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  1. You need nodejs and npm installed
  2. Clone this repo with git clone
  3. cd node-gitlab-2-github
  4. npm i


Before using this script, you must mirror your GitLab repo to your new GitHub repo. This can be done with the following steps:

# Clone the repo from GitLab using the `--mirror` option. This is like
# `--bare` but also copies all refs as-is. Useful for a full backup/move.
git clone --mirror

# Change into newly created repo directory
cd repo

# Push to GitHub using the `--mirror` option.  The `--no-verify` option skips any hooks.
git push --no-verify --mirror

# Set push URL to the mirror location
git remote set-url --push origin

# To periodically update the repo on GitHub with what you have in GitLab
git fetch -p origin
git push --no-verify --mirror

After doing this, the autolinking of issues, commits, and branches will work. See Usage for next steps.


The user must be a member of the project you want to copy. This user must be the one

  1. cp sample_settings.ts settings.ts
  2. edit settings.ts
  3. run npm run start


If you don't have Node.js installed in your local environment and don't want to install it you can use the Dockerized approach.

  1. Make sure that you have Docker installed in your computer. You can test running docker version in the terminal.
  2. cp sample_settings.ts settings.ts
  3. edit settings.ts
  4. docker build -t node-gitlab-2-github:latest ., or, you can use make build-image
  5. docker run node-gitlab-2-github:latest, or, you can use make docker-run

If you want to let it run in the background (detached mode), just use the following command:

  1. docker run -d node-gitlab-2-github:latest

Docker with bind mounts

In order to optimize the usage of the dockerized application, one can use the bind mounts feature of Docker (Docker docs). This way, whenever you change the settings.ts file in the host environment it will change in the container filesystem as well.

The process to use this trick is pretty much the same we presented before, the only different is the addition of a flag in the docker command to tell it what is the directory/file to be bound.

  1. Make sure that you have Docker installed in your computer. You can test running docker version in the terminal.
  2. cp sample_settings.ts settings.ts
  3. edit settings.ts
  4. docker build -t node-gitlab-2-github:latest ., or, you can use make build-image
  5. This command must work for Linux or Mac: docker run --mount type=bind,source="$(pwd)/settings.ts",target="/app/settings.ts",readonly node-gitlab-2-github:latest, or, you can use make docker-run-bind
  • If you want to run this last command in the Windows environment, please consult the Docker documentation on how to solve the problem of the pwd command expanding incorrectly there - Docker documentation - Topics for windows.

Where to find info for the settings.ts



The URL under which your gitlab instance is hosted. Default is the official domain.


Go to Settings / Access Tokens. Create a new Access Token with api and read_repository scopes and copy that into the settings.ts


Leave it null for the first run of the script. Then the script will show you which projects there are. Can be either string or number.


When listing projects on the first run (projectID = null), include archived ones too. The default is true.


GitLab's API does not allow downloading of attachments and only images can be downloaded using HTTP. To work around this limitation and enable binary attachments to be migrated one can use the session cookie set in the browser after logging in to the gitlab instance. The cookie is named _gitlab_session.



Where is the github instance hosted? The default is the official domain


Point this to the api. The default is


Under which organisation or user will the new project be hosted


A boolean indicator (default is false) to specify that the owner of this repo is an Organisation.


Go to Settings / Developer settings / Personal access tokens. Generate a new token with repo scope and copy that into the settings.ts


Set to the user name of the user whose token is used (see above). This is required to determine whether the user running the migration is also the creator of comments and issues. If this is the case and useIssueCreationAPI is true (see below), the extra line specifying who created a comment or issue will not be added.


What is the name of the new repo


If true (default is false), we will try to delete the destination github repository if present, and (re)create it. The github token must be granted delete_repo scope. The newly created repository will be made private by default.

If you've set github.recreateRepo to true and the repo belongs to an Organisation, the github.ownerIsOrg flag must be set as true.

This is useful when debugging this tool or a specific migration. You will always be prompted for confirmation.

s3 (optional)

S3 can be used to store attachments from issues. If omitted, has attachment label will be added to GitHub issue.

s3.accessKeyId and s3.secretAccessKey

AWS credentials that are used to copy attachments from GitLab into the S3 bucket.

IAM User who owns these credential must have write permissions to the bucket.


Existing bucket, with an appropriate security policy. One possible policy is to allow public access.


Specify Region (example: us-west-1) of bucket list of regions


Maps the usernames from gitlab to github. If the assinee of the gitlab issue is equal to the one currently logged in github it will also get assigned without a usermap. The Mentions in issues will also be translated to the new github name.


When one renames the project while transfering so that the projects don't loose there links to the mentioned issues.



If this is set to true (default) then labels from GitLab will be converted to lowercase in GitHub.



If this is set to true (default) then the migration process will transfer milestones.


If this is set to true (default) then the migration process will transfer labels.


If this is set to true (default) then the migration process will transfer issues.


If this is set to true (default) then the migration process will transfer merge requests.


If this is set to true (default) then the migration process will transfer releases. Note that github api for releases is limited and hence this will only transfer the title and description of the releases and add them to github in chronological order, but it would not preserve the original release dates, nor transfer artefacts or assets.


As default it is set to false. Doesn't fire the requests to github api and only does the work on the gitlab side to test for wonky cases before using up api-calls


Set to true (default) to enable using the GitHub preview API for importing issues. This allows setting the date for issues and comments instead of inserting an additional line in the body.


If this is set to true (default) then the migration process will automatically create empty dummy issues for every 'missing' GitLab issue (if you deleted a GitLab issue for example). Those issues will be closed on Github and they ensure that the issue ids stay the same on both GitLab and Github.


If this is set to true (default) then the migration process will automatically create empty dummy milestones for every 'missing' GitLab milestone (if you deleted a GitLab milestone for example). Those milestones will be closed on Github and they ensure that the milestone ids stay the same on both GitLab and Github.


If this is set to true (default) then the migration process will automatically create so called "replacement-issues" for every issue where the migration fails. This replacement issue will be exactly the same, but the original description will be lost. In the future, the description of the replacement issue will also contain a link to the original issue on GitLab. This way, users who still have access to the GitLab repository can still view its content. However, this is still an open task. (TODO)

It would of course be better to find the cause for migration fails, so that no replacement issues would be needed. Finding the cause together with a retry-mechanism would be optimal, and will maybe come in the future - currently the replacement-issue-mechanism helps to keep things in order.


If this is set to true (default is false) then all merge requests will be migrated as GitHub issues (rather than pull requests). This can be used to sidestep the problem where pull requests are rejected by GitHub if the feature branch no longer exists or has been merged.


Filters all merge requests and issues by these labels. The applicable values can be found in the Gitlab API documentation for issues and merge requests respectively. Default is null which returns all issues/merge requests.


Merge requests in GitLab with any of the states listed in this array will not be transferred to GitHub (e.g. set to ['merged', 'closed'] to avoid creating issues for closed MRs whose branches have been deleted).


This is an array (empty per default) that may contain string values. Any note/comment in any issue, that contains one or more of those string values, will be skipped (meaining not migrated). Note that this is case insensitive, therefore the string value foo would also lead to skipping notes containing a (sub)string FOO.

Suggested values:

  • time spent, since those kind of terms can be used in GitLab to track time, they are rather meaningless in Github though
  • action entries, such as changed the description, added 1 commit, mentioned in merge request, etc as they are interpreted as comments


Object consisting of logfile and log. If log is set to true, then the merge requests are logged in the specified file and not migrated. Conversely, if log is set to false, then the merge requests are migrated to GitHub and not logged. If the source or target branches linked to the merge request have been deleted, the merge request cannot be migrated to a pull request; instead, an issue with a custom "gitlab merge request" tag is created with the full comment history of the merge request.


Maps gitlab user names to github users. This is used to properly set assignees in issues and PRs and to translate mentions in issues.


This is useful when migrating multiple projects if they are renamed at destination. Provide a map from gitlab names to github names so that any cross-project references (e.g. issues) are not lost.

Import limit

Because Github has a limit of 5000 Api requests per hour one has to be careful not to go over this limit. I transferred one of my project with it ~ 300 issues with ~ 200 notes. This totals to some 500 objects excluding commits which are imported through githubs importer. I never got under 3800 remaining requests (while testing it two times in one hour).

So the rule of thumb should be that one can import a repo with ~ 2500 issues without a problem.


Issue migration fail

See section 'useReplacementIssuesForCreationFails' above for more infos! One reason seems to be some error with Octokit (error message snippet:

Milestone, MR and issue references

This is WIP

the milestone refs and issue refs do not seem to be rewritten properly at the moment. specifically, milestones show up like %4 in comments and issue refs like #42 do not remap to the #42 from gitlab under the new issue number in github. @ references are remapped properly (yay). If this is a deal breaker, a large amount of the code to do this has been written it just appears to no longer work in current form :(

Feature suggestions / ideas

Throttling mechanism

A throttling mechanism could maybe help to avoid api rate limit errors. In some scenarios the ability to migrate is probably more important than the total duration of the migration process. Some users may even be willing to accept a very long duration (> 1 day if necessary?), if they can get the migration done at all, in return.

Make requests run in parallel

Some requests could be run in parallel, to shorten the total duration. Currently all GitLab- and Github-Api-Requests are run sequentially.