NGINX Configuration for Gitweb and git-http-backend

Gitweb is a nice web interface for Git repositories. For instance go to to see how it looks like. I find it useful especially when I'm using the machine of somebody else and need to check out some files from one of my own repositories. git-http-backend allows me to clone git repositories over HTTPS so I don't have to use SSH.

First you have to prepare your repositories on your server for accessing them via HTTPS. I would recommend to create an extra user "git" for it. In this example I put my repositories to /home/git/repositories. Basically you can put them where you want.

useradd -m git
su git
git clone --bare /old/repo.git /home/git/repositories/repo.git
cd /home/git/repositories/repo.git
sudo chmod -R g+ws .    # Setting necessary rights for pushing to the repository.
sudo chgrp -R git .

Now configure your repositories:

git --bare update-server-info
cp hooks/post-update.sample hooks/post-update
chmod a+x hooks/post-update

This generates all the information that is necessary to share the repository using a webserver like NGINX.

I found a nice tutorial about how to set up NGINX for gitweb and git-http-backend here. It almost worked out-of-the-box for me. I just had to add following lines to fix some errors I got when I tried to work with git-http-backend.

fastcgi_param GIT_HTTP_EXPORT_ALL "";
fastcgi_param REMOTE_USER $remote_user;

Furthermore, I have added the auth_basic lines to restrict the access to my repositories. The configuration shown below has been tested with Ubuntu 12.04.

But first make sure you have all required packages installed:

(sudo) apt-get install git gitweb fcgiwrap

Here is my NGINX configuration file for Gitweb and git-http-backend. It allows access only using HTTPS and asks for authentication both for the web interface and for cloning the repositories. It works basically like the .htaccess authentication mechanism from Apache.

server {
    listen      80;
    access_log /var/log/nginx/;
    rewrite     ^   https://$server_name$request_uri? permanent;

# HTTPS server
server {
    listen       443;
    root /usr/share/gitweb;
    access_log /var/log/nginx/;

    ssl                  on;
    ssl_certificate      /etc/ssl/certs/certforyoursite.crt;
    ssl_certificate_key  /etc/ssl/private/sitekey.pem;
    ssl_session_timeout 5m;
    ssl_protocols        TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;
    ssl_ciphers          HIGH:!ADH:!MD5;
    ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;

    auth_basic           "RESTRICTED ACCESS";
    auth_basic_user_file /etc/nginx/access_list;

    # static repo files for cloning over https
    location ~ ^.*\.git/objects/([0-9a-f]+/[0-9a-f]+|pack/pack-[0-9a-f]+.(pack|idx))$ {
        root /home/git/repositories/;

    # requests that need to go to git-http-backend
    location ~ ^.*\.git/(HEAD|info/refs|objects/info/.*|git-(upload|receive)-pack)$ {
        root /home/git/repositories;

        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/fcgiwrap.socket;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME   /usr/lib/git-core/git-http-backend;
        fastcgi_param PATH_INFO         $uri;
        fastcgi_param GIT_PROJECT_ROOT  /home/git/repositories;
        fastcgi_param GIT_HTTP_EXPORT_ALL "";
        fastcgi_param REMOTE_USER $remote_user;
        include fastcgi_params;

    # send anything else to gitweb if it's not a real file
    try_files $uri @gitweb;
    location @gitweb {
        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/fcgiwrap.socket;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME   /usr/share/gitweb/gitweb.cgi;
        fastcgi_param PATH_INFO         $uri;
        fastcgi_param GITWEB_CONFIG     /etc/gitweb.conf;
        include fastcgi_params;
Update1: I had to add the line fastcgi_param REMOTE_USER
$remote_user; to the NGINX configuration to fix the 403 errors I got
when trying to push changes to the server. This is necessary because I
use HTTP authentification. I also added some commands for preparing the
repositories for git-http-backend.
Update2: Added a section for setting up the repository file modes
to prevent the "remote: error: insufficient permission for adding an
object to repository database ./objects" error when trying to push to
the repository.
Update3: Disabled SSL and enabled TLS1.1 and TLS1.2 support.
Thanks for your comment itefixnet.

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