How to Change the Root Password in a GitLab on Docker

Are you setting up GitLab CE on Docker and need to change the root password? Updating your root password is crucial for maintaining the security of your GitLab instance. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of changing the root password in a new GitLab installation on Docker using the gitlab-rake "gitlab:password:reset" command.

Why Change the Root Password on GitLab?

When you first install GitLab on Docker, it typically assigns a default root password or requires you to set one at the beginning. Changing this password not only secures your system against unauthorized access but also ensures that your development environment aligns with your organization’s security protocols.


Before proceeding, ensure that you have:

  • A working Docker installation.
  • GitLab running on Docker.
  • Access to the command line interface where your Docker containers are managed.

Step 1: Access Your GitLab Container

To change the root password, you first need to access the command line of your GitLab Docker container. You can do this by executing the following command:

docker exec -it <gitlab_container_name> /bin/bash

Replace <gitlab_container_name> with the name or ID of your GitLab Docker container. You can find your container name by running docker ps.

Step 2: Initiate the Password Reset

Once you are inside the container, use the gitlab-rake command to reset the root password. Execute:

gitlab-rake "gitlab:password:reset"

This command will initiate a prompt to set a new password for the root user.

Step 3: Set a New Root Password

Follow the on-screen instructions. You will be prompted to enter a new password for the root user. Make sure the new password is strong and secure, including a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Step 4: Verify the Password Change

After setting the new password, it’s important to verify that you can log in with the root account using the new password. Exit the container and try logging into your GitLab instance with the new credentials.

Step 5: Secure Your Environment

Now that your root password is updated, consider taking additional security measures such as:

  • Setting up two-factor authentication (2FA) for your GitLab.
  • Regularly updating your GitLab instance to receive security patches.
  • Reviewing user access levels and permissions within your GitLab environment.


Changing the root password in GitLab on Docker is a straightforward process that significantly enhances the security of your GitLab instance. By following these steps and using the gitlab-rake "gitlab:password:reset" command, you can ensure that your GitLab is secure and ready for use in a production environment.

Remember, regular maintenance and security checks are essential to keep your GitLab installation safe from potential threats. Happy coding!


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