Read in 7 minutes

last updated 

How To Install and Configure GitLab on CentOS 7

GitLab is a web-based open source Git repository manager written in Ruby including wiki, issue management, code review, monitoring and continuous integration and deployment. It enables developers to build,deploy and run their applications.

There are three different editions of GitLab available, Community Edition (CE), Enterprise Edition (EE), and a GitLab-hosted version.

If you want to move your projects away from GitHub then , you should definitely try[GitLab]. It can import projects and issues from different sources including GitHub, which makes the migration process hassle free. The GitLab interface is well-designed, clean, intuitive and close to GitHub’s in terms of user experience and functionality.

There are several ways to install GitLab depending on your requirements and preference. This tutorial covers the steps necessary for installing and configuring GitLab (CE) on a CentOS 7 system using the Omnibus packages.

Prerequisites

This tutorial assumes that you have a fresh CentOS 7 installation.

According to the GitLab requirements page it is recommend to use a server with:

  • at least 4GB of RAM memory
  • 2 cores
  • at least 2GB of swap space.
  • (optional) Domain or subdomain pointing to the server IP address.

For additional layer of security it is recommended to set up a basic firewall. You can follow the steps in our HHow to Set Up a Firewall with FirewallD on CentOS 7 guide.

The user you are logging in as must have sudo privileges to be able to install packages.

Installing Required Dependencies

Refresh the local package index and install the dependencies with the following commands:

sudo yum install curl policycoreutils-python openssh-server

In order for GitLab to be able to send notification emails you can either install and use Postfix or use some transactional mail service such as SendGrid, MailChimp, MailGun or SES in which case you can skip this following step and configure GitLab’s SMTP settings after the installation is completed.

Run the following commands to install Postfix on your CentOS server:

sudo yum install postfix

During the installation you will be asked to select the mail server configuration type. The default option is Internet Site. That’s the recommended option just press TAB, then ENTER. Next you’ll be prompted to enter the System mail name which should be same as your server hostname.

Once the installation is complete, start and enable the postfix service by running the following commands:

sudo systemctl start postfix
sudo systemctl enable postfix

Installing GitLab

GitLab installation is pretty straight forward process. We will install the GitLab CE package using the yum package manager.

Start by adding the GitLab repository to your system sources list using the following curl command:

curl https://packages.gitlab.com/install/repositories/gitlab/gitlab-ce/script.rpm.sh | sudo bash

The script will enable the repository and install necessary dependencies. Once complete, install the GitLab package by running the following command:

sudo yum install gitlab-ce

You will be prompted to accept the GitLab repository GPG keys. Type y and press Enter.

The installation process may take a while and after a successful installation, you will see the following output:

Thank you for installing GitLab!
...
Complete!

Adjusting the Firewall Rules

The guide about setting up a basic firewall is linked in the prerequisites section. To be able to access the GitLab interface you’ll need to open ports 80 and 443. To do so run the following commands:

sudo firewall-cmd --permanent --zone=public --add-service=http
sudo firewall-cmd --permanent --zone=public --add-service=https
sudo firewall-cmd --reload

Set the GitLab URL

Before accessing the GitLab web interface we need to set the URL on which GitLab will be reachable. Open Gitlab’s configuration file and make the following changes:

sudo nano /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb

Near the top of the configuration file you will see a line starting with external_url. Change the value to match your domain/subdomain or IP address. If you have domain use https and if you want to access the GitLab interface through you server IP address use http.

/etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb
external_url 'https://gitlab.example.com'

Next search for “Let’s Encrypt integration”, uncomment the line starting with letsencrypt['enable'] and set it to true. Optionally if you want to receive emails from Let’s Encrypt concerning your domain uncomment the line starting with letsencrypt['contact_emails'] and add your email address.

If you set the external_url to an IP address then you should not enable Let’s Encrypt integration.

/etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb
letsencrypt['enable'] = true
letsencrypt['contact_emails'] = ['[email protected]'] # This should be an array of email addresses to add as contacts

Finally save and close the file and run the following command to reconfigure Gitlab:

sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure

The command will reconfigure the GitLab settings and generate a free Let’s encrypt SSL certificate.

Configure GitLab through the Web Interface

Now that you have configured the GitLab URL you can start with the initial configuration through the GitLab web interface.

Launch your web browser and navigate to:

https://your_gitlab_domain_or_server_IP.com

1. Setting administrative account password

The first time you access the web interface you’ll be prompted to set the password for the administrative account.

Enter a secure password and click on the Change your password button when you are finished.

You will be redirected to the login page:

The default administrative account username is root. Later in this tutorial we will show you how to change the username.

  • Username: root
  • Password: [the password you have set]

Enter the login credentials, click the Sign in button and you will be redirected to the GitLab Welcome page.

2. Editing User profile

The first thing you will want to do is to edit your user profile. Click on the user avatar (upper-right corner) and from the drop down menu, select Settings:

Here you can change your Name, Email and other profile information and settings. Make the changes according to your liking.

Once you are done click on the Update Profile settings button and shortly you will receive a confirmation email to the address you provided. To confirm your account follow the instructions provided in the email.

3. Changing Username

To access the Profile page, click on the Account link from the left-hand vertical navigation menu.

As you already know the default username of the first administrative account is root. To change it just type your new username and click on the Update username button.

On this screen you can also enable two-factor authentication.

The next time you will login to your GitLab dashboard you will need to enter the new username.

4. Adding SSH Key

To be able to push your local git changes to the GitLab server you to add your SSH public key to your GitLab account.

If you already have an SSH key pair created on your local system you can display the public key by typing:

cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

The output should look something like the following:

ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAACAQDd/mnMzHwjUzK8g3ldfsfRpJuC16mhWamaXRk8ySQrD/dzpbRLfDnZsLxCzRoq+ZzFHGwcQlJergtergdHGRrO8FE5jl3IWRRp+mP12qYw== [email protected]

In case the command above prints No such file or directory it means that you do not have a SSH key pair generated on your machine.

To generate a new SSH key pair use the following command:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "[email protected]"

Copy the output from the cat command and go back to the GitLab’s web interface. Click SSH Keys from the left-hand vertical navigation menu to access the SSH Keys configuration page.

In the Key textarea paste the public key you previously copied from your local machine, set a descriptive title and click on the Add key button:

Now you should be able to push and pull your project changes from your local computer without having to provide your GitLab account credentials.

Conclusion

This tutorial walked you through the installation and configuration of GitLab on CentOS 7. You also learned how to edit your profile settings, how to change the username and add an SSH key. You can now create your first project and start using your GitLab.

If you have questions feel free to leave a comment below.