The system services of GitLab Runner

GitLab Runner uses the Go service library to detect the underlying OS and eventually install the service file based on the init system.

Note: service installs, un-installs, starts, stops, and runs a program as a service (daemon). Windows XP+, Linux/(systemd | Upstart | SysV), and macOS/Launchd are supported.

When GitLab Runner is installed, the service file is automatically created:

  • systemd: /etc/systemd/system/gitlab-runner.service
  • upstart: /etc/init/gitlab-runner

Overriding the default service files

In some cases, you might want to override the default behavior of the service.

For example, when you upgrade GitLab Runner, you should stop it gracefully until all running jobs are finished. However, systemd, upstart, or other services may almost immediately restart the process without even noticing.

So, when you upgrade GitLab Runner, the installation script kills and restarts the runner process that was probably handling new jobs at the time.

Overriding systemd

For runners that use systemd, create /etc/systemd/system/gitlab-runner.service.d/kill.conf with the following content:

[Service]
TimeoutStopSec=7200
KillSignal=SIGQUIT

After adding these two settings to the systemd unit configuration, you can stop the runner and systemd uses SIGQUIT as the kill signal, to stop the process. Additionally, a 2h timeout is set for the stop command, which means that if any jobs don’t terminate gracefully before this timeout, systemd kills the process by using SIGKILL.

Overriding upstart

For runners that use upstart create /etc/init/gitlab-runner.override with the following content:

kill signal SIGQUIT
kill timeout 7200

After adding these two settings to the upstart unit configuration, you can stop the runner and upstart does exactly the same as systemd above.