Activate GitLab Enterprise Edition (EE) (PREMIUM SELF)

When you install a new GitLab instance without a license, it only has the Free features enabled. To enable all features of GitLab Enterprise Edition (EE), activate your instance with an activation code or a license file. When the license expires, some functionality is locked.

Verify your GitLab edition

To activate your instance, make sure you are running GitLab Enterprise Edition (EE).

To verify the edition, sign in to GitLab and select Help ({question-o}) > Help. The GitLab edition and version are listed at the top of the page.

If you are running GitLab Community Edition (CE), upgrade your installation to GitLab EE. For more details, see Upgrading between editions. If you have questions or need assistance upgrading from GitLab CE to EE, contact GitLab Support.

Activate GitLab EE with an activation code

In GitLab Enterprise Edition 14.1 and later, you need an activation code to activate your instance. To get an activation code, purchase a license or sign up for a free trial. The activation code is a 24-character alphanumeric string you receive in a confirmation email. You can also sign in to the Customers Portal to copy the activation code to your clipboard.

To activate your instance with an activation code:

  1. Sign in to your GitLab self-managed instance.
  2. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  3. On the left sidebar, select Subscription.
  4. Enter the activation code in Activation code.
  5. Read and accept the terms of service.
  6. Select Activate.

Activate GitLab EE with a license file

If you receive a license file from GitLab (for example, for a trial), you can upload it to your instance or add it during installation. The license file is a base64-encoded ASCII text file with a .gitlab-license extension.

Upload your license

The first time you sign in to your GitLab instance, a note with a link to the Upload license page should be displayed.

Otherwise, to upload your license:

  1. Sign in to GitLab as an administrator.
  2. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  3. On the left sidebar, select Settings.
  4. In the License file area, select Upload a license.
  5. Upload a license:
    • For a file, select Upload .gitlab-license file, Choose file, and select the license file from your local machine.
    • For plain text, select Enter license key and paste the contents in License key.
  6. Select the Terms of Service checkbox.
  7. Select Upload License.

Add your license during installation

You can import a license file when you install GitLab.

  • For installations from source

    • Place the Gitlab.gitlab-license file in the config/ directory.

    • To specify a custom location and filename for the license, set the GITLAB_LICENSE_FILE environment variable with the path to the file:

      export GITLAB_LICENSE_FILE="/path/to/license/file"
  • For Omnibus package

    • Place the Gitlab.gitlab-license file in the /etc/gitlab/ directory.

    • To specify a custom location and filename for the license, add this entry to gitlab.rb:

      gitlab_rails['initial_license_file'] = "/path/to/license/file"

WARNING: These methods only add a license at the time of installation. To renew or upgrade a license, upload the license in the Admin Area in the web user interface.

What happens when your license expires

Fifteen days before the license expires, a notification banner with the upcoming expiration date displays to GitLab administrators.

When your license expires, GitLab locks features, like Git pushes and issue creation. Your instance becomes read-only and an expiration message displays to all administrators. You have a 14-day grace period before this occurs.

To resume functionality, upload a new license.

To go back to Free features, delete all expired licenses.

Remove a license file

To remove a license file from a self-managed instance:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Subscription.
  3. Select Remove license.

Repeat these steps to remove all licenses, including those applied in the past.

View license details and history

To view your license details:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Admin.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Subscription.

You can upload and view more than one license, but only the latest license in the current date range is the active license.

When you upload a future-dated license, it doesn't take effect until its applicable date. You can view all active subscriptions in the Subscription history table.

NOTE: In GitLab 13.6 and earlier, a banner about an expiring license may continue to display when you upload a new license. This happens when the start date of the new license is in the future and the expiring one is still active. The banner disappears after the new license becomes active.


No Subscription area in the Admin Area

You cannot upload your license because there is no Subscription area. This issue might occur if:

Users exceed license limit upon renewal

GitLab displays a message prompting you to purchase additional users. This issue occurs if you upload a license that does not have enough users to cover the number of users in your instance.

To fix this issue, purchase additional seats to cover those users. For more information, read the licensing FAQ.

In GitLab 14.2 and later, for instances that use a license file, the following rules apply:

  • If the users over license are less than or equal to 10% of the users in the license file, the license is applied and you pay the overage in the next renewal.
  • If the users over license are more than 10% of the users in the license file, you cannot apply the license without purchasing more users.

For example, if you purchase a license for 100 users, you can have 110 users when you activate your license. However, if you have 111 users, you must purchase more users before you can activate the license.

Cannot activate instance due to connectivity error

In GitLab 14.1 and later, to activate your subscription with an activation code, your GitLab instance must be connected to the internet.

If you have an offline or airgapped environment, upload a license file instead.

If you have questions or need assistance activating your instance, contact GitLab Support.