From ArchWiki

Gitolite allows you to host Git repositories for multiple users easily and securely.


Install the gitolite package.


Installing gitolite automatically adds the gitolite user to the system, with home directory /var/lib/gitolite.

Admin SSH access

To give yourself admin access, copy your SSH public key to /var/lib/gitolite/, where username is your username.

# install -o gitolite -g gitolite ~/.ssh/ /var/lib/gitolite/

Then run the Gitolite setup script as the gitolite user:

[gitolite]$ gitolite setup -pk /var/lib/gitolite/

This puts your public key into the gitolite-admin keydir and gives your username RW+ access to the gitolite-admin repository

You can now remove the copy of your SSH public key:

# rm /var/lib/gitolite/

Now as your user you can check that everything went correctly

$ ssh gitolite@hostname info
hello username, this is gitolite@hostname running gitolite3 v3.6.2 on git 2.3.3

 R W    gitolite-admin
 R W    testing

Do not add repositories or users directly as gitolite on the server! The server must be managed by cloning the special gitolite-admin repository:

$ git clone gitolite@hostname:gitolite-admin

For reference see Gitolite.

Create a repository

To create a repository, first check out the gitolite-admin repository as a client.

$ git clone gitolite@server:gitolite-admin

Append a new repository to gitolite-admin/conf/gitolite.conf:

repo repository_name
    RW+     =   @all

Commit and push the changes and gitolite will automatically generate the necessary files on the server.

Adding http(s) access via Apache (with basic authentication)

We need to create an suEXEC wrapper script. To satisfy suEXEC's security requirements, the script and the directory containing it must be owned by gitolite:gitolite and below /srv/http in the directory hierarchy. For this example, we create the directory as /srv/http/git/cgi-bin.

# install -o gitolite -g gitolite -d /srv/http/git/cgi-bin

Create an suEXEC wrapper for the gitolite shell with the contents below. For this example, we create it as /srv/http/git/cgi-bin/gitolite-suexec-wrapper.

# suEXEC wrapper for gitolite-shell

export GIT_PROJECT_ROOT=/var/lib/gitolite/repositories
export GITOLITE_HTTP_HOME=/var/lib/gitolite

exec /usr/lib/gitolite/gitolite-shell

Make the wrapper executable and owned by gitolite:gitolite.

# chown gitolite:gitolite /srv/http/git/cgi-bin/gitolite-suexec-wrapper
# chmod 0755 /srv/http/git/cgi-bin/gitolite-suexec-wrapper

Create an empty password database file, owned by gitolite:http

# install -o gitolite -g http -m 0640 /dev/null /srv/http/git/htpasswd

Apache's basic authentication mechanism is separate from ssh, and therefore requires a separate set of credentials. Create your web users using htpasswd.

# htpasswd /srv/http/git/htpasswd username

Add the following to your Apache vhost configuration:

SuexecUserGroup gitolite gitolite
ScriptAlias /git/ /srv/http/git/cgi-bin/gitolite-suexec-wrapper/

<Directory /srv/http/git/cgi-bin>
    Require all granted

<Location /git>
    AuthType Basic
    AuthName "Git Access"
    AuthBasicProvider file
    AuthUserFile /srv/http/git/htpasswd
    Require valid-user

Restart httpd.service.

Finally, in the gitolite-admin repository you cloned in the previous section, edit conf/gitolite.conf, add an R = daemon access rule to all repositories you want to make available via http, and push the changes.

Add users

ssh users

Ask each user who will get access to send you an SSH public key. Rename each public key to, where username is the user name which will be used in gitolite.conf. Then move all new public keys to the keydir directory in the cloned gitolite-admin repository. You can also organize them into various sub-directories of keydir if you wish, since the entire tree is searched.

Finally commit and push the changes.

See the add/remove users in the official documentation for details.

To grant access rights to the new users, edit the configuration file (conf/gitolite.conf in the gitolite-admin repository). See the .conf file in the official documentation for details.

http(s) users

User management for http(s) is more suitable for single-user setups. To add a new user or to change an existing user's password:

# htpasswd /srv/http/git/htpasswd username


In case you cannot log in with the gitolite account, it may be caused by the account being locked, and depending of your ssh configuration.

If you have done some SSH hardening, it may be the cause of this behavior, as noted in SSH and locked users Article and Unix & Linux StackExchange - How to unlock account for public key ssh authorization, but not for password authorization.

To solve this, you have to allow PAM in sshd_config or unlock the account by:

# usermod -p '*' gitolite
Warning: Do not leave the account in the state left by passwd -u (with a blank password field). Doing that will allow logins without entering a password!

See also