user guide. To learn how to enable GitLab Container Registry across your GitLab instance, visit the administrator documentation.

With the Docker Container Registry integrated into GitLab, every project can have its own space to store its Docker images.

You can read more about Docker Registry at https://docs.docker.com/registry/introduction/.

Enable the Container Registry for your project

If you cannot find the Packages > Container Registry entry under your project’s sidebar, it is not enabled in your GitLab instance. Ask your administrator to enable GitLab Container Registry following the administration documentation.

If you are using GitLab.com, this is enabled by default so you can start using the Registry immediately. Currently there is a soft (10GB) size restriction for Registry on GitLab.com, as part of the repository size limit.

Once enabled for your GitLab instance, to enable Container Registry for your project:

  1. Go to your project’s Settings > General page.
  2. Expand the Visibility, project features, permissions section and enable the Container Registry feature on your project. For new projects this might be enabled by default. For existing projects (prior GitLab 8.8), you will have to explicitly enable it.
  3. Press Save changes for the changes to take effect. You should now be able to see the Packages > Container Registry link in the sidebar.

Build and push images

Notes:

  • Moving or renaming existing container registry repositories is not supported once you have pushed images because the images are signed, and the signature includes the repository name.
  • To move or rename a repository with a container registry you will have to delete all existing images.

If you visit the Packages > Container Registry link under your project’s menu, you can see the explicit instructions to login to the Container Registry using your GitLab credentials.

For example if the Registry’s URL is registry.example.com, then you should be able to login with:

docker login registry.example.com

Building and publishing images should be a straightforward process. Just make sure that you are using the Registry URL with the namespace and project name that is hosted on GitLab:

docker build -t registry.example.com/group/project/image .
docker push registry.example.com/group/project/image

Your image will be named after the following scheme:

<registry URL>/<namespace>/<project>/<image>

GitLab supports up to three levels of image repository names.

Following examples of image tags are valid:

registry.example.com/group/project:some-tag
registry.example.com/group/project/image:latest
registry.example.com/group/project/my/image:rc1

Use images from GitLab Container Registry

To download and run a container from images hosted in GitLab Container Registry, use docker run:

docker run [options] registry.example.com/group/project/image [arguments]

For more information on running Docker containers, visit the Docker documentation.

Control Container Registry from within GitLab

GitLab offers a simple Container Registry management panel. Go to your project and click Packages > Container Registry in the project menu.

This view will show you all tags in your project and will easily allow you to delete them.

Build and push images using GitLab CI

Note: This feature requires GitLab 8.8 and GitLab Runner 1.2.

Make sure that your GitLab Runner is configured to allow building Docker images by following the Using Docker Build and Using the GitLab Container Registry documentation. Alternatively, you can build images with Kaniko if the Docker builds are not an option for you.

Using with private projects

Personal Access tokens were introduced in GitLab 9.3. Project Deploy Tokens were introduced in GitLab 10.7

If a project is private, credentials will need to be provided for authorization. There are two ways to do this:

The minimal scope needed for both of them is read_registry.

Example of using a token:

docker login registry.example.com -u <username> -p <token>

Troubleshooting the GitLab Container Registry

Docker connection error

A Docker connection error can occur when there are special characters in either the group, project or branch name. Special characters can include:

  • Leading underscore
  • Trailing hyphen/dash

To get around this, you can change the group path, change the project path or change the branch name.

Troubleshoot as a GitLab server admin

Troubleshooting the GitLab Container Registry, most of the times, requires administration access to the GitLab server.

Read how to troubleshoot the Container Registry.