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Install an offline self-managed GitLab instance

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This is a step-by-step guide that helps you install, configure, and use a self-managed GitLab instance entirely offline.


NOTE: This guide assumes the server is Ubuntu 20.04 using the Omnibus installation method and is running GitLab Enterprise Edition. Instructions for other servers may vary. This guide also assumes the server host resolves as my-host.internal, which you should replace with your server's FQDN, and that you have access to a different server with Internet access to download the required package files.

For a video walkthrough of this process, see Offline GitLab Installation: Downloading & Installing.

Download the GitLab package

You should manually download the GitLab package and relevant dependencies using a server of the same operating system type that has access to the Internet.

If your offline environment has no local network access, you must manually transport the relevant package through physical media, such as a USB drive.

In Ubuntu, this can be performed on a server with Internet access using the following commands:

# Download the bash script to prepare the repository
curl --silent "" | sudo bash

# Download the gitlab-ee package and dependencies to /var/cache/apt/archives
sudo apt-get install --download-only gitlab-ee

# Copy the contents of the apt download folder to a mounted media device
sudo cp /var/cache/apt/archives/*.deb /path/to/mount

Install the GitLab package


  • Before installing the GitLab package on your offline environment, ensure that you have installed all required dependencies first.

If you are using Ubuntu, you can install the dependency .deb packages you copied across with dpkg. Do not install the GitLab package yet.

# Go to the physical media device
sudo cd /path/to/mount

# Install the dependency packages
sudo dpkg -i <package_name>.deb

Use the relevant commands for your operating system to install the package but make sure to specify an http URL for the EXTERNAL_URL installation step. Once installed, we can manually configure the SSL ourselves.

It is strongly recommended to set up a domain for IP resolution rather than bind to the server's IP address. This better ensures a stable target for our certs' CN and makes long-term resolution simpler.

The following example for Ubuntu specifies the EXTERNAL_URL using HTTP and installs the GitLab package:

sudo EXTERNAL_URL="http://my-host.internal" dpkg -i <gitlab_package_name>.deb

Enabling SSL

Follow these steps to enable SSL for your fresh instance. These steps reflect those for manually configuring SSL in Omnibus's NGINX configuration:

  1. Make the following changes to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    # Update external_url from "http" to "https"
    external_url "https://my-host.internal"
    # Set Let's Encrypt to false
    letsencrypt['enable'] = false
  2. Create the following directories with the appropriate permissions for generating self-signed certificates:

    sudo mkdir -p /etc/gitlab/ssl
    sudo chmod 755 /etc/gitlab/ssl
    sudo openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout /etc/gitlab/ssl/my-host.internal.key -out /etc/gitlab/ssl/my-host.internal.crt
  3. Reconfigure your instance to apply the changes:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure

Enabling the GitLab container registry

Follow these steps to enable the container registry. These steps reflect those for configuring the container registry under an existing domain:

  1. Make the following changes to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    # Change external_registry_url to match external_url, but append the port 4567
    external_url ""
    registry_external_url ""
  2. Reconfigure your instance to apply the changes:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure

Allow the Docker daemon to trust the registry and GitLab Runner

Provide your Docker daemon with your certs by following the steps for using trusted certificates with your registry:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/docker/certs.d/my-host.internal:5000

sudo cp /etc/gitlab/ssl/my-host.internal.crt /etc/docker/certs.d/my-host.internal:5000/ca.crt

Provide your GitLab Runner (to be installed next) with your certs by following the steps for using trusted certificates with your runner:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/gitlab-runner/certs

sudo cp /etc/gitlab/ssl/my-host.internal.crt /etc/gitlab-runner/certs/ca.crt

Enabling GitLab Runner

Following a similar process to the steps for installing our GitLab Runner as a Docker service, we must first register our runner:

$ sudo docker run --rm -it -v /etc/gitlab-runner:/etc/gitlab-runner gitlab/gitlab-runner register
Updating CA certificates...
Runtime platform                                    arch=amd64 os=linux pid=7 revision=1b659122 version=12.8.0
Running in system-mode.

Please enter the gitlab-ci coordinator URL (for example,
Please enter the gitlab-ci token for this runner:
Please enter the gitlab-ci description for this runner:
Please enter the gitlab-ci tags for this runner (comma separated):

Registering runner... succeeded                     runner=FSMwkvLZ
Please enter the executor: custom, docker, virtualbox, kubernetes, docker+machine, docker-ssh+machine, docker-ssh, parallels, shell, ssh:
Please enter the default Docker image (for example, ruby:2.6):
Runner registered successfully. Feel free to start it, but if it's running already the config should be automatically reloaded!

Now we must add some additional configuration to our runner:

Make the following changes to /etc/gitlab-runner/config.toml:

  • Add Docker socket to volumes volumes = ["/var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock", "/cache"]
  • Add pull_policy = "if-not-present" to the executor configuration

Now we can start our runner:

sudo docker run -d --restart always --name gitlab-runner -v /etc/gitlab-runner:/etc/gitlab-runner -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock gitlab/gitlab-runner:latest

Authenticating the registry against the host OS

As noted in Docker registry authentication documentation, certain versions of Docker require trusting the certificate chain at the OS level.

In the case of Ubuntu, this involves using update-ca-certificates:

sudo cp /etc/docker/certs.d/my-host.internal\:5000/ca.crt /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/my-host.internal.crt

sudo update-ca-certificates

If all goes well, this is what you should see:

1 added, 0 removed; done.
Running hooks in /etc/ca-certificates/update.d...

Disable Version Check and Service Ping

Version Check and Service Ping improve the GitLab user experience and ensure that users are on the most up-to-date instances of GitLab. These two services can be turned off for offline environments so that they do not attempt and fail to reach out to GitLab services.

For more information, see Enable or disable service ping.

Configure NTP

In GitLab 15.4 and 15.5, Gitaly Cluster assumes is accessible. If is not accessible, customize the time server setting on the Gitaly and Praefect servers so they can use an accessible NTP server.

On offline instances, the GitLab Geo check Rake task always fails because it uses This error can be ignored but you can read more about how to work around it.

Enabling the Package Metadata Database

Enabling the Package Metadata Database is required to enable Continuous Vulnerability Scanning and license scanning of CycloneDX files. This process requires the use of License and/or Advisory Data under what is collectively called the Package Metadata Database, which is licensed under the EE License. Note the following in relation to use of the Package Metadata Database:

  • We may change or discontinue all or any part of the Package Metadata Database, at any time and without notice, at our sole discretion.
  • The Package Metadata Database may contain links to third-party websites or resources. We provide these links only as a convenience and are not responsible for any third-party data, content, products, or services from those websites or resources or links displayed on such websites.
  • The Package Metadata Database is based in part on information made available by third parties, and GitLab is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of content made available.

Package metadata is stored in the following Google Cloud Provider (GCP) buckets:

  • License Scanning - prod-export-license-bucket-1a6c642fc4de57d4
  • Dependency Scanning - prod-export-advisory-bucket-1a6c642fc4de57d4

Using the gsutil tool to download the package metadata exports

  1. Install the gsutil tool.

  2. Find the root of the GitLab Rails directory.

    export GITLAB_RAILS_ROOT_DIR="$(gitlab-rails runner 'puts Rails.root.to_s')"
  3. Set the type of data you wish to sync.

    # For License Scanning
    export PKG_METADATA_BUCKET=prod-export-license-bucket-1a6c642fc4de57d4
    export DATA_DIR="licenses"
    # For Dependency Scanning
    export PKG_METADATA_BUCKET=prod-export-advisory-bucket-1a6c642fc4de57d4
    export DATA_DIR="advisories"
  4. Download the package metadata exports.

    # To download the package metadata exports, an outbound connection to Google Cloud Storage bucket must be allowed.
    # Skip v1 objects using -y "^v1\/" to only download v2 objects. v1 data is no longer used and deprecated since 16.3.
    mkdir -p "$GITLAB_RAILS_ROOT_DIR/vendor/package_metadata/$DATA_DIR"
    gsutil -m rsync -r -d -y "^v1\/" gs://$PKG_METADATA_BUCKET "$GITLAB_RAILS_ROOT_DIR/vendor/package_metadata/$DATA_DIR"
    # Alternatively, if the GitLab instance is not allowed to connect to the Google Cloud Storage bucket, the package metadata
    # exports can be downloaded using a machine with the allowed access, and then copied to the root of the GitLab Rails directory.
    rsync rsync://$DATA_DIR "$GITLAB_RAILS_ROOT_DIR/vendor/package_metadata/$DATA_DIR"

Using the Google Cloud Storage REST API to download the package metadata exports

The package metadata exports can also be downloaded using the Google Cloud Storage API. The contents are available at and The following is an example of how this can be downloaded using cURL and jq.


set -euo pipefail


GITLAB_RAILS_ROOT_DIR="$(gitlab-rails runner 'puts Rails.root.to_s')"

if [ "$DATA_TYPE" == "license" ]; then
elif [ "$DATA_TYPE" == "advisory" ]; then
  echo "Usage: [license|advisory]"
  exit 1


# Download the contents of the bucket
# Filter results using `prefix=v2` to only download v2 objects. v1 data is no longer used and deprecated since 16.3.
# The script downloads all the objects and creates files with a maximum 1000 objects per file in JSON format.


curl --silent --show-error --request GET "$PKG_METADATA_BUCKET/o?maxResults=$MAX_RESULTS&prefix=v2%2f" >"$TEMP_FILE"
NEXT_PAGE_TOKEN="$(jq -r '.nextPageToken' $TEMP_FILE)"
jq -r '.items[] | [.name, .mediaLink] | @tsv' "$TEMP_FILE" >"$PKG_METADATA_DOWNLOADS_OUTPUT_FILE"

while [ "$NEXT_PAGE_TOKEN" != "null" ]; do
  curl --silent --show-error --request GET "$PKG_METADATA_BUCKET/o?maxResults=$MAX_RESULTS&pageToken=$NEXT_PAGE_TOKEN&prefix=v2%2f" >"$TEMP_FILE"
  NEXT_PAGE_TOKEN="$(jq -r '.nextPageToken' $TEMP_FILE)"
  jq -r '.items[] | [.name, .mediaLink] | @tsv' "$TEMP_FILE" >>"$PKG_METADATA_DOWNLOADS_OUTPUT_FILE"
  #use for API rate-limiting
  sleep 1

trap 'rm -f "$TEMP_FILE"' EXIT

echo "Fetched $DATA_TYPE export manifest"

# Parse the links and names for the bucket objects and output them into a tsv file

echo -e "Saving package metadata exports to $PKG_METADATA_DIR\n"

# Track how many objects will be downloaded

# Download the objects
while IFS= read -r line; do
  FILE="$(echo -n "$line" | awk '{print $1}')"
  URL="$(echo -n "$line" | awk '{print $2}')"

  echo "Downloading $FILE"

  if [ ! -f "$OUTPUT_PATH" ]; then
    curl --progress-bar --create-dirs --output "$OUTPUT_PATH" --request "GET" "$URL"
    echo "Existing file found"

  echo -e "$INDEX of $TOTAL_OBJECT_COUNT objects downloaded\n"

  INDEX=$((INDEX + 1))

echo "All objects saved to $PKG_METADATA_DIR"

Automatic synchronization

Your GitLab instance is synchronized regularly with the contents of the package_metadata directory. To automatically update your local copy with the upstream changes, a cron job can be added to periodically download new exports. For example, the following crontabs can be added to set up a cron job that runs every 30 minutes.

For License Scanning:

*/30 * * * * gsutil -m rsync -r -d -y "^v1\/" gs://prod-export-license-bucket-1a6c642fc4de57d4 $GITLAB_RAILS_ROOT_DIR/vendor/package_metadata/licenses

For Dependency Scanning:

*/30 * * * * gsutil -m rsync -r -d gs://prod-export-advisory-bucket-1a6c642fc4de57d4 $GITLAB_RAILS_ROOT_DIR/vendor/package_metadata/advisories

Change note

The directory for package metadata changed with the release of 16.2 from vendor/package_metadata_db to vendor/package_metadata/licenses. If this directory already exists on the instance and Dependency Scanning needs to be added then you need to take the following steps.

  1. Rename the licenses directory: mv vendor/package_metadata_db vendor/package_metadata/licenses.

  2. Update any automation scripts or commands saved to change vendor/package_metadata_db to vendor/package_metadata/licenses.

  3. Update any cron entries to change vendor/package_metadata_db to vendor/package_metadata/licenses.

    sed -i '.bckup' -e 's#vendor/package_metadata_db#vendor/package_metadata/licenses#g' [FILE ...]


Missing database data

If license or advisory data is missing from the dependency list or MR pages, one possible cause of this is that the database has not been synchronized with the export data.

package_metadata synchronization is triggered by using cron jobs (advisory sync and license sync) and imports only the package registry types enabled in admin settings.

The file structure in vendor/package_metadata must coincide with the package registry type enabled above. For example, to sync maven license or advisory data, the package metadata directory under the Rails directory must have the following structure:

  • For licenses:$GITLAB_RAILS_ROOT_DIR/vendor/package_metadata/licenses/v2/maven/**/*.ndjson.
  • For advisories:$GITLAB_RAILS_ROOT_DIR/vendor/package_metadata/advisories/v2/maven/**/*.ndjson.

After a successful run, data under the pm_ tables in the database should be populated (check using Rails console):

  • For licenses: sudo gitlab-rails runner "puts \"Package model has #{PackageMetadata::Package.where(purl_type: 'maven').size} packages\""
  • For advisories: sudo gitlab-rails runner "puts \"Advisory model has #{PackageMetadata::AffectedPackage.where(purl_type: 'maven').size} packages\""

Additionally, checkpoint data should exist for the particular package registry being synchronized. For Maven, for example, there should be a checkpoint created after a successful sync run:

  • For licenses: sudo gitlab-rails runner "puts \"maven data has been synced up to #{PackageMetadata::Checkpoint.where(data_type: 'licenses', purl_type: 'maven')}\""
  • For advisories: sudo gitlab-rails runner "puts \"maven data has been synced up to #{PackageMetadata::Checkpoint.where(data_type: 'advisories', purl_type: 'maven')}\""

Finally, you can check the application_json.log logs to verify that the sync job has run and is without error by searching for DEBUG messages where the class is PackageMetadata::SyncService. Example: {"severity":"DEBUG","time":"2023-06-22T16:41:00.825Z","correlation_id":"a6e80150836b4bb317313a3fe6d0bbd6","class":"PackageMetadata::SyncService","message":"Evaluating data for licenses:gcp/prod-export-license-bucket-1a6c642fc4de57d4/v2/pypi/1694703741/0.ndjson"}.