Installation from source

You should install go and set up your go environment correctly. In particular, it is recommended to set the $GOPATH environment variable and to add the go bin directory or directories ${GOPATH//://bin:}/bin to the $PATH. See the Go wiki entry for GOPATH.

Next, install Node.js with npm which is required to build the JavaScript and CSS files. The minimum supported Node.js version is 10 and the latest LTS version is recommended.

Note: When executing make tasks that require external tools, like make misspell-check, Gitea will automatically download and build these as necessary. To be able to use these, you must have the "$GOPATH/bin" directory on the executable path. If you don’t add the go bin directory to the executable path, you will have to manage this yourself.

Note 2: Go version 1.12 or higher is required. However, it is recommended to obtain the same version as our continuous integration, see the advice given in Hacking on Gitea


First, we must retrieve the source code. Since, the advent of go modules, the simplest way of doing this is to use git directly as we no longer have to have gitea built from within the GOPATH.

git clone

(Previous versions of this document recommended using go get. This is no longer necessary.)

Decide which version of Gitea to build and install. Currently, there are multiple options to choose from. The master branch represents the current development version. To build with master, skip to the build section.

To work with tagged releases, the following commands can be used:

git branch -a
git checkout v1.11.3

To validate a Pull Request, first enable the new branch (xyz is the PR id; for example 2663 for #2663):

git fetch origin pull/xyz/head:pr-xyz

To build Gitea from source at a specific tagged release (like v1.11.3), list the available tags and check out the specific tag.

List available tags with the following.

git tag -l
git checkout v1.11.3  # or git checkout pr-xyz


To build from source, the following programs must be present on the system:

  • go 1.12 or higher, see here
  • node 10 or higher with npm, see here
  • make, see here

Various make tasks are provided to keep the build process as simple as possible.

Depending on requirements, the following build tags can be included.

  • bindata: Build a single monolithic binary, with all assets included.
  • sqlite sqlite_unlock_notify: Enable support for a SQLite3 database. Suggested only for tiny installations.
  • pam: Enable support for PAM (Linux Pluggable Authentication Modules). Can be used to authenticate local users or extend authentication to methods available to PAM.

Bundling assets into the binary using the bindata build tag can make development and testing easier, but is not ideal for a production deployment. To include assets, add the bindata tag:

TAGS="bindata" make build

In the default release build of our continuous integration system, the build tags are: TAGS="bindata sqlite sqlite_unlock_notify". The simplest recommended way to build from source is therefore:

TAGS="bindata sqlite sqlite_unlock_notify" make build

The build target is split into two sub-targets:

  • make backend which requires Go 1.12 or greater.
  • make frontend which requires Node.js 10 or greater.

If pre-built frontend files are present it is possible to only build the backend:

TAGS="bindata" make backend


After following the steps above, a gitea binary will be available in the working directory. It can be tested from this directory or moved to a directory with test data. When Gitea is launched manually from command line, it can be killed by pressing Ctrl + C.

./gitea web

Changing the default CustomPath, CustomConf and AppWorkPath

Gitea will search for a number of things from the CustomPath. By default this is the custom/ directory in the current working directory when running Gitea. It will also look for its configuration file CustomConf in $CustomPath/conf/app.ini, and will use the current working directory as the relative base path AppWorkPath for a number configurable values.

These values, although useful when developing, may conflict with downstream users preferences.

One option is to use a script file to shadow the gitea binary and create an appropriate environment before running Gitea. However, when building you can change these defaults using the LDFLAGS environment variable for make. The appropriate settings are as follows

  • To set the CustomPath use LDFLAGS="-X \"\""
  • For CustomConf you should use -X \"\"
  • For AppWorkPath you should use -X \"\"

Add as many of the strings with their preceding -X to the LDFLAGS variable and run make build with the appropriate TAGS as above.

Running gitea help will allow you to review what the computed settings will be for your gitea.