Upgrading from a non-Linux package installation to a Linux package installation

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

Upgrading from non-Linux package installations has not been tested by GitLab.

Please be advised that you lose your settings in files such as gitlab.yml, puma.rb and smtp_settings.rb. You must configure those settings in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb.

Before starting the migration, ensure that you are moving to exactly the same version of GitLab. To convert your installation to using the Linux package:

  1. Create a backup from your current installation:

    cd /home/git/gitlab
    sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:backup:create RAILS_ENV=production
  2. Install GitLab using a Linux package.
  3. Copy the backup file to the directory /var/opt/gitlab/backups/ of the new server.
  4. Restore the backup in the new installation (detailed instructions):

    # This command will overwrite the contents of your GitLab database!
    sudo gitlab-backup restore BACKUP=<FILE_NAME>

    The restore takes a few minutes depending on the size of you database and Git data.

  5. Configure the new installation because in Linux package installations, all settings are stored in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb. Individual settings need to be manually moved from files such as gitlab.yml, puma.rb and smtp_settings.rb. See the gitlab.rb template for all available options.
  6. To finalize the configuration process, copy the secrets from the old installation to the new one. GitLab uses secrets to multiple purposes, like database encryption, session encryption, and so on. In Linux package installations, all secrets are placed in a single file /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json, whereas in source installations, the secrets are placed in multiple files:
    1. First, you need to restore secrets related to Rails. Copy the values of db_key_base, secret_key_base and otp_key_base from /home/git/gitlab/config/secrets.yml (self-compiled installation) to the equivalent ones in /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json (Linux package installation).
    2. Then, copy the contents of /home/git/gitlab-shell/.gitlab_shell_secret (GitLab source) to GitLab Shell’s secret_token in /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json (Linux package installation). It will look something like:

         "gitlab_workhorse": {
           "secret_token": "..."
         "gitlab_shell": {
           "secret_token": "..."
         "gitlab_rails": {
           "secret_key_base": "...",
           "db_key_base": "...",
           "otp_key_base": "...",
  7. Reconfigure GitLab to apply the changes:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
  8. If you migrated /home/git/gitlab-shell/.gitlab_shell_secret, you also need to restart Gitaly:

    sudo gitlab-ctl restart gitaly

Upgrading from a non-Linux package PostgreSQL to a Linux package installation using a backup

Upgrade by creating a backup from the non-Linux package installation and restoring this in the Linux package installation. Ensure you are using exactly equal versions of GitLab (for example 6.7.3) when you do this. You might have to upgrade your non-Linux package installation before creating the backup to achieve this.

After upgrading make sure that you run the check task:

sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:check

If you receive an error similar to No such file or directory @ realpath_rec - /home/git, run this one liner to fix the Git hooks path:

find . -lname /home/git/gitlab-shell/hooks -exec sh -c 'ln -snf /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-shell/hooks $0' {} \;

This assumes that gitlab-shell is located in /home/git.

Upgrading from a non-Linux package PostgreSQL to a Linux package installation in-place

It is also possible to upgrade a self-compiled installation to a Linux package installation in-place. Below we assume you are using PostgreSQL on Ubuntu, and that you have an Linux package matching your current GitLab version. We also assume that your source installation of GitLab uses all the default paths and users.

First, stop and disable GitLab, Redis and NGINX.

# Ubuntu
sudo service gitlab stop
sudo update-rc.d gitlab disable

sudo service nginx stop
sudo update-rc.d nginx disable

sudo service redis-server stop
sudo update-rc.d redis-server disable

If you are using a configuration management system to manage GitLab on your server, remember to also disable GitLab and its related services there. Also note that in the following steps, the existing home directory of the Git user (/home/git) will be changed to /var/opt/gitlab.

Next, create a gitlab.rb file for your new setup:

sudo mkdir /etc/gitlab
sudo tee -a /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb <<'EOF'
# Use your own GitLab URL here
external_url 'http://gitlab.example.com'

# We assume your repositories are in /home/git/repositories (default for source installs)
git_data_dirs({ 'default' => { 'path' => '/home/git' } })

# Re-use the PostgreSQL that is already running on your system
postgresql['enable'] = false
# This db_host setting is for Debian PostgreSQL packages
gitlab_rails['db_host'] = '/var/run/postgresql/'
gitlab_rails['db_port'] = 5432
# We assume you called the GitLab DB user 'git'
gitlab_rails['db_username'] = 'git'

Now install the Linux package and reconfigure the installation:

sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure

You are not done yet! The gitlab-ctl reconfigure run has changed the home directory of the Git user, so OpenSSH can no longer find its authorized_keys file. Rebuild the keys file with the following command:

sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:shell:setup

You should now have HTTP and SSH access to your GitLab server with the repositories and users that were there before.

If you can log into the GitLab web interface, the next step is to reboot your server to make sure none of the old services interfere with the Linux package installation.

If you are using special features such as LDAP you will have to put your settings in gitlab.rb, see the settings documentation.