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GitLab API

All API requests require authentication. You need to pass a private_token parameter by url or header. If passed as header, the header name must be "PRIVATE-TOKEN" (capital and with dash instead of underscore). You can find or reset your private token in your profile.

If no, or an invalid, private_token is provided then an error message will be returned with status code 401:

  "message": "401 Unauthorized"

API requests should be prefixed with api and the API version. The API version is defined in lib/api.rb.

Example of a valid API request:


Example for a valid API request using curl and authentication via header:

curl --header "PRIVATE-TOKEN: QVy1PB7sTxfy4pqfZM1U" ""

The API uses JSON to serialize data. You don't need to specify .json at the end of API URL.

Status codes

The API is designed to return different status codes according to context and action. In this way if a request results in an error the caller is able to get insight into what went wrong, e.g. status code 400 Bad Request is returned if a required attribute is missing from the request. The following list gives an overview of how the API functions generally behave.

API request types:

  • GET requests access one or more resources and return the result as JSON
  • POST requests return 201 Created if the resource is successfully created and return the newly created resource as JSON
  • GET, PUT and DELETE return 200 Ok if the resource is accessed, modified or deleted successfully, the (modified) result is returned as JSON
  • DELETE requests are designed to be idempotent, meaning a request a resource still returns 200 Ok even it was deleted before or is not available. The reasoning behind it is the user is not really interested if the resource existed before or not.

The following list shows the possible return codes for API requests.

Return values:

  • 200 Ok - The GET, PUT or DELETE request was successful, the resource(s) itself is returned as JSON
  • 201 Created - The POST request was successful and the resource is returned as JSON
  • 400 Bad Request - A required attribute of the API request is missing, e.g. the title of an issue is not given
  • 401 Unauthorized - The user is not authenticated, a valid user token is necessary, see above
  • 403 Forbidden - The request is not allowed, e.g. the user is not allowed to delete a project
  • 404 Not Found - A resource could not be accessed, e.g. an ID for a resource could not be found
  • 405 Method Not Allowed - The request is not supported
  • 409 Conflict - A conflicting resource already exists, e.g. creating a project with a name that already exists
  • 500 Server Error - While handling the request something went wrong on the server side


All API requests support performing an api call as if you were another user, if your private token is for an administration account. You need to pass sudo parameter by url or header with an id or username of the user you want to perform the operation as. If passed as header, the header name must be "SUDO" (capitals).

If a non administrative private_token is provided then an error message will be returned with status code 403:

  "message": "403 Forbidden: Must be admin to use sudo"

If the sudo user id or username cannot be found then an error message will be returned with status code 404:

  "message": "404 Not Found: No user id or username for: <id/username>"

Example of a valid API with sudo request:


Example for a valid API request with sudo using curl and authentication via header:

curl --header "PRIVATE-TOKEN: QVy1PB7sTxfy4pqfZM1U" --header "SUDO: username" ""
curl --header "PRIVATE-TOKEN: QVy1PB7sTxfy4pqfZM1U" --header "SUDO: 23" ""


When listing resources you can pass the following parameters:

  • page (default: 1) - page number
  • per_page (default: 20, max: 100) - number of items to list per page

id vs iid

When you work with API you may notice two similar fields in api entites: id and iid. The main difference between them is scope. Example:

Issue id: 46 iid: 5

  • id - is uniq across all Issues table. It used for any api calls.
  • iid - is uniq only in scope of single project. When you browse issues or merge requests with Web UI - you see iid.

So if you want to get issue with api you use http://host/api/v3/.../issues/:id.json But when you want to create a link to web page - use http:://host/project/issues/:iid.json



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