Permissions

Users have different abilities depending on the access level they have in a particular group or project. If a user is both in a group’s project and the project itself, the highest permission level is used.

On public and internal projects the Guest role is not enforced. All users will be able to create issues, leave comments, and clone or download the project code.

When a member leaves a team’s project, all the assigned Issues and Merge Requests will be unassigned automatically.

GitLab administrators receive all permissions.

To add or import a user, you can follow the project members documentation.

For information on eligible approvers for Merge Requests, see Eligible approvers.

Principles behind permissions

See our product handbook on permissions

Instance-wide user permissions

By default, users can create top-level groups and change their usernames. A GitLab administrator can configure the GitLab instance to modify this behavior.

Project members permissions

Note: In GitLab 11.0, the Master role was renamed to Maintainer.

While Maintainer is the highest project-level role, some actions can only be performed by a personal namespace or group owner.

The following table depicts the various user permission levels in a project.

Action Guest Reporter Developer Maintainer Owner
Download project ✓ (1)
Leave comments ✓ (1)
View Insights charts
View approved/blacklisted licenses
View License Compliance reports ✓ (1)
View Security reports ✓ (3)
View Dependency list ✓ (1)
View licenses in Dependency list ✓ (1)
View Design Management pages ✓ (1)
View project code ✓ (1)
Pull project code ✓ (1)
View GitLab Pages protected by access control
View wiki pages ✓ (1)
See a list of jobs ✓ (3)
See a job log ✓ (3)
Download and browse job artifacts ✓ (3)
Create new issue ✓ (1)
See related issues
Create confidential issue ✓ (1)
View confidential issues (2)
Assign issues  
Label issues  
Lock issue threads  
Manage issue tracker  
Manage related issues  
Manage labels  
Create code snippets  
See a commit status  
See a container registry  
See environments  
See a list of merge requests  
View project statistics  
View Error Tracking list  
Pull from Conan repository, Maven repository, or NPM registry  
Publish to Conan repository, Maven repository, or NPM registry    
Upload Design Management files    
Create new branches    
Push to non-protected branches    
Force push to non-protected branches    
Remove non-protected branches    
Create new merge request    
Assign merge requests    
Label merge requests    
Lock merge request threads    
Manage/Accept merge requests    
Create new environments    
Stop environments    
Add tags    
Cancel and retry jobs    
Create or update commit status    
Update a container registry    
Remove a container registry image    
Create/edit/delete project milestones    
Use security dashboard    
View vulnerabilities in Dependency list    
Create issue from vulnerability    
Dismiss vulnerability    
Apply code change suggestions    
Create and edit wiki pages    
Rewrite/remove Git tags    
Use environment terminals      
Run Web IDE’s Interactive Web Terminals      
Add new team members      
Enable/disable branch protection      
Push to protected branches      
Turn on/off protected branch push for devs      
Enable/disable tag protections      
Edit project      
Add deploy keys to project      
Configure project hooks      
Manage Runners      
Manage job triggers      
Manage variables      
Manage GitLab Pages      
Manage GitLab Pages domains and certificates      
Remove GitLab Pages      
Manage clusters      
Manage license policy      
Edit comments (posted by any user)      
Manage Error Tracking      
Delete wiki pages      
View project Audit Events      
Manage push rules      
Switch visibility level        
Transfer project to another namespace        
Remove project        
Delete issues        
Disable notification emails        
Force push to protected branches (4)          
Remove protected branches (4)          
  • (1): Guest users are able to perform this action on public and internal projects, but not private projects.
  • (2): Guest users can only view the confidential issues they created themselves
  • (3): If Public pipelines is enabled in Project Settings > CI/CD
  • (4): Not allowed for Guest, Reporter, Developer, Maintainer, or Owner. See Protected Branches.

Project features permissions

Wiki and issues

Project features like wiki and issues can be hidden from users depending on which visibility level you select on project settings.

  • Disabled: disabled for everyone
  • Only team members: only team members will see even if your project is public or internal
  • Everyone with access: everyone can see depending on your project visibility level
  • Everyone: enabled for everyone (only available for GitLab Pages)

Protected branches

Additional restrictions can be applied on a per-branch basis with protected branches. Additionally, you can customize permissions to allow or prevent project Maintainers and Developers from pushing to a protected branch. Read through the documentation on Allowed to Merge and Allowed to Push settings to learn more.

Cycle Analytics permissions

Find the current permissions on the Cycle Analytics dashboard on the documentation on Cycle Analytics permissions.

Issue Board permissions

Developers and users with higher permission level can use all the functionality of the Issue Board, that is create/delete lists and drag issues around. Read though the documentation on Issue Boards permissions to learn more.

File Locking permissions

The user that locks a file or directory is the only one that can edit and push their changes back to the repository where the locked objects are located.

Read through the documentation on permissions for File Locking to learn more.

Confidential Issues permissions

Confidential issues can be accessed by reporters and higher permission levels, as well as by guest users that create a confidential issue. To learn more, read through the documentation on permissions and access to confidential issues.

Releases permissions

Project Releases can be read by project members with Reporter, Developer, Maintainer, and Owner permissions. Guest users can access Release pages for downloading assets but are not allowed to download the source code nor see repository information such as tags and commits.

Releases can be created, updated, or deleted via Releases APIs by project Developers, Maintainers, and Owners.

Group members permissions

Note: In GitLab 11.0, the Master role was renamed to Maintainer.

Any user can remove themselves from a group, unless they are the last Owner of the group. The following table depicts the various user permission levels in a group.

Action Guest Reporter Developer Maintainer Owner
Browse group
View Insights charts
View group epic
Create/edit group epic  
Manage group labels  
Create project in group     ✓ (3) ✓ (3) ✓ (3)
Create/edit/delete group milestones    
Enable/disable a dependency proxy    
Use security dashboard    
Create subgroup       ✓ (1)
Edit group        
Manage group members        
Remove group        
Delete group epic        
Edit epic comments (posted by any user)       ✓ (2) ✓ (2)
View group Audit Events        
Disable notification emails        
View/manage group-level Kubernetes cluster      

Subgroup permissions

When you add a member to a subgroup, they inherit the membership and permission level from the parent group. This model allows access to nested groups if you have membership in one of its parents.

To learn more, read through the documentation on subgroups memberships.

External users

In cases where it is desired that a user has access only to some internal or private projects, there is the option of creating External Users. This feature may be useful when for example a contractor is working on a given project and should only have access to that project.

External users:

  • Cannot create groups or projects.
  • Can only access projects to which they are explicitly granted access, thus hiding all other internal or private ones from them (like being logged out).

Access can be granted by adding the user as member to the project or group. They will, like usual users, receive a role in the project or group with all the abilities that are mentioned in the permissions table above. For example, if an external user is added as Guest, and your project is private, they will not have access to the code; you would need to grant the external user access at the Reporter level or above if you want them to have access to the code. You should always take into account the project’s visibility and permissions settings as well as the permission level of the user.

Note: External users still count towards a license seat.

An administrator can flag a user as external by either of the following methods:

  • Either through the API.
  • Or by navigating to the Admin area > Overview > Users to create a new user or edit an existing one. There, you will find the option to flag the user as external.

Setting new users to external

By default, new users are not set as external users. This behavior can be changed by an administrator under the Admin Area > Settings > General > Account and limit page.

If you change the default behavior of creating new users as external, you will have the option to narrow it down by defining a set of internal users. The Internal users field allows specifying an email address regex pattern to identify default internal users. New users whose email address matches the regex pattern will be set to internal by default rather than an external collaborator.

The regex pattern format is Ruby, but it needs to be convertible to JavaScript, and the ignore case flag will be set (/regex pattern/i). Here are some examples:

  • Use \.internal@domain\.com$ to mark email addresses ending with .internal@domain.com as internal.
  • Use ^(?:(?!\.ext@domain\.com).)*$\r? to mark users with email addresses NOT including .ext@domain.com as internal.
Warning: Be aware that this regex could lead to a regular expression denial of service (ReDoS) attack.

Free Guest users

When a user is given Guest permissions on a project, group, or both, and holds no higher permission level on any other project or group on the GitLab instance, the user is considered a guest user by GitLab and will not consume a license seat. There is no other specific “guest” designation for newly created users.

If the user is assigned a higher role on any projects or groups, the user will take a license seat. If a user creates a project, the user becomes a Maintainer on the project, resulting in the use of a license seat. Also, note that if your project is internal or private, Guest users will have all the abilities that are mentioned in the permissions table above (they will not be able to browse the project’s repository for example).

Tip: To prevent a guest user from creating projects, as an admin, you can edit the user’s profile to mark the user as external. Beware though that even if a user is external, if they already have Reporter or higher permissions in any project or group, they will not be counted as a free guest user.

Auditor users

Auditor users are given read-only access to all projects, groups, and other resources on the GitLab instance.

An Auditor user should be able to access all projects and groups of a GitLab instance with the permissions described on the documentation on auditor users permissions.

Read more about Auditor users.

Project features

Project features like wiki and issues can be hidden from users depending on which visibility level you select on project settings.

  • Disabled: disabled for everyone
  • Only team members: only team members will see even if your project is public or internal
  • Everyone with access: everyone can see depending on your project visibility level
  • Everyone: enabled for everyone (only available for GitLab Pages)

GitLab CI/CD permissions

Note: In GitLab 11.0, the Master role was renamed to Maintainer.

GitLab CI/CD permissions rely on the role the user has in GitLab. There are four permission levels in total:

  • admin
  • maintainer
  • developer
  • guest/reporter

The admin user can perform any action on GitLab CI/CD in scope of the GitLab instance and project. In addition, all admins can use the admin interface under /admin/runners.

Action Guest, Reporter Developer Maintainer Admin
See commits and jobs
Retry or cancel job  
Erase job artifacts and trace   ✓ (1)
Remove project    
Create project    
Change project configuration    
Add specific runners    
Add shared runners      
See events in the system      
Admin interface      
  • 1: Only if the job was triggered by the user

Job permissions

Note: In GitLab 11.0, the Master role was renamed to Maintainer.

Note: GitLab 8.12 has a completely redesigned job permissions system. Read all about the new model and its implications.

This table shows granted privileges for jobs triggered by specific types of users:

Action Guest, Reporter Developer Maintainer Admin
Run CI job  
Clone source and LFS from current project  
Clone source and LFS from public projects  
Clone source and LFS from internal projects   ✓ (1) ✓ (1)
Clone source and LFS from private projects   ✓ (2) ✓ (2) ✓ (2)
Pull container images from current project  
Pull container images from public projects  
Pull container images from internal projects   ✓ (1) ✓ (1)
Pull container images from private projects   ✓ (2) ✓ (2) ✓ (2)
Push container images to current project  
Push container images to other projects        
Push source and LFS        
  • 1: Only if the user is not an external one
  • 2: Only if the user is a member of the project

New CI job permissions model

GitLab 8.12 has a completely redesigned job permissions system. To learn more, read through the documentation on the new CI/CD permissions model.

Running pipelines on protected branches

The permission to merge or push to protected branches is used to define if a user can run CI/CD pipelines and execute actions on jobs that are related to those branches.

See Security on protected branches for details about the pipelines security model.

LDAP users permissions

Since GitLab 8.15, LDAP user permissions can now be manually overridden by an admin user. Read through the documentation on LDAP users permissions to learn more.

Project aliases

Project aliases can only be read, created and deleted by a GitLab administrator. Read through the documentation on Project aliases to learn more.