Service Desk

Tier: Free, Premium, Ultimate Offering:, Self-managed

With Service Desk, your customers can email you bug reports, feature requests, or general feedback. Service Desk provides a unique email address, so they don’t need their own GitLab accounts.

Service Desk emails are created in your GitLab project as new issues. Your team can respond directly from the project, while customers interact with the thread only through email.

For a video overview, see Introducing GitLab Service Desk (GitLab 16.7).

Service Desk workflow

For example, let’s assume you develop a game for iOS or Android. The codebase is hosted in your GitLab instance, built and deployed with GitLab CI/CD.

Here’s how Service Desk works for you:

  1. You provide a project-specific email address to your paying customers, who can email you directly from the application.
  2. Each email they send creates an issue in the appropriate project.
  3. Your team members go to the Service Desk issue tracker, where they can see new support requests and respond inside associated issues.
  4. Your team communicates with the customer to understand the request.
  5. Your team starts working on implementing code to solve your customer’s problem.
  6. When your team finishes the implementation, the merge request is merged and the issue is closed automatically.


  • The customer interacts with your team entirely through email, without needing access to your GitLab instance.
  • Your team saves time by not having to leave GitLab (or set up integrations) to follow up with your customer.

Troubleshooting Service Desk

Emails to Service Desk do not create issues

Your emails might be ignored because they contain one of the email headers that GitLab ignores.

Email ingestion doesn’t work in 16.6.0 self-managed

GitLab self-managed 16.6.0 introduced a regression that prevents mail_room (email ingestion) from starting. Service Desk and other reply-by-email features don’t work. Issue 432257 tracks fixing this problem.

The workaround is to run the following commands in your GitLab installation to patch the affected files:

Linux package (Omnibus)
curl --output /tmp/mailroom.patch --url ""
patch -p1 -d /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-rails < /tmp/mailroom.patch
gitlab-ctl restart mailroom
curl --output /tmp/mailroom.patch --url ""
cd /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-rails
patch -p1 < /tmp/mailroom.patch
gitlab-ctl restart mailroom