GitLab Pages administration

Version history
  • Introduced in GitLab EE 8.3.
  • Custom CNAMEs with TLS support were introduced in GitLab EE 8.5.
  • GitLab Pages was ported to Community Edition in GitLab 8.17.
  • Support for subgroup project’s websites was introduced in GitLab 11.8.

GitLab Pages allows for hosting of static sites. It must be configured by an administrator. Separate user documentation is available.

Note: This guide is for Omnibus GitLab installations. If you have installed GitLab from source, see GitLab Pages administration for source installations.


GitLab Pages makes use of the GitLab Pages daemon, a simple HTTP server written in Go that can listen on an external IP address and provide support for custom domains and custom certificates. It supports dynamic certificates through SNI and exposes pages using HTTP2 by default. You are encouraged to read its README to fully understand how it works.

In the case of custom domains (but not wildcard domains), the Pages daemon needs to listen on ports 80 and/or 443. For that reason, there is some flexibility in the way which you can set it up:

  • Run the Pages daemon in the same server as GitLab, listening on a secondary IP.
  • Run the Pages daemon in a separate server. In that case, the Pages path must also be present in the server that the Pages daemon is installed, so you will have to share it via network.
  • Run the Pages daemon in the same server as GitLab, listening on the same IP but on different ports. In that case, you will have to proxy the traffic with a load balancer. If you choose that route note that you should use TCP load balancing for HTTPS. If you use TLS-termination (HTTPS-load balancing) the pages will not be able to be served with user provided certificates. For HTTP it’s OK to use HTTP or TCP load balancing.

In this document, we will proceed assuming the first option. If you are not supporting custom domains a secondary IP is not needed.


Before proceeding with the Pages configuration, you will need to:

  1. Have an exclusive root domain for serving GitLab Pages. Note that you cannot use a subdomain of your GitLab’s instance domain.
  2. Configure a wildcard DNS record.
  3. (Optional) Have a wildcard certificate for that domain if you decide to serve Pages under HTTPS.
  4. (Optional but recommended) Enable Shared runners so that your users don’t have to bring their own.
  5. (Only for custom domains) Have a secondary IP.
Note: If your GitLab instance and the Pages daemon are deployed in a private network or behind a firewall, your GitLab Pages websites will only be accessible to devices/users that have access to the private network.

Add the domain to the Public Suffix List

The Public Suffix List is used by browsers to decide how to treat subdomains. If your GitLab instance allows members of the public to create GitLab Pages sites, it also allows those users to create subdomains on the pages domain ( Adding the domain to the Public Suffix List prevents browsers from accepting supercookies, among other things.

Follow these instructions to submit your GitLab Pages subdomain. For instance, if your domain is, you should request that is added to the Public Suffix List. added in 2016.

DNS configuration

GitLab Pages expect to run on their own virtual host. In your DNS server/provider you need to add a wildcard DNS A record pointing to the host that GitLab runs. For example, an entry would look like this:

* 1800 IN A
* 1800 IN AAAA 2001::1

where is the domain under which GitLab Pages will be served and is the IPv4 address of your GitLab instance and 2001::1 is the IPv6 address. If you don’t have IPv6, you can omit the AAAA record.

Note: You should not use the GitLab domain to serve user pages. For more information see the security section.


Depending on your needs, you can set up GitLab Pages in 4 different ways.

The following examples are listed from the easiest setup to the most advanced one. The absolute minimum requirement is to set up the wildcard DNS since that is needed in all configurations.

Wildcard domains


URL scheme:

This is the minimum setup that you can use Pages with. It is the base for all other setups as described below. NGINX will proxy all requests to the daemon. The Pages daemon doesn’t listen to the outside world.

  1. Set the external URL for GitLab Pages in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    pages_external_url ''
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Watch the video tutorial for this configuration.

Wildcard domains with TLS support


URL scheme:

NGINX will proxy all requests to the daemon. Pages daemon doesn’t listen to the outside world.

  1. Place the certificate and key inside /etc/gitlab/ssl
  2. In /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb specify the following configuration:

    pages_external_url ''
    pages_nginx['redirect_http_to_https'] = true
    pages_nginx['ssl_certificate'] = "/etc/gitlab/ssl/pages-nginx.crt"
    pages_nginx['ssl_certificate_key'] = "/etc/gitlab/ssl/pages-nginx.key"

    where pages-nginx.crt and pages-nginx.key are the SSL cert and key, respectively.

  3. Reconfigure GitLab.

Additional configuration for Docker container

The GitLab Pages daemon will not have permissions to bind mounts when it runs in a Docker container. To overcome this issue you’ll need to change the chroot behavior:

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb.
  2. Set the inplace_chroot to true for GitLab Pages:

    gitlab_pages['inplace_chroot'] = true
  3. Reconfigure GitLab.
Note: inplace_chroot option might not work with the other features, such as Pages Access Control. The GitLab Pages README has more information about caveats and workarounds.

Global settings

Below is a table of all configuration settings known to Pages in Omnibus GitLab, and what they do. These options can be adjusted in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb, and will take effect after you reconfigure GitLab. Most of these settings don’t need to be configured manually unless you need more granular control over how the Pages daemon runs and serves content in your environment.

Setting Description
pages_external_url The URL where GitLab Pages is accessible, including protocol (HTTP / HTTPS). If https:// is used, you must also set gitlab_pages['ssl_certificate'] and gitlab_pages['ssl_certificate_key'].
access_control Whether to enable access control.
api_secret_key Full path to file with secret key used to authenticate with the GitLab API. Auto-generated when left unset.
artifacts_server Enable viewing artifacts in GitLab Pages.
artifacts_server_timeout Timeout (in seconds) for a proxied request to the artifacts server.
artifacts_server_url API URL to proxy artifact requests to. Defaults to GitLab external URL + /api/v4, for example
auth_redirect_uri Callback URL for authenticating with GitLab. Defaults to project’s subdomain of pages_external_url + /auth.
auth_secret Secret key for signing authentication requests. Leave blank to pull automatically from GitLab during OAuth registration.
dir Working directory for config and secrets files.
enable Enable or disable GitLab Pages on the current system.
external_http Configure Pages to bind to one or more secondary IP addresses, serving HTTP requests. Multiple addresses can be given as an array, along with exact ports, for example ['', '']. Sets value for listen_http.
external_https Configure Pages to bind to one or more secondary IP addresses, serving HTTPS requests. Multiple addresses can be given as an array, along with exact ports, for example ['', '']. Sets value for listen_https.
gitlab_client_http_timeout GitLab API HTTP client connection timeout in seconds (default: 10s).
gitlab_client_jwt_expiry JWT Token expiry time in seconds (default: 30s).
gitlab_id The OAuth application public ID. Leave blank to automatically fill when Pages authenticates with GitLab.
gitlab_secret The OAuth application secret. Leave blank to automatically fill when Pages authenticates with GitLab.
gitlab_server Server to use for authentication when access control is enabled; defaults to GitLab external_url.
headers Specify any additional http headers that should be sent to the client with each response.
inplace_chroot On systems that don’t support bind-mounts, this instructs GitLab Pages to chroot into its pages_path directory. Some caveats exist when using inplace chroot; refer to the GitLab Pages README for more information.
insecure_ciphers Use default list of cipher suites, may contain insecure ones like 3DES and RC4.
internal_gitlab_server Internal GitLab server address used exclusively for API requests. Useful if you want to send that traffic over an internal load balancer. Defaults to GitLab external_url.
listen_proxy The addresses to listen on for reverse-proxy requests. Pages will bind to these addresses’ network socket and receives incoming requests from it. Sets the value of proxy_pass in $nginx-dir/conf/gitlab-pages.conf.
log_directory Absolute path to a log directory.
log_format The log output format: text or json.
log_verbose Verbose logging, true/false.
max_connections Limit on the number of concurrent connections to the HTTP, HTTPS or proxy listeners.
metrics_address The address to listen on for metrics requests.
redirect_http Redirect pages from HTTP to HTTPS, true/false.
sentry_dsn The address for sending Sentry crash reporting to.
sentry_enabled Enable reporting and logging with Sentry, true/false.
sentry_environment The environment for Sentry crash reporting.
status_uri The URL path for a status page, for example, /@status.
tls_max_version Specifies the maximum SSL/TLS version (“ssl3”, “tls1.0”, “tls1.1” or “tls1.2”).
tls_min_version Specifies the minimum SSL/TLS version (“ssl3”, “tls1.0”, “tls1.1” or “tls1.2”).
use_http2 Enable HTTP2 support.
http_proxy Configure GitLab Pages to use an HTTP Proxy to mediate traffic between Pages and GitLab. Sets an environment variable http_proxy when starting Pages daemon.
pages_domain_verification_cron_worker Schedule for verifying custom GitLab Pages domains.
pages_domain_ssl_renewal_cron_worker Schedule for obtaining and renewing SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt for GitLab Pages domains.
pages_domain_removal_cron_worker Schedule for removing unverified custom GitLab Pages domains.
pages_path The directory on disk where pages are stored, defaults to GITLAB-RAILS/shared/pages.
enable Include a virtual host server{} block for Pages inside NGINX. Needed for NGINX to proxy traffic back to the Pages daemon. Set to false if the Pages daemon should directly receive all requests, for example, when using custom domains.

Advanced configuration

In addition to the wildcard domains, you can also have the option to configure GitLab Pages to work with custom domains. Again, there are two options here: support custom domains with and without TLS certificates. The easiest setup is that without TLS certificates. In either case, you’ll need a secondary IP. If you have IPv6 as well as IPv4 addresses, you can use them both.

Custom domains


URL scheme: and

In that case, the Pages daemon is running, NGINX still proxies requests to the daemon but the daemon is also able to receive requests from the outside world. Custom domains are supported, but no TLS.

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    pages_external_url ""
    nginx['listen_addresses'] = ['']
    pages_nginx['enable'] = false
    gitlab_pages['external_http'] = ['', '[2001::2]:80']

    where is the primary IP address that GitLab is listening to and and 2001::2 are the secondary IPs the GitLab Pages daemon listens on. If you don’t have IPv6, you can omit the IPv6 address.

  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Custom domains with TLS support


URL scheme: and

In that case, the Pages daemon is running, NGINX still proxies requests to the daemon but the daemon is also able to receive requests from the outside world. Custom domains and TLS are supported.

  1. Edit /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    pages_external_url ""
    nginx['listen_addresses'] = ['']
    pages_nginx['enable'] = false
    gitlab_pages['cert'] = "/etc/gitlab/ssl/"
    gitlab_pages['cert_key'] = "/etc/gitlab/ssl/"
    gitlab_pages['external_http'] = ['', '[2001::2]:80']
    gitlab_pages['external_https'] = ['', '[2001::2]:443']

    where is the primary IP address that GitLab is listening to and and 2001::2 are the secondary IPs where the GitLab Pages daemon listens on. If you don’t have IPv6, you can omit the IPv6 address.

  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Custom domain verification

To prevent malicious users from hijacking domains that don’t belong to them, GitLab supports custom domain verification. When adding a custom domain, users will be required to prove they own it by adding a GitLab-controlled verification code to the DNS records for that domain.

If your user base is private or otherwise trusted, you can disable the verification requirement. Navigate to Admin Area > Settings > Preferences and uncheck Require users to prove ownership of custom domains in the Pages section. This setting is enabled by default.

Let’s Encrypt integration

Introduced in GitLab 12.1.

GitLab Pages’ Let’s Encrypt integration allows users to add Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for GitLab Pages sites served under a custom domain.

To enable it, you’ll need to:

  1. Choose an email on which you will receive notifications about expiring domains.
  2. Navigate to your instance’s Admin Area > Settings > Preferences and expand Pages settings.
  3. Enter the email for receiving notifications and accept Let’s Encrypt’s Terms of Service as shown below.
  4. Click Save changes.

Let's Encrypt settings

Access control

Introduced in GitLab 11.5.

GitLab Pages access control can be configured per-project, and allows access to a Pages site to be controlled based on a user’s membership to that project.

Access control works by registering the Pages daemon as an OAuth application with GitLab. Whenever a request to access a private Pages site is made by an unauthenticated user, the Pages daemon redirects the user to GitLab. If authentication is successful, the user is redirected back to Pages with a token, which is persisted in a cookie. The cookies are signed with a secret key, so tampering can be detected.

Each request to view a resource in a private site is authenticated by Pages using that token. For each request it receives, it makes a request to the GitLab API to check that the user is authorized to read that site.

Pages access control is disabled by default. To enable it:

  1. Enable it in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['access_control'] = true
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.
  3. Users can now configure it in their projects’ settings.
Important: For multi-node setups, in order for this setting to be effective, it has to be applied to all the App nodes as well as the Sidekiq nodes.

Disabling public access to all Pages websites

Introduced in GitLab 12.7.

You can enforce Access Control for all GitLab Pages websites hosted on your GitLab instance. By doing so, only logged-in users will have access to them. This setting overrides Access Control set by users in individual projects.

This can be useful to preserve information published with Pages websites to the users of your instance only. To do that:

  1. Navigate to your instance’s Admin Area > Settings > Preferences and expand Pages settings.
  2. Check the Disable public access to Pages sites checkbox.
  3. Click Save changes.
Warning: This action will not make all currently public web-sites private until they redeployed. This issue among others will be resolved by changing GitLab Pages configuration mechanism.

Running behind a proxy

Like the rest of GitLab, Pages can be used in those environments where external internet connectivity is gated by a proxy. In order to use a proxy for GitLab pages:

  1. Configure in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['env']['http_proxy'] = 'http://example:8080'
  2. Reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

Using a custom Certificate Authority (CA)

Note: Before 13.2, when using Omnibus, a workaround was required.

When using certificates issued by a custom CA, Access Control and the online view of HTML job artifacts will fail to work if the custom CA is not recognized.

This usually results in this error: Post /oauth/token: x509: certificate signed by unknown authority.

For installation from source, this can be fixed by installing the custom Certificate Authority (CA) in the system certificate store.

For Omnibus, this is fixed by installing a custom CA in Omnibus GitLab.

Activate verbose logging for daemon

Verbose logging was introduced in Omnibus GitLab 11.1.

Follow the steps below to configure verbose logging of GitLab Pages daemon.

  1. By default the daemon only logs with INFO level. If you wish to make it log events with level DEBUG you must configure this in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['log_verbose'] = true
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Change storage path

Follow the steps below to change the default path where GitLab Pages’ contents are stored.

  1. Pages are stored by default in /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages. If you wish to store them in another location you must set it up in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_rails['pages_path'] = "/mnt/storage/pages"
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Configure listener for reverse proxy requests

Follow the steps below to configure the proxy listener of GitLab Pages. Introduced in Omnibus GitLab 11.1.

  1. By default the listener is configured to listen for requests on localhost:8090.

    If you wish to disable it you must configure this in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['listen_proxy'] = nil

    If you wish to make it listen on a different port you must configure this also in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['listen_proxy'] = "localhost:10080"
  2. Reconfigure GitLab.

Set maximum pages size

You can configure the maximum size of the unpacked archive per project in Admin Area > Settings > Preferences > Pages, in Maximum size of pages (MB). The default is 100MB.

Override maximum pages size per project or group

Introduced in GitLab 12.7.

To override the global maximum pages size for a specific project:

  1. Navigate to your project’s Settings > Pages page.
  2. Edit the Maximum size of pages.
  3. Click Save changes.

To override the global maximum pages size for a specific group:

  1. Navigate to your group’s Settings > General page and expand Pages.
  2. Edit the Maximum size of pages.
  3. Click Save changes.

Running GitLab Pages on a separate server

You can run the GitLab Pages daemon on a separate server in order to decrease the load on your main application server.

To configure GitLab Pages on a separate server:

Danger: The following procedure includes steps to back up and edit the gitlab-secrets.json file. This file contains secrets that control database encryption. Proceed with caution.
  1. On the GitLab server, to enable Pages, add the following to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['enable'] = true
  2. Optionally, to enable access control, add the following to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['access_control'] = true
  3. Reconfigure the GitLab server for the changes to take effect. The gitlab-secrets.json file is now updated with the new configuration.

  4. Create a backup of the secrets file on the GitLab server:

    cp /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json.bak
  5. Set up a new server. This will become the Pages server.

  6. Create an NFS share on the new server and configure this share to allow access from your main GitLab server. For this example, we use the default GitLab Pages folder /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages as the shared folder on the new server and we will mount it to /mnt/pages on the GitLab server.

  7. On the Pages server, install Omnibus GitLab and modify /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb to include:

    external_url 'http://<ip-address-of-the-server>'
    pages_external_url "http://<your-pages-server-URL>"
    postgresql['enable'] = false
    redis['enable'] = false
    prometheus['enable'] = false
    puma['enable'] = false
    sidekiq['enable'] = false
    gitlab_workhorse['enable'] = false
    gitaly['enable'] = false
    alertmanager['enable'] = false
    node_exporter['enable'] = false
    gitlab_rails['auto_migrate'] = false
  8. Create a backup of the secrets file on the Pages server:

    cp /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json.bak
  9. Copy the /etc/gitlab/gitlab-secrets.json file from the GitLab server to the Pages server.

  10. Reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

  11. On the GitLab server, make the following changes to /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb:

    gitlab_pages['enable'] = false
    pages_external_url "http://<your-pages-server-URL>"
    gitlab_rails['pages_path'] = "/mnt/pages"
  12. Reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect.

It is possible to run GitLab Pages on multiple servers if you wish to distribute the load. You can do this through standard load balancing practices such as configuring your DNS server to return multiple IPs for your Pages server, configuring a load balancer to work at the IP level, and so on. If you wish to set up GitLab Pages on multiple servers, perform the above procedure for each Pages server.


GitLab Pages are part of the regular backup, so there is no separate backup to configure.


You should strongly consider running GitLab Pages under a different hostname than GitLab to prevent XSS attacks.


open /etc/ssl/ca-bundle.pem: permission denied

GitLab Pages runs inside a chroot jail, usually in a uniquely numbered directory like /tmp/gitlab-pages-*.

Within the jail, a bundle of trusted certificates is provided at /etc/ssl/ca-bundle.pem. It’s copied there from /opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/cacert.pem as part of starting up Pages.

If the permissions on the source file are incorrect (they should be 0644) then the file inside the chroot jail will also be wrong.

Pages will log errors in /var/log/gitlab/gitlab-pages/current like:

x509: failed to load system roots and no roots provided
open /etc/ssl/ca-bundle.pem: permission denied

The use of a chroot jail makes this error misleading, as it is not referring to /etc/ssl on the root filesystem.

The fix is to correct the source file permissions and restart Pages:

sudo chmod 644 /opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/cacert.pem
sudo gitlab-ctl restart gitlab-pages

dial tcp: lookup and x509: certificate signed by unknown authority

When setting both inplace_chroot and access_control to true, you might encounter errors like:

dial tcp: lookup on [::1]:53: dial udp [::1]:53: connect: cannot assign requested address


open /opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/cacert.pem: no such file or directory
x509: certificate signed by unknown authority

The reason for those errors is that the files resolv.conf and ca-bundle.pem are missing inside the chroot. The fix is to copy the host’s /etc/resolv.conf and GitLab’s certificate bundle inside the chroot:

sudo mkdir -p /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/etc/ssl
sudo mkdir -p /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/

sudo cp /etc/resolv.conf /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/etc
sudo cp /opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/cacert.pem /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/
sudo cp /opt/gitlab/embedded/ssl/certs/cacert.pem /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/etc/ssl/ca-bundle.pem

404 error after transferring project to a different group or user

If you encounter a 404 Not Found error a Pages site after transferring a project to another group or user, you must trigger adomain configuration update for Pages. To do so, write something in the .update file. The Pages daemon monitors for changes to this file, and reloads the configuration when changes occur.

Use this example to fix a 404 Not Found error after transferring a project with Pages:

date > /var/opt/gitlab/gitlab-rails/shared/pages/.update

If you’ve customized the Pages storage path, adjust the command above to use your custom path.