How do you... use the GitLab droplet?

I tried installing the Gitlab droplet via Digitalocean. Gitlab’s own article on this was outdated actually

this one

It shows a “Gitlab CE” available in the list, but alas there is only Gitlab enterprise edition. I didn’t see any notice about additional costs so I assume Gitlab has some kind of partnership with DigitalOcean that makes the additional cost included with the droplet? I have no idea, anyway…

It installed. I’m going to first describe my experience with another droplet just so everyone knows where my expectations were at before I started doing this.

When I installed a Mastodon droplet:

  • The droplet finished installing
  • A letsencrypt cert was created automatically
  • SSHing into the server brought me to a setup wizard
  • I didn’t have to think. Like, not even a little bit.

When I installed the Gitlab droplet

  • The droplet finished installing
  • now what?
  • provided instructions say to go to IP address for setup
  • IP address says connection refused
  • no further information or prompts after SSHing into the server

So for me this is dead droplet now without further research. I have no idea what stage I’m at in the installation because up to this point it was all done for me. If anyone has completed the droplet installation successfully, can you share your secrets?

I personally prefer to use a server prepared by myself rather than DigitalOcean’s prepared droplets. It’s very easy to just install a basic Droplet or VM with just an operating system like Ubuntu, and then follow these instructions: Download and install GitLab | GitLab

The instructions literally have 3 steps. First step install the dependencies, second step download and run the script to add the Gitlab CE or EE repository (by changing gitlab-ee to gitlab-ce), and then step 3 where you install Gitlab and pass the external URL (FQDN of your new VM or Droplet as configured in DNS). Then you have a working installation of Gitlab.

All the Gitlab documentation can help you with installing as well as configuring Gitlab for any other features you may or may not want to use (eg: disable stuff to free up memory).

Also by doing it manually you also learn something about installing and configuring Gitlab, rather than relying on a droplet that should work but as you found doesn’t and you have no idea what to do because DigitalOcean’s documentation either didn’t tell you or is wrong.

Also the link you provided above is a blog post from 2016, Gitlab has moved on since then, things have changed. Hence best to use the official Gitlab docs which are up-to-date, or follow DigitalOcean’s droplet documentation (assuming they have some and it’s up-to-date).

I would just like to add for my own benefit that I have installed Gitlab manually before, and was happy to learn I might not have to do it again. Maybe it’s simpler now, I’ll give it a go in case it takes less than an hour.