Image: iStockphoto/comzeal

If you use Git and you’re looking for a user-friendly means of managing on-premises repositories, you might want to have a look at GitBucket. This tool, written in Scala, offers:

  • Intuitive UI
  • Plugin system
  • API compatibility with GitHub
  • Public and private repositories
  • GitLFS support
  • Repository viewer
  • Online file editor
  • Activity timeline
  • Email notifications
  • Account and group management (using LDAP integration)
  • And more

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What you’ll need

The only things you’ll need to make this work are:

  • A running, updated instance of Ubuntu Server 18.04
  • A user account with sudo privileges

Installing Java

The first thing to be done is the installation of Java. To do this, open a terminal window and issue the command:

sudo apt-get install default-jdk -y

Install NGINX

GitBucket requires a web server. We’ll use NGINX. If your Ubuntu Server includes Apache, you must first stop and disable it with the commands:

sudo systemctl stop apache2
sudo systemctl disable apache2

Install NGINX with the command:

sudo apt-get install nginx -y

How to add a new group

We’re going to add a new group and unprivileged user for the running of GitBucket. Back at the terminal window, create the group with the command:

sudo groupadd -g 555 gitbucket

Next add the unprivileged user with the command:

sudo useradd -g gitbucket --no-user-group --home-dir /opt/gitbucket --no-create-home --shell /usr/sbin/nologin --system --uid 555 gitbucket

How to download and install GitBucket

It’s now time to download GitBucket with the command:


Once the file has downloaded, create a new directory with the command:

sudo mkdir /opt/gitbucket

Move the downloaded file into the newly created directory with the command:

sudo mv gitbucket.war /opt/gitbucket

Give the .war file the proper permissions with the command:

sudo chown -R gitbucket:gitbucket /opt/gitbucket

How to create a Systemd file

In order for the service to start, we need to create a systemd file. Issue the command:

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/gitbucket.service

In that new file, paste the following:

# GitBucket Service
Description=Manage Java service

ExecStart=/usr/bin/java -Xms128m -Xmx256m -jar gitbucket.war


Save and close the file. Reload systemd with the command:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Start and enable the new service with the following commands:

sudo systemctl start gitbucket
sudo systemctl enable gitbucket

How to configure a database connection for GitBucket

Next we must configure a database connection for GitBucket. To take care of this, issue the command:

sudo nano /opt/gitbucket/database.conf

In that file, paste the following into this new file:

db {
url = "jdbc:h2:${DatabaseHome};MVCC=true"
user = "sa"
password = "sa"

How to configure NGINX as reverse proxy

Now we need to create an NGINX virtual host file, and set NGINX as a reverse proxy. To do this, create a new file with the command:

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/gitbucket.conf

In that new file, paste the following:

upstream gitbucket {
server weight=100 max_fails=5 fail_timeout=5;

server {
listen 80;

location / {
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Host $host;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Server $host;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
proxy_pass http://gitbucket/;

Save and close the file.

Enable the NGINX virtual host with the command:

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/gitbucket.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Restart NGINX with the command:

sudo systemctl restart nginx

How to access the web interface

Open a web browser on your network and point it to http://SERVER_IP:8080 (where SERVER_IP is the IP address of your hosting server). You should be greeted by the GitBucket main page. Log in with the credentials root/root. At this point you should see a brand new instance of GitBucket (Figure A), where you can begin the process of creating and managing new repositories for your projects.

Figure A

Do make sure to click the “r” drop-down (top right corner), click System Administration, and change the default root password. Other than that, your instance of GitBucket is ready for work.