Repository mirroring (FREE)

You can mirror a repository to and from external sources. You can select which repository serves as the source. Branches, tags, and commits are synced automatically.

NOTE: SCP-style URLs are not supported. However, the work for implementing SCP-style URLs is tracked in this issue. Subscribe to the issue to follow its progress.

Several mirroring methods exist:

  • Push: Mirror a repository from GitLab to another location.
  • Pull: Mirror a repository from another location to a GitLab Premium instance.
  • Bidirectional mirroring is also available, but can cause conflicts.

Mirror a repository when:

  • The canonical version of your project has migrated to GitLab. To keep providing a copy of your project at its previous home, configure your GitLab repository as a push mirror. Changes you make to your GitLab repository are copied to the old location.
  • Your GitLab instance is private, but you want to open-source some projects.
  • You migrated to GitLab, but the canonical version of your project is somewhere else. Configure your GitLab repository as a pull mirror of the other project. Your GitLab repository pulls copies of the commits, tags, and branches of project. They become available to use on GitLab.

Create a repository mirror


  • You must have at least the Maintainer role for the project.
  • If your mirror connects with ssh://, the host key must be detectable on the server, or you must have a local copy of the key.
  1. On the top bar, select Main menu > Projects and find your project.

  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Repository.

  3. Expand Mirroring repositories.

  4. Enter a Git repository URL. For security reasons, the URL to the original repository is only displayed to users with the Maintainer role or the Owner role for the mirrored project.

  5. Select a Mirror direction.

  6. If you entered a ssh:// URL, select either:

    • Detect host keys: GitLab fetches the host keys from the server and displays the fingerprints.
    • Input host keys manually, and enter the host key into SSH host key.

    When mirroring the repository, GitLab confirms at least one of the stored host keys matches before connecting. This check can protect your mirror from malicious code injections, or your password from being stolen.

  7. Select an Authentication method. For more information, see Authentication methods for mirrors.

  8. If you authenticate with SSH host keys, verify the host key to ensure it is correct.

  9. To prevent force-pushing over diverged refs, select Keep divergent refs.

  10. Optional. Select Mirror only protected branches.

  11. Select Mirror repository.

If you select SSH public key as your authentication method, GitLab generates a public key for your GitLab repository. You must provide this key to the non-GitLab server. For more information, see Get your SSH public key.

Update a mirror

When the mirror repository is updated, all new branches, tags, and commits are visible in the project's activity feed. A repository mirror at GitLab updates automatically. You can also manually trigger an update:

Force an update

While mirrors are scheduled to update automatically, you can force an immediate update unless:

  • The mirror is already being updated.
  • The interval, in seconds for pull mirroring limits has not elapsed after its last update.


  • You must have at least the Maintainer role for the project.
  1. On the top bar, select Main menu > Projects and find your project.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Repository.
  3. Expand Mirroring repositories.
  4. Scroll to Mirrored repositories and identify the mirror to update.
  5. Select Update now ({retry}): Repository mirroring force update user interface

Mirror only protected branches

You can choose to mirror only the protected branches in the mirroring project, either from or to your remote repository. For pull mirroring, non-protected branches in the mirroring project are not mirrored and can diverge.

To use this option, select Only mirror protected branches when you create a repository mirror.

Mirror specific branches

Mirroring branches matching a regex introduced in GitLab 15.8 with a flag named mirror_only_branches_match_regex. Disabled by default.

FLAG: On self-managed GitLab, by default the field mirror_branch_regex is not available. To make it available, ask an administrator to enable the feature flag named mirror_only_branches_match_regex. On, this feature is not available.

To mirror only branches with names matching an re2 regular expression, enter a regular expression into the Mirror specific branches field. Branches with names that do not match the regular expression are not mirrored.

Authentication methods for mirrors

When you create a mirror, you must configure the authentication method for it. GitLab supports these authentication methods:

When using password authentication, ensure you specify the username. For a project access token or group access token, use the username (not token name) and the token as the password.

SSH authentication

SSH authentication is mutual:

  • You must prove to the server that you're allowed to access the repository.
  • The server must also prove to you that it's who it claims to be.

For SSH authentication, you provide your credentials as a password or public key. The server that the other repository resides on provides its credentials as a host key. You must verify the fingerprint of this host key manually.

If you're mirroring over SSH (using an ssh:// URL), you can authenticate using:

  • Password-based authentication, just as over HTTPS.
  • Public key authentication. This method is often more secure than password authentication, especially when the other repository supports deploy keys.

Get your SSH public key

When you mirror a repository and select the SSH public key as your authentication method, GitLab generates a public key for you. The non-GitLab server needs this key to establish trust with your GitLab repository. To copy your SSH public key:

  1. On the top bar, select Main menu > Projects and find your project.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Repository.
  3. Expand Mirroring repositories.
  4. Scroll to Mirrored repositories.
  5. Identify the correct repository, and select Copy SSH public key ({copy-to-clipboard}).
  6. Add the public SSH key to the other repository's configuration:
    • If the other repository is hosted on GitLab, add the public SSH key as a deploy key.
    • If the other repository is hosted elsewhere, add the key to your user's authorized_keys file. Paste the entire public SSH key into the file on its own line and save it.

If you must change the key at any time, you can remove and re-add the mirror to generate a new key. Update the other repository with the new key to keep the mirror running.

NOTE: The generated keys are stored in the GitLab database, not in the file system. Therefore, SSH public key authentication for mirrors cannot be used in a pre-receive hook.

Verify a host key

When using a host key, always verify the fingerprints match what you expect. and other code hosting sites publish their fingerprints for you to check:

Other providers vary. You can securely gather key fingerprints with the following command if you:

  • Run self-managed GitLab.
  • Have access to the server for the other repository.
$ cat /etc/ssh/ssh_host*pub | ssh-keygen -E md5 -l -f -
256 MD5:f4:28:9f:23:99:15:21:1b:bf:ed:1f:8e:a0:76:b2:9d (ECDSA)
256 MD5:e6:eb:45:8a:3c:59:35:5f:e9:5b:80:12:be:7e:22:73 (ED25519)
2048 MD5:3f:72:be:3d:62:03:5c:62:83:e8:6e:14:34:3a:85:1d (RSA)

Older versions of SSH may require you to remove -E md5 from the command.

Related topics


Should an error occur during a push, GitLab displays an Error highlight for that repository. Details on the error can then be seen by hovering over the highlight text.

Received RST_STREAM with error code 2 with GitHub

If you receive this message while mirroring to a GitHub repository:

13:Received RST_STREAM with error code 2

Your GitHub settings might be set to block pushes that expose your email address used in commits. To fix this problem, either:

Deadline Exceeded

When upgrading GitLab, a change in how usernames are represented means that you must update your mirroring username and password to ensure that %40 characters are replaced with @.

Connection blocked because server only allows public key authentication

The connection between GitLab and the remote repository is blocked. Even if a TCP Check is successful, you must check any networking components in the route from GitLab to the remote server for blockage.

This error can occur when a firewall performs a Deep SSH Inspection on outgoing packets.

Could not read username: terminal prompts disabled

If you receive this error after creating a new project using GitLab CI/CD for external repositories:

  • In Bitbucket Cloud:

    "2:fetch remote: "fatal: could not read Username for '':
    terminal prompts disabled\n": exit status 128."
  • In Bitbucket Server (self-managed):

    "2:fetch remote: "fatal: could not read Username for '':
    terminal prompts disabled\n": exit status 128.

Check if the repository owner is specified in the URL of your mirrored repository:

  1. On the top bar, select Main menu > Projects and find your project.

  2. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Repository.

  3. Expand Mirroring repositories.

  4. If no repository owner is specified, delete and add the URL again in this format, replacing OWNER, ACCOUNTNAME, PATH_TO_REPO, and REPONAME with your values:

    • In Bitbucket Cloud:
    • In Bitbucket Server (self-managed):

When connecting to the Cloud or self-managed Bitbucket repository for mirroring, the repository owner is required in the string.

Pull mirror is missing LFS files

In some cases, pull mirroring does not transfer LFS files. This issue occurs when:

  • You use an SSH repository URL. The workaround is to use an HTTPS repository URL instead. An issue exists to fix this problem for SSH URLs.
  • You're using GitLab 14.0 or older, and the source repository is a public Bitbucket URL. Fixed in GitLab 14.0.6.
  • You mirror an external repository using object storage. An issue exists to fix this problem.

The repository is being updated, but neither fails nor succeeds visibly

In rare cases, mirroring slots on Redis can become exhausted, possibly because Sidekiq workers are reaped due to out-of-memory (OoM) events. When this occurs, mirroring jobs start and complete quickly, but they neither fail nor succeed. They also do not leave a clear log. To check for this problem:

  1. Enter the Rails console and check Redis' mirroring capacity:

    current = Gitlab::Redis::SharedState.with { |redis| redis.scard('MIRROR_PULL_CAPACITY') }.to_i
    maximum = Gitlab::CurrentSettings.mirror_max_capacity
    available = maximum - current
  2. If the mirroring capacity is 0 or very low, you can drain all stuck jobs with:

    Gitlab::Redis::SharedState.with { |redis| redis.smembers('MIRROR_PULL_CAPACITY') }.each do |pid|
      Gitlab::Redis::SharedState.with { |redis| redis.srem('MIRROR_PULL_CAPACITY', pid) }
  3. After you run the command, the background jobs page should show new mirroring jobs being scheduled, especially when triggered manually.

Invalid URL

If you receive this error while setting up mirroring over SSH, make sure the URL is in a valid format.

Mirroring does not support the short version of SSH clone URLs ( and requires the full version including the protocol (ssh://

Make sure that host and project path are separated using / instead of :.

Host key verification failed

This error is returned when the target host public SSH key changes. Public SSH keys rarely, if ever, change. If host key verification fails, but you suspect the key is still valid, you can refresh the key's information.


  • You must have at least the Maintainer role for a project.

To resolve the issue:

  1. Verify the host key.

  2. On the top bar, select Main menu > Projects and find your project.

  3. On the left sidebar, select Settings > Repository.

  4. Expand Mirroring repositories.

  5. To refresh the keys, either:

    • Select Detect host keys for GitLab to fetch the host keys from the server, and display the fingerprints.
    • Select Input host keys manually, and enter the host key into the SSH host key field.
  • Select Mirror repository.

Transfer mirror users and tokens to a single service account in Rails console

This requires access to the GitLab Rails console.

Use case: If you have multiple users using their own GitHub credentials to set up repository mirroring, mirroring breaks when people leave the company. Use this script to migrate disparate mirroring users and tokens into a single service account:

WARNING: Commands that change data can cause damage if not run correctly or under the right conditions. Always run commands in a test environment first and have a backup instance ready to restore.

svc_user = User.find_by(username: 'ourServiceUser')
token = 'githubAccessToken'

Project.where(mirror: true).each do |project|
  import_url = project.import_url

  # The url we want is https://token@project/path.git
  repo_url = if import_url.include?('@')
               # Case 1: The url is something like https://23423432@project/path.git
             elsif import_url.include?('//')
               # Case 2: The url is something like https://project/path.git

  next unless repo_url

  final_url = "https://#{token}@#{repo_url}"

  project.mirror_user = svc_user
  project.import_url = final_url
  project.username_only_import_url = final_url