This document describes how to deploy the GitLab Operator via manifests in your Kubernetes or OpenShift cluster.

If using OpenShift, these steps normally are handled by OLM (the Operator Lifecycle Manager) once an operator is bundle published. However, to test the most recent operator images, users may need to install the operator using the deployment manifests available in the operator repository.


Please consult the “Prerequisites” section of the installation page.

Installing the GitLab Operator

  1. Clone the GitLab Operator repository to your local system.

    git clone
    cd gitlab-operator
  2. Deploy the GitLab Operator.

    kubectl create namespace gitlab-system
    task deploy_operator # or "task deploy_operator_openshift"

    This command first deploys the service accounts, roles and role bindings used by the operator, and then the operator itself.

    When working on a merge request, override the default latest tag used by the deploy_operator by setting the TAG environment variable to the name of your branch. For example: TAG=my-mr-branch-name task deploy_operator.

    You must deploy GitLab to the operator namespace. Other namespaces aren’t supported.
  3. Create a GitLab custom resource (CR).

    Create a new file named something like mygitlab.yaml.

    Here is an example of the content to put in this file:

    kind: GitLab
      name: gitlab
        version: "X.Y.Z" # select a version from the CHART_VERSIONS file in the root of this project
              domain: # use a real domain here
              configureCertmanager: true
            email: # use your real email address here

    For more details on configuration options to use under spec.chart.values, see our GitLab Helm Chart documentation.

  4. Deploy a GitLab instance using your new GitLab CR.

    kubectl -n gitlab-system apply -f mygitlab.yaml

    This command sends your GitLab CR up to the cluster for the GitLab Operator to reconcile. You can watch the progress by tailing the logs from the controller pod:

    kubectl -n gitlab-system logs deployment/gitlab-controller-manager -c manager -f

    You can also list GitLab resources and check their status:

    kubectl get gitlabs -n gitlab-system

    When the CR is reconciled (the status of the GitLab resource will be RUNNING), you can access GitLab in your browser at

Updating the GitLab Operator

It’s the same command for installing, but you might have to add --force to override any previously-cached results.

task --force deploy_operator


Certain operations like file removal under config/ directory may not trigger rebuild/redeploy, in which cases one should employ:

task clean

This will remove all of the build artifacts and the install record.


Follow the steps below to remove the GitLab Operator and its associated resources.

Items to note prior to uninstalling the operator:

  • The operator does not delete the Persistent Volume Claims or Secrets when a GitLab instance is deleted.
  • When deleting the Operator, the namespace where it is installed (gitlab-system by default) will not be deleted automatically. This is to ensure persistent volumes are not lost unintentionally.

Uninstall an instance of GitLab

kubectl -n gitlab-system delete -f mygitlab.yaml

This will remove the GitLab instance, and all associated objects except for (PVCs as noted above).

Uninstall the GitLab Operator

task delete_operator

This will delete the Operator’s resources, including the running Deployment. It will not delete objects associated with a GitLab instance.