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Managing PostgreSQL extensions

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This guide documents how to manage PostgreSQL extensions for installations with an external PostgreSQL database.

You must load the following extensions into the main GitLab database (defaults to gitlabhq_production):

Extension Minimum GitLab version
pg_trgm 8.6
btree_gist 13.1
plpgsql 11.7

If you are using GitLab Geo, you must load the following extensions into all secondary tracking databases (defaults to gitlabhq_geo_production):

Extension Minimum GitLab version
plpgsql 9.0

To install extensions, PostgreSQL requires the user to have superuser privileges. Typically, the GitLab database user is not a superuser. Therefore, regular database migrations cannot be used in installing extensions and instead, extensions have to be installed manually prior to upgrading GitLab to a newer version.

Installing PostgreSQL extensions manually

To install a PostgreSQL extension, this procedure should be followed:

  1. Connect to the GitLab PostgreSQL database using a superuser, for example:

    sudo gitlab-psql -d gitlabhq_production
  2. Install the extension (btree_gist in this example) using CREATE EXTENSION:

  3. Verify installed extensions:

     gitlabhq_production=# \dx
                                         List of installed extensions
         Name    | Version |   Schema   |                            Description
     btree_gist | 1.5     | public     | support for indexing common datatypes in GiST
     pg_trgm    | 1.4     | public     | text similarity measurement and index searching based on trigrams
     plpgsql    | 1.0     | pg_catalog | PL/pgSQL procedural language
     (3 rows)

On some systems you may need to install an additional package (for example, postgresql-contrib) for certain extensions to become available.

Typical failure scenarios

The following is an example of a new GitLab installation failing because the extension hasn't been installed first.

---- Begin output of "bash"  "/tmp/chef-script20210513-52940-d9b1gs" ----
STDOUT: psql:/opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-rails/db/structure.sql:9: ERROR:  permission denied to create extension "btree_gist"
HINT:  Must be superuser to create this extension.
rake aborted!
failed to execute:
psql -v ON_ERROR_STOP=1 -q -X -f /opt/gitlab/embedded/service/gitlab-rails/db/structure.sql --single-transaction gitlabhq_production

The following is an example of a situation when the extension hasn't been installed before running migrations. In this scenario, the database migration fails to create the extension btree_gist because of insufficient privileges.

== 20200515152649 EnableBtreeGistExtension: migrating =========================
-- execute("CREATE EXTENSION IF NOT EXISTS btree_gist")

GitLab requires the PostgreSQL extension 'btree_gist' installed in database 'gitlabhq_production', but
the database user is not allowed to install the extension.

You can either install the extension manually using a database superuser:


Or, you can solve this by logging in to the GitLab database (gitlabhq_production) using a superuser and running:


This query will grant the user superuser permissions, ensuring any database extensions
can be installed through migrations.

To recover from failed migrations, the extension must be installed manually by a superuser, and the GitLab upgrade completed by re-running the database migrations:

sudo gitlab-rake db:migrate