Step-by-Step Guide: How to Create a New Repo in GitLab

Creating a new repository in GitLab is an essential skill for developers and teams looking to manage their code efficiently. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process, from logging into GitLab to pushing your first commit and beyond. Whether you’re new to GitLab or looking to refine your workflow, this guide provides clear instructions and key takeaways to help you succeed.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to create a GitLab account and log in using various methods.
  • Understand the layout of the GitLab Projects Dashboard and how to navigate it.
  • Discover the steps to create a new project and set its visibility settings.
  • Gain insights into initializing a new repository and configuring its options.
  • Explore advanced features like GitLab CI/CD and integrating with other tools.

Logging into GitLab

Creating a GitLab Account

To get started with GitLab, you’ll first need to create an account. Visit the GitLab website and click on the Sign Up button. Fill in your details, including your name, email, and password. After submitting the form, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Click on the link in the email to verify your account. Once verified, you can log in using your credentials.

Creating a GitLab account is the first step in your journey to mastering GitLab’s powerful features.

Using Third-Party Sign-In Options

If you prefer, you can sign in with third-party services like Google, LinkedIn, or GitHub. On the login page, select the service you want to use. You’ll be redirected to the service’s login page, where you can enter your credentials. After successful authentication, you’ll be redirected back to GitLab, logged in and ready to start your first project.

Navigating to the Projects Dashboard

Understanding the Dashboard Layout

The GitLab dashboard is your central hub for managing projects. It provides a comprehensive overview of your repositories, issues, and merge requests. Familiarizing yourself with this layout will streamline your workflow and make it easier to access essential features. The dashboard is divided into several sections:

  • Projects: View and manage your repositories.
  • Groups: Organize projects and users into logical groups.
  • Activity: Monitor recent activities and updates.
  • Milestones: Track project milestones and deadlines.

Accessing Your Projects

To access your projects, navigate to the Projects tab on the left sidebar. Here, you can view all your repositories, both personal and those shared with you. If you have GitLab Ultimate, you can also access advanced features like project insights and analytics. Simply click on a project name to open its detailed view, where you can manage settings, view code, and collaborate with team members.

Creating a New Project

To create a new project in GitLab, follow these steps:

  • From your dashboard, click the green New project button.
  • Choose whether to create a blank project or use a template.
  • For a blank project:
    1. Fill in the name of your project in the Project name field. No special characters. This will automatically set the Project slug. You can also set the slug and have it generate the project name.
    2. Enter the project description, if you have one. This is optional, but useful for telling projects apart or reminding.

Initializing a New Repository

Understanding Repository Settings

When you create a new project in GitLab, a new repository is automatically initialized. This repository serves as the central hub for your codebase, allowing you and your team to collaborate effectively. Make sure not to forget to initialize the project, or it simply will not work. You can configure various settings to tailor the repository to your needs, such as branch protection rules and merge request approvals.

Configuring Repository Options

Once your repository is initialized, you can configure several options to optimize your workflow. These options include setting up issue tracking, enabling or disabling wikis, and configuring CI/CD pipelines. For those using GitLab Premium, additional features like code quality checks and security scans are available. Here’s a quick checklist to get you started:

  • Enable issue tracking
  • Set up CI/CD pipelines
  • Configure branch protection rules
  • Enable wikis

Properly configuring your repository settings can save you a lot of time and headaches down the road. Make sure to review all available options to make the most out of your GitLab repository.

Connecting Your Local Repository to GitLab

To connect your local repository to GitLab, you’ll need to configure your Git settings and set up a remote repository. This process ensures that your local changes can be pushed to GitLab for version control and collaboration.

Pushing Your First Commit

developer pushing code to a new repository on GitLab

Once you’ve set up your local repository and made some changes, it’s time to push your first commit to GitLab. This step is crucial as it ensures that your local changes are reflected in the remote repository, enabling effective collaboration with your team members.

Cloning an Existing Repository

Using Git Clone Command

Cloning a repository allows you to create a local copy of a remote repository. This is particularly useful when you want to contribute to an existing project or use it as a starting point for your own work. To clone a repository, you can use either SSH or HTTPS protocols. Here are the steps to clone a repository using the Git clone command:

  1. Navigate to the repository you want to clone on GitLab.
  2. Click on the ‘Clone’ button and copy the URL (either SSH or HTTPS).
  3. Open your terminal or Git Bash.
  4. Type git clone <repository_url> and press Enter.

Setting Up Cloned Repository

Once you have cloned the repository, you need to set it up for development. This involves configuring the repository settings and ensuring that all dependencies are installed. Here are the steps to set up your cloned repository:

  1. Navigate to the cloned repository directory using cd <repository_name>.
  2. Install any necessary dependencies by following the instructions in the repository’s README file.
  3. Configure your Git settings, such as user name and email, if you haven’t already.
  4. Verify that the repository is set up correctly by running any initial tests or build commands.

Cloning and setting up a repository is a straightforward process that allows you to quickly get started with development. Make sure to follow the repository’s guidelines to ensure a smooth setup.

Managing Repository Settings

Managing your repository settings in GitLab is crucial for maintaining control over your codebase and ensuring smooth collaboration. This section will guide you through the essential settings you need to configure.

Adjusting Access Permissions

Access permissions are vital for controlling who can view, edit, and manage your repository. In GitLab, you can set different permission levels for users, such as Guest, Reporter, Developer, Maintainer, and Owner. Adjusting these permissions ensures that only authorized personnel can make changes to your codebase.

To adjust access permissions:

  1. Navigate to your project’s settings.
  2. Select ‘Members’ from the sidebar.
  3. Add or remove users and assign the appropriate role.

Configuring Webhooks

Webhooks allow you to automate workflows by sending real-time data to other services when certain events occur in your repository. For instance, you can trigger a CI/CD pipeline or notify a chat application when a new commit is pushed.

To configure webhooks:

  1. Go to your project’s settings.
  2. Click on ‘Webhooks’ in the sidebar.
  3. Add a new webhook URL and select the events you want to trigger.

Setting up webhooks can significantly enhance your team’s productivity by automating repetitive tasks and ensuring that everyone stays informed about important changes.

By following these steps, you can get started managing code effectively in GitLab. Properly configured access permissions and webhooks are essential for a well-maintained and secure repository.

Exploring Advanced Features

GitLab CI/CD is a powerful tool for automating your software development lifecycle. By enabling GitLab CI/CD, you can streamline your build, test, and deployment processes. This feature allows you to define a pipeline in a .gitlab-ci.yml file, which GitLab will use to execute your jobs. The CI/CD pipeline can be customized to fit your project’s needs, ensuring that your code is always in a deployable state.

GitLab offers seamless integration with a variety of third-party tools, enhancing your development workflow. You can connect your GitLab projects with tools like Jira for issue tracking, Jenkins for additional CI/CD capabilities, and Slack for team communication. These integrations help you manage your projects more efficiently and keep your team in sync.

For a comprehensive guide on enabling GitLab Pages for projects, including configuring user settings, creating project repositories, and managing GitLab Pages settings for website deployment, refer to the official GitLab documentation.

Collaborating with Team Members

Inviting Collaborators

To start collaborating on your project, you need to invite team members. Navigate to your project’s settings and find the Members section. Here, you can add users by their username or email. Assign appropriate roles to each member to control their access levels.

Setting Up Merge Requests

Merge requests are essential for team collaboration. They allow you to review and manage changes before integrating them into the main branch. To create a merge request, go to the Merge Requests tab in your project. Fill in the necessary details and submit it for review. This process ensures that all changes are thoroughly vetted and approved by the team.

Effective collaboration in GitLab involves clear communication and structured workflows. Utilize merge requests and role assignments to maintain project integrity and streamline teamwork.

Monitoring Repository Activity

Using GitLab Analytics

GitLab provides a comprehensive suite of analytics tools to help you monitor your repository’s activity. Project statistics and usage trends can be easily accessed through the analytics dashboards. These tools allow you to track various metrics, such as commit frequency, merge request activity, and issue resolution times. By leveraging these insights, you can make informed decisions to improve your project’s efficiency.

Setting Up Notifications

To stay updated on your repository’s activity, you can configure notifications for various events. GitLab allows you to set up notifications for new commits, merge requests, and issues. This ensures that you are always aware of important changes and can respond promptly. Notifications can be customized to suit your preferences, ensuring you receive only the most relevant updates.

Monitoring your repository’s activity is crucial for maintaining an efficient workflow. By utilizing GitLab’s analytics and notification features, you can stay on top of your project’s progress and address any issues promptly.


Creating a new repository in GitLab is a straightforward process that can significantly streamline your project management and collaboration efforts. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this guide, you can easily set up a new repo, whether starting from scratch or using an existing local repository. Remember, GitLab offers a range of features and settings to customize your repository to fit your specific needs, from privacy settings to continuous integration. With these tools at your disposal, you’re well-equipped to manage your code efficiently and collaborate effectively with your team. Happy coding!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create a GitLab account?

To create a GitLab account, visit the GitLab website and click on the ‘Sign Up’ button. You can register using your email address or sign up using third-party options like Google or LinkedIn.

Can I use GitLab without a GitLab account?

No, you need to have a GitLab account to create and manage repositories. You can sign up for a free account on the GitLab website.

What are the steps to create a new project in GitLab?

To create a new project, log in to your GitLab account, go to the Projects Dashboard, click on ‘New Project,’ choose the project type, set the project visibility, and click ‘Create Project.’

How do I connect my local repository to a GitLab repository?

You can connect your local repository to a GitLab repository using Git Bash. Initialize your local repository, add the GitLab repository as a remote, and push your local commits to the remote repository.

What is the difference between public and private visibility in GitLab projects?

Public projects are accessible to anyone, while private projects are only accessible to the project members. You can set the visibility when creating the project or adjust it in the project settings later.

How do I push my first commit to GitLab?

After configuring your local repository and connecting it to the GitLab repository, you can commit your changes locally using `git commit` and then push them to the remote repository using `git push`.

Can I clone an existing repository in GitLab?

Yes, you can clone an existing repository using the `git clone` command followed by the repository URL. This will create a local copy of the repository on your machine.

What is GitLab CI/CD and how can I use it?

GitLab CI/CD is a continuous integration and continuous deployment tool that automates the testing and deployment of your code. You can configure it using the `.gitlab-ci.yml` file in your repository.

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