The system services of GitLab Runner

GitLab Runner uses the Go service library to detect the underlying OS and eventually install the service file based on the init system.

Note: service will install / un-install, start / stop, and run a program as a service (daemon). Currently supports Windows XP+, Linux/(systemd | Upstart | SysV), and OSX/Launchd.

Once GitLab Runner is installed, the service file will be automatically be created:

  • systemd: /etc/systemd/system/gitlab-runner.service
  • upstart: /etc/init/gitlab-runner

Overriding the default service files

In some cases, you might want to override the default behavior of the service.

For example, when upgrading the Runner, you’ll want it to stop gracefully until all running jobs are finished, but systemd, upstart, or some other service may almost immediately restart the process without even noticing.

So, when upgrading the Runner, the installation script will kill and restart the Runner’s process which would most probably be handling some new jobs at that time.

Overriding systemd

For Runners that use systemd create /etc/systemd/system/gitlab-runner.service.d/kill.conf with the following content:


After adding these two settings to the systemd unit configuration, you can stop the Runner and systemd will use SIGQUIT as the kill signal, to stop the process. Additionally, a 2h timeout is set for the stop command, which means that if any jobs don’t terminate gracefully before this timeout, systemd will just SIGKILL the process.

Overriding upstart

For Runners that use upstart create /etc/init/gitlab-runner.override with the following content:

kill signal SIGQUIT
kill timeout 7200

After adding these two settings to the upstart unit configuration, you can stop the Runner and upstart will do exactly the same as systemd above.