NGINX settings

Service-specific NGINX settings

Users can configure NGINX settings differently for different services via gitlab.rb. Settings for the GitLab Rails application can be configured using the nginx['<some setting>'] keys. There are similar keys for other services like pages_nginx, mattermost_nginx and registry_nginx. All the configurations available for nginx are also available for these <service_nginx> settings and share the same default values as GitLab NGINX.

If modifying via gitlab.rb, users have to configure NGINX setting for each service separately. Settings given via nginx['foo'] WILL NOT be replicated to service specific NGINX configuration (as registry_nginx['foo'] or mattermost_nginx['foo'], etc.). For example, to configure HTTP to HTTPS redirection for GitLab, Mattermost and Registry, the following settings should be added to gitlab.rb:

nginx['redirect_http_to_https'] = true
registry_nginx['redirect_http_to_https'] = true
mattermost_nginx['redirect_http_to_https'] = true
Modifying NGINX configuration should be done with care as incorrect or incompatible configuration may yield to unavailability of service.

Enable HTTPS

By default, Linux package installations do not use HTTPS. If you want to enable HTTPS for, you can:

If you use a proxy, load balancer or some other external device to terminate SSL for the GitLab host name, see External, proxy, and load balancer SSL termination.

Change the default proxy headers

By default, when you specify external_url, a Linux package installation sets a few NGINX proxy headers that are assumed to be sane in most environments.

For example, a Linux package installation sets:

  "X-Forwarded-Proto" => "https",
  "X-Forwarded-Ssl" => "on"

if you have specified https schema in the external_url.

However, if you have a situation where your GitLab is in a more complex setup like behind a reverse proxy, you will need to tweak the proxy headers in order to avoid errors like The change you wanted was rejected or Can't verify CSRF token authenticity Completed 422 Unprocessable.

This can be achieved by overriding the default headers, eg. specify in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

 nginx['proxy_set_headers'] = {
  "X-Forwarded-Proto" => "http",

Save the file and reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

This way you can specify any header supported by NGINX you require.

Configuring GitLab trusted_proxies and the NGINX real_ip module

By default, NGINX and GitLab will log the IP address of the connected client.

If your GitLab is behind a reverse proxy, you may not want the IP address of the proxy to show up as the client address.

You can have NGINX look for a different address to use by adding your reverse proxy to the real_ip_trusted_addresses list:

# Each address is added to the the NGINX config as 'set_real_ip_from <address>;'
nginx['real_ip_trusted_addresses'] = [ '', '', '2001:0db8::/32' ]
# other real_ip config options
nginx['real_ip_header'] = 'X-Forwarded-For'
nginx['real_ip_recursive'] = 'on'

Description of the options:

By default, Linux package installations use the IP addresses in real_ip_trusted_addresses as GitLab trusted proxies, which will keep users from being listed as signed in from those IPs.

Save the file and reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

Configuring the PROXY protocol

If you want to use a proxy like HAProxy in front of GitLab using the PROXY protocol, you need to enable this setting. Do not forget to set the real_ip_trusted_addresses also as needed:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    # Enable termination of ProxyProtocol by NGINX
    nginx['proxy_protocol'] = true
    # Configure trusted upstream proxies. Required if `proxy_protocol` is enabled.
    nginx['real_ip_trusted_addresses'] = [ "", "IP_OF_THE_PROXY/32"]
  2. Save the file and reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

Once enabled, NGINX only accepts PROXY protocol traffic on these listeners. Ensure to also adjust any other environments you might have, like monitoring checks.

Using a non-bundled web-server

By default, the Linux package installs GitLab with bundled NGINX. Linux package installations allow webserver access through the gitlab-www user, which resides in the group with the same name. To allow an external webserver access to GitLab, the external webserver user needs to be added to the gitlab-www group.

To use another web server like Apache or an existing NGINX installation you will have to perform the following steps:

  1. Disable bundled NGINX

    In /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb set:

    nginx['enable'] = false
  2. Set the username of the non-bundled web-server user

    By default, Linux package installations have no default setting for the external webserver user, you have to specify it in the configuration. For Debian/Ubuntu the default user is www-data for both Apache/NGINX whereas for RHEL/CentOS the NGINX user is nginx.

    Make sure you have first installed Apache/NGINX so the webserver user is created, otherwise a Linux package installation fails while reconfiguring.

    Let’s say for example that the webserver user is www-data. In /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb set:

    web_server['external_users'] = ['www-data']

    This setting is an array so you can specify more than one user to be added to gitlab-www group.

    Run sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure for the change to take effect.

    If you are using SELinux and your web server runs under a restricted SELinux profile you may have to loosen the restrictions on your web server.

    Make sure that the webserver user has the correct permissions on all directories used by external web-server, otherwise you will receive failed (XX: Permission denied) while reading upstream errors.

  3. Add the non-bundled web-server to the list of trusted proxies

    Normally, Linux package installations default the list of trusted proxies to what was configured in the real_ip module for the bundled NGINX.

    For non-bundled web-servers the list needs to be configured directly, and should include the IP address of your web-server if it is not on the same machine as GitLab. Otherwise, users will be shown as being signed in from your web-server’s IP address.

    gitlab_rails['trusted_proxies'] = [ '', '', '2001:0db8::/32' ]
  4. (Optional) Set the right GitLab Workhorse settings if using Apache

    Apache cannot connect to a UNIX socket but instead needs to connect to a TCP Port. To allow GitLab Workhorse to listen on TCP (by default port 8181) edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_workhorse['listen_network'] = "tcp"
    gitlab_workhorse['listen_addr'] = ""

    Run sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure for the change to take effect.

  5. Download the correct web server configuration

    Go to GitLab repository and download the required configuration. Select the correct configuration file depending whether you are serving GitLab with SSL or not. You might need to make some changes, such as:

    • The value of YOUR_SERVER_FQDN set to your FQDN.
    • If you use SSL, the location of your SSL keys.
    • The location of your log files.

Setting the NGINX listen address or addresses

By default NGINX will accept incoming connections on all local IPv4 addresses. You can change the list of addresses in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb.

 # Listen on all IPv4 and IPv6 addresses
nginx['listen_addresses'] = ["", "[::]"]
registry_nginx['listen_addresses'] = ['*', '[::]']
mattermost_nginx['listen_addresses'] = ['*', '[::]']
pages_nginx['listen_addresses'] = ['*', '[::]']

Setting the NGINX listen port

By default NGINX will listen on the port specified in external_url or implicitly use the right port (80 for HTTP, 443 for HTTPS). If you are running GitLab behind a reverse proxy, you may want to override the listen port to something else. For example, to use port 8081:

nginx['listen_port'] = 8081

Verbosity level of NGINX logs

By default NGINX will log at the error verbosity level. You may log at a different level by changing the log level. For example, to enable debug logging:

nginx['error_log_level'] = "debug"

Valid values can be found from the NGINX documentation.

Setting the Referrer-Policy header

By default, GitLab sets the Referrer-Policy header to strict-origin-when-cross-origin on all responses.

This makes the client send the full URL as referrer when making a same-origin request but only send the origin when making cross-origin requests.

To set this header to a different value:

nginx['referrer_policy'] = 'same-origin'

You can also disable this header to make the client use its default setting:

nginx['referrer_policy'] = false

Note that setting this to origin or no-referrer would break some features in GitLab that require the full referrer URL.

Disabling Gzip compression

By default, GitLab enables Gzip compression for text data over 10240 bytes. To disable this behavior:

nginx['gzip_enabled'] = false
The gzip setting only works for the main GitLab application and not for the other services.

Disabling proxy request buffering

Request buffering can be disabled selectively on specific locations by changing request_buffering_off_path_regex.

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    nginx['request_buffering_off_path_regex'] = "/api/v\\d/jobs/\\d+/artifacts$|/import/gitlab_project$|\\.git/git-receive-pack$|\\.git/gitlab-lfs/objects|\\.git/info/lfs/objects/batch$"
  2. Reconfigure GitLab, and HUP NGINX to cause it to reload with the updated configuration gracefully:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
    sudo gitlab-ctl hup nginx

Configure robots.txt

To configure robots.txt for your instance, specify a custom robots.txt file by adding a custom NGINX configuration:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    nginx['custom_gitlab_server_config'] = "\nlocation =/robots.txt { alias /path/to/custom/robots.txt; }\n"
  2. Reconfigure GitLab:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure

Inserting custom NGINX settings into the GitLab server block

Please keep in mind that these custom settings may create conflicts if the same settings are defined in your gitlab.rb file.

If you need to add custom settings into the NGINX server block for GitLab for some reason you can use the following setting.

# Example: block raw file downloads from a specific repository
nginx['custom_gitlab_server_config'] = "location ^~ /foo-namespace/bar-project/raw/ {\n deny all;\n}\n"

Run gitlab-ctl reconfigure to rewrite the NGINX configuration and restart NGINX.

This inserts the defined string into the end of the server block of /var/opt/gitlab/nginx/conf/gitlab-http.conf.


  • If you’re adding a new location, you might need to include

    proxy_cache off;
    proxy_http_version 1.1;
    proxy_pass http://gitlab-workhorse;

    in the string or in the included NGINX configuration. Without these, any sub-location will return a 404. See GitLab CE Issue #30619.

  • You cannot add the root / location or the /assets location as those already exist in gitlab-http.conf.

Inserting custom settings into the NGINX configuration

If you need to add custom settings into the NGINX configuration, for example to include existing server blocks, you can use the following setting.

# Example: include a directory to scan for additional config files
nginx['custom_nginx_config'] = "include /etc/gitlab/nginx/sites-enabled/*.conf;"

You should create custom server blocks in the /etc/gitlab/nginx/sites-available directory. To enable them, symlink them into the /etc/gitlab/nginx/sites-enabled directory:

  1. Create the /etc/gitlab/nginx/sites-enabled directory.
  2. Run the following command:

    sudo ln -s /etc/gitlab/nginx/sites-available/example.conf /etc/gitlab/nginx/sites-enabled/example.conf 

You can add domains for server blocks as an alternative name to the generated Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.

Run gitlab-ctl reconfigure to rewrite the NGINX configuration and restart NGINX. You must reload NGINX (gitlab-ctl hup nginx) or restart NGINX (gitlab-ctl restart nginx) whenever you make changes to the custom server blocks.

This inserts the defined string into the end of the http block of /var/opt/gitlab/nginx/conf/nginx.conf.

Custom NGINX settings inside the /etc/gitlab/ directory are backed up to /etc/gitlab/config_backup/ during an upgrade and when sudo gitlab-ctl backup-etc is manually executed.

Custom error pages

You can use custom_error_pages to modify text on the default GitLab error page. This can be used for any valid HTTP error code; e.g 404, 502.

As an example the following would modify the default 404 error page.

nginx['custom_error_pages'] = {
  '404' => {
    'title' => 'Example title',
    'header' => 'Example header',
    'message' => 'Example message'

This would result in the 404 error page below.

custom 404 error page

Run gitlab-ctl reconfigure to rewrite the NGINX configuration and restart NGINX.

Using an existing Passenger/NGINX installation

In some cases you may want to host GitLab using an existing Passenger/NGINX installation but still have the convenience of updating and installing using the Linux packages.

When disabling NGINX, you won’t be able to access other services included in a Linux package installation such as Mattermost unless you manually add them in nginx.conf.


First, you’ll need to setup your /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb to disable the built-in NGINX and Puma:

# Define the external url
external_url ''

# Disable the built-in nginx
nginx['enable'] = false

# Disable the built-in puma
puma['enable'] = false

# Set the internal API URL
gitlab_rails['internal_api_url'] = ''

# Define the web server process user (ubuntu/nginx)
web_server['external_users'] = ['www-data']

Make sure you run sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure for the changes to take effect.

If you are running a version older than 8.16.0, you will have to manually remove the Unicorn service file (/opt/gitlab/service/unicorn), if exists, for reconfigure to succeed.

Vhost (server block)

GitLab 13.5 changed the default workhorse socket location from /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-workhorse/socket to /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-workhorse/sockets/socket. Please update the following configuration accordingly if upgrading from versions older than 13.5.

Then, in your custom Passenger/NGINX installation, create the following site configuration file:

upstream gitlab-workhorse {
  server unix://var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-workhorse/sockets/socket fail_timeout=0;

server {
  listen *:80;
  server_tokens off;
  root /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-rails/public;

  client_max_body_size 250m;

  access_log  /var/log/gitlab/nginx/gitlab_access.log;
  error_log   /var/log/gitlab/nginx/gitlab_error.log;

  # Ensure Passenger uses the bundled Ruby version
  passenger_ruby /opt/gitlab/embedded/bin/ruby;

  # Correct the $PATH variable to included packaged executables
  passenger_env_var PATH "/opt/gitlab/bin:/opt/gitlab/embedded/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin";

  # Make sure Passenger runs as the correct user and group to
  # prevent permission issues
  passenger_user git;
  passenger_group git;

  # Enable Passenger & keep at least one instance running at all times
  passenger_enabled on;
  passenger_min_instances 1;

  location ~ ^/[\w\.-]+/[\w\.-]+/(info/refs|git-upload-pack|git-receive-pack)$ {
    # 'Error' 418 is a hack to re-use the @gitlab-workhorse block
    error_page 418 = @gitlab-workhorse;
    return 418;

  location ~ ^/[\w\.-]+/[\w\.-]+/repository/archive {
    # 'Error' 418 is a hack to re-use the @gitlab-workhorse block
    error_page 418 = @gitlab-workhorse;
    return 418;

  location ~ ^/api/v3/projects/.*/repository/archive {
    # 'Error' 418 is a hack to re-use the @gitlab-workhorse block
    error_page 418 = @gitlab-workhorse;
    return 418;

  # Build artifacts should be submitted to this location
  location ~ ^/[\w\.-]+/[\w\.-]+/builds/download {
      client_max_body_size 0;
      # 'Error' 418 is a hack to re-use the @gitlab-workhorse block
      error_page 418 = @gitlab-workhorse;
      return 418;

  # Build artifacts should be submitted to this location
  location ~ /ci/api/v1/builds/[0-9]+/artifacts {
      client_max_body_size 0;
      # 'Error' 418 is a hack to re-use the @gitlab-workhorse block
      error_page 418 = @gitlab-workhorse;
      return 418;

  # Build artifacts should be submitted to this location
  location ~ /api/v4/jobs/[0-9]+/artifacts {
      client_max_body_size 0;
      # 'Error' 418 is a hack to re-use the @gitlab-workhorse block
      error_page 418 = @gitlab-workhorse;
      return 418;

  # For protocol upgrades from HTTP/1.0 to HTTP/1.1 we need to provide Host header if its missing
  if ($http_host = "") {
  # use one of values defined in server_name
    set $http_host_with_default "";

  if ($http_host != "") {
    set $http_host_with_default $http_host;

  location @gitlab-workhorse {

    ## Some requests take more than 30 seconds.
    proxy_read_timeout      3600;
    proxy_connect_timeout   300;
    proxy_redirect          off;

    # Do not buffer Git HTTP responses
    proxy_buffering off;

    proxy_set_header    Host                $http_host_with_default;
    proxy_set_header    X-Real-IP           $remote_addr;
    proxy_set_header    X-Forwarded-For     $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
    proxy_set_header    X-Forwarded-Proto   $scheme;

    proxy_http_version 1.1;
    proxy_pass http://gitlab-workhorse;

    ## The following settings only work with NGINX 1.7.11 or newer
    ## Pass chunked request bodies to gitlab-workhorse as-is
    # proxy_request_buffering off;
    # proxy_http_version 1.1;

  ## Enable gzip compression as per rails guide:
  ## WARNING: If you are using relative urls remove the block below
  ## See config/application.rb under "Relative url support" for the list of
  ## other files that need to be changed for relative url support
  location ~ ^/(assets)/ {
    root /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-rails/public;
    gzip_static on; # to serve pre-gzipped version
    expires max;
    add_header Cache-Control public;

  error_page 502 /502.html;

Don’t forget to update in the above example to be your server URL.

If you wind up with a 403 forbidden, it’s possible that you haven’t enabled passenger in /etc/nginx/nginx.conf, to do so simply uncomment:

# include /etc/nginx/passenger.conf;

Then run sudo service nginx reload.

Enabling/Disabling nginx_status

By default you will have an NGINX health-check endpoint configured at to monitor your NGINX server status.

The following information will be displayed

Active connections: 1
server accepts handled requests
 18 18 36
Reading: 0 Writing: 1 Waiting: 0
  • Active connections – Open connections in total.
  • 3 figures are shown.
    • All accepted connections.
    • All handled connections.
    • Total number of handled requests.
  • Reading: NGINX reads request headers
  • Writing: NGINX reads request bodies, processes requests, or writes responses to a client
  • Waiting: Keep-alive connections. This number depends on the keepalive-timeout.

Configuration options

Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

nginx['status'] = {
  "listen_addresses" => [""],
  "fqdn" => "",
  "port" => 9999,
  "options" => {
    "access_log" => "on", # Disable logs for stats
    "allow" => "", # Only allow access from localhost
    "deny" => "all" # Deny access to anyone else

If you don’t find this service useful for your current infrastructure you can disable it with:

nginx['status'] = {
  'enable' => false

Make sure you run sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure for the changes to take effect.


To ensure that user uploads are accessible your NGINX user (usually www-data) should be added to the gitlab-www group. This can be done using the following command:

sudo usermod -aG gitlab-www www-data


Other than the Passenger configuration in place of Puma and the lack of HTTPS (although this could be enabled) these files are mostly identical to:

Don’t forget to restart NGINX to load the new configuration (on Debian-based systems sudo service nginx restart).


400 Bad Request: too many Host headers

Make sure you don’t have the proxy_set_header configuration in nginx['custom_gitlab_server_config'] settings and instead use the ‘proxy_set_headers’ configuration in your gitlab.rb file. Received fatal alert: handshake_failure

Linux package installations don’t support TLSv1 protocol by default. This can cause connection issues with some older Java based IDE clients when interacting with your GitLab instance. We strongly urge you to upgrade ciphers on your server, similar to what was mentioned in this user comment.

If it is not possible to make this server change, you can default back to the old behavior by changing the values in your /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

nginx['ssl_protocols'] = "TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3"

Mismatch between private key and certificate

If you see x509 certificate routines:X509_check_private_key:key values mismatch) in the NGINX logs (/var/log/gitlab/nginx/current by default for Omnibus), there is a mismatch between your private key and certificate.

To fix this, you will need to match the correct private key with your certificate.

To ensure you have the correct key and certificate, you can ensure that the modulus of the private key and certificate match:

/opt/gitlab/embedded/bin/openssl rsa -in /etc/gitlab/ssl/ -noout -modulus | /opt/gitlab/embedded/bin/openssl sha256

/opt/gitlab/embedded/bin/openssl x509 -in /etc/gitlab/ssl/ -noout -modulus| /opt/gitlab/embedded/bin/openssl sha256

Once you verify that they match, you will need to reconfigure and reload NGINX:

sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
sudo gitlab-ctl hup nginx

Request Entity Too Large

If you see Request Entity Too Large in the NGINX logs, you will need to increase the Client Max Body Size. You may encounter this error if you have increased the Max import size. In a Kubernetes-based GitLab installation, this setting is named differently.

To increase the client_max_body_size, you will need to set the value in your /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

nginx['client_max_body_size'] = '250m'

Make sure you run sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure and run sudo gitlab-ctl hup nginx to cause NGINX to reload the with the updated configuration To increase the client_max_body_size:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb and set the preferred value:

    nginx['client_max_body_size'] = '250m'
  2. Reconfigure GitLab, and HUP NGINX to cause it to reload with the updated configuration gracefully:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
    sudo gitlab-ctl hup nginx

Security scan is showing a “NGINX HTTP Server Detection” warning

Some security scanners detect issues when they see the Server: nginx http header. Most scanners with this alert will notify as Low or Info severity. See Nessus as an example.

We recommend ignoring this warning, as the benefit of removing the header is low, and its presence helps support the NGINX project in usage statistics. We do provide a way to turn off the header with hide_server_tokens:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb and set the value:

    nginx['hide_server_tokens'] = 'on'
  2. Reconfigure GitLab, and hup NGINX to cause it to reload the with the updated configuration gracefully:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
    sudo gitlab-ctl hup nginx

502: Bad Gateway when SELinux and external NGINX are used

On Linux servers with SELinux enabled, after setting up an external NGINX, the error 502: Bad Gateway may be observed when accessing the GitLab UI. You can also see the error in NGINX’s logs:

connect() to unix:/var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-workhorse/sockets/socket failed (13:Permission denied) while connecting to upstream

Select one of the following options to fix:

  • Update to GitLab 14.3 or later which contains an updated SELinux policy.
  • Fetch and update the policy manually:

    semodule -i gitlab-13.5.0-gitlab-shell.pp

Branch 'branch_name' was not found in this project's repository when Web IDE and external NGINX are used

If you get this error, check your NGINX configuration file if you have a trailing slash in proxy_pass and remove it:

  1. Edit your NGINX configuration file:

  2. Restart NGINX:

    sudo systemctl restart nginx

GitLab is presenting 502 errors and worker_connections are not enough in logs

If you get a worker_connections are not enough error in the logs, configure the NGINX worker connections to a higher value:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab['nginx']['worker_connections'] = 10240
  2. Reconfigure GitLab:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure

The default value is 10240 connections.