Install Gitea on a Raspberry Pi to Create Your Own Code Repository

Git is a version control system used by software developers, coders, and tinkerers to collaborate on and distribute open source projects. Using Git, you can handle projects of any size, pull in code changes and merges, and allow users to clone your repositories onto their own machines. The open source ecosystem runs on Git, and many of the projects featured on involve using resources from GitHub. With Gitea, you can host your own fully functional Git repositories on a Raspberry Pi in your own home.

Why Host Your Own Git Service on Raspberry Pi Instead of Using GitHub?

With 55 million users, GitHub is the largest repository of free and open source software on Earth, but its current owner, Microsoft, is not a natural fit for the role of custodian. Previous CEOs of the company described Linux and the General Public License as “a cancer”, and most of Microsoft’s own products are proprietary and closed source.

Microsoft’s ownership has also seen GitHub exploring some ethically dubious technologies—notably with GitHub Copilot, an AI tool to help programmers to generate code. Copilot was trained on data from GitHub, in possible violation of the terms of the Creative Commons licenses employed by coders.

By using GitHub, developers are creating yet another choke point at which innovation can be stifled, undermined, and subjected to frivolous interference.

Gitea Lets You Set Up Your Own Git Server on Raspberry Pi

Gitea is a fork of Gogs, and is a community-managed lightweight code hosting solution written in Go, and published under the MIT license. It aims to have a more open and faster development model than its predecessor, and will run on machines with even modest resources, such as a Raspberry Pi. You’ll be able to work on your dotfiles, custom Ubuntu ISOs, Bash scripts, and Java and Python utilities without fear that they’ll be subject to a DMCA takedown, be used to train nefarious software, or be otherwise out of your control.

How to Install Gitea on Your Raspberry Pi

Gitea comes with several installation methods, but the easiest one is via Docker. If you don’t have these already running on your Raspberry Pi, install Docker and Docker Compose now.

The files you store in your Gitea server will potentially take up a lot of space, so we suggest using external storage with your Raspberry Pi, and using that as the location for your Gitea install.

Connect to your Pi via SSH, then navigate to the location where you want to install Gitea, and create a new directory, then move into it:

 mkdir gitea
cd gitea

Create a new file with nano:

 nano docker-compose.yml 

…and paste the following code into it:

 version: "3"

    external: false

    image: gitea/gitea:latest
    container_name: gitea
      - USER_UID=1000
      - USER_GID=1000
      - GITEA__database__DB_TYPE=mysql
      - GITEA__database__HOST=db:3306
      - GITEA__database__NAME=gitea
      - GITEA__database__USER=gitea
      - GITEA__database__PASSWD=gitea
    restart: always
      - gitea
      - ./gitea:/data
      - /etc/timezone:/etc/timezone:gb
      - /etc/localtime:/etc/localtime:gb
      - "3000:3000"
      - "222:22"
      - db

    image: mysql:8
    restart: always
      - MYSQL_USER=gitea
      - MYSQL_PASSWORD=gitea
      - MYSQL_DATABASE=gitea
      - gitea
      - ./mysql:/var/lib/mysql

Change the timezones to your own locale and choose a strong password for your database, then save and exit nano with Ctrl + O, then Ctrl + X.


 docker-compose up -d  

…to bring up docker-compose in detached mode. Docker-compose will pull multiple images for Gitea and Maria DB and set up containers. Depending on your connection speed, this may take some time.

docker-compose ps showing gitea and gitea_db_1 as up

When you are returned to the command prompt:

 docker-compose ps 

…should show “gitea” and “gitea_db_1” as “up”. You can now visit the initial configuration page for your Gitea site at your.pi.local.ip.address:3000.

Don’t alter anything yet. If you’re planning to access your Gitea instance over the internet, you need to do a little more preparation first.

Access Your Gitea Instance Over the Internet

You want to be able to type in a standard URL to be able to reach your Gitea instance, so you’ll need Apache to handle proxying. Install Apache with:

 sudo apt install apache2 

Now, start and enable Apache with the following commands:

 sudo systemctl start apache2
sudo systemctl enable apache2

Enable Apache’s proxy modules with:

 sudo a2enmod proxy
sudo a2enmod proxy_http

Choose a domain name or subdomain name from a reputable registrar. Then, from your registrar’s settings page, find the ‘Advanced DNS’ options and add a new A record. Set the Host field to “@” and the value field to your static IP address. Set the TTL (Time to Lease) value as low as possible, then save.

Open your router admin page, and find a section titled either Port Forwarding, Port Mapping, or Port Management.

Create a new entry for HTTP requests. Set both the local and public port to 80, and the local IP address to the IP address of your Raspberry Pi.

A second open port is required for HTTPS requests. Set both the local and public port to 443, and again, the local IP address to the IP address of your Pi.

Finally, you need a port open for SSH requests to your Git server. Set both the local and public port to 222, and the local IP address to the IP address of your Pi.

You will be using Certbot to obtain security certificates and keys. Add the Certbot repository, update, then install Certbot:

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt update
sudo apt-get install python3-certbot-apache

Change directories, and create a new file with nano:

 cd /etc/apache2/sites-available/
nano gitea.conf

In the new file, paste the following, making sure to copy in your own domain name:

 <VirtualHost *:80>ServerName your-domain-name.tldProxyPass / / http:/ On</VirtualHost> 

Save and exit nano with Ctrl + O, then Ctrl + X, and enable your new conf file with:

 sudo a2ensite gitea.conf 

Restart Apache:

 sudo service apache2 restart 

Run Certbot with:

 sudo certbot 

…and select your domain name from a list. Certbot will fetch and install certificates and keys. When you are returned to the prompt, restart Apache again:

 sudo service apache2 restart 

Gitea Instance Setup

You can now visit your Gitea instance in a browser with at the address https://your-domain-name.tld. You’ll be able to set the database type, password, and other variables in the first section. These will be values you specified in your docker-compose file, and should already be filled in, so there’s no need to change them.

In general settings, set the site title to a suitable one, Server Domain should be your domain name and SSH Server Port must be set to 222. The base URL should be your domain name including “HTTPS://”.

When you’re done, hit the big blue Install Gitea button. You’ll be greeted by a big green cup of tea, and whatever name and slug you gave to the instance. To create your first user, click on register at the top right of the page, then enter your details. Congratulations!

To stop anyone else from registering and hosting their own repositories on your Git server, you need to edit the app.ini file. If you initially created your gitea directory in the / (root) directory, enter:

 nano /gitea/gitea/gitea/conf/app.ini 

Scroll down to the service section and set DISABLE_REGISTRATION to true.

gitea diable registration set to true

Save and exit nano with Ctrl + O, then Ctrl + X, then restart your containers:

 docker-compose downdocker-compose up -d 

Using Gitea

If you’ve ever used GitHub, you’ll be instantly at home in Gitea. After you log in, you’ll see that there are no repositories available. Create one by clicking on the + sign towards the right of the page, and give it a sensible name.

gitea initial repository creation

You can choose to make the repository private by checking the box, or leave it open for the world to see. Check the box to initialize with a readme file, then click Create Repository to create your first repository! You can make and commit changes, upload files, and edit just as if it were GitHub.

Click on SSH to copy the address, and you won’t be able to clone repositories to your local machine, receiving an error: “Please make sure you have the correct access rights and the repository exists” instead. You need to add your local machine’s SSH key to Gitea first. To do this, copy the output from:

 cat ~/.ssh/ 

In your Gitea web interface, click your profile pic, then choose settings > SSH/ GPG keys. Click on Add Key, and paste in the key you just copied.

add ssh key to gitea

You can now interact with your own Git repository on your own Git server on your own Raspberry Pi!

Use Your Gitea Instance to Create Awesome Software Projects

Git is an awesome tool for collaborating on amazing projects, but even without a team, it’s fantastic for organizing your own workflow and creating fabulous software or configs. Use it to help keep track of your files as you learn a new programming language or customize your desktop system to be the best it can be.

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