Set up a Git server and cgit front-end

My git server is all I need to setup to actually kill my other server (I’ve been moving from servers on these last 2-3 blog entries), that’s why I’m already doing this entry. I’m basically following git’s guide on setting up a server plus some specific stuff for btw i use Arch Linux (Arch Linux Wiki: Git server and Step by step guide on setting up git server in arch linux (pushable)).

Note that this is mostly for personal use, so there’s no user/authentication control other than that of normal ssh. And as with the other entries, most if not all commands here are run as root unless stated otherwise.

Table of contents


I might get tired of saying this (it’s just copy paste, basically)… but you will need the same prerequisites as before (check my website and mail entries), with the extras:


Git is a version control system.

If not installed already, install the git package:

pacman -S git

On Arch Linux, when you install the git package, a git user is automatically created, so all you have to do is decide where you want to store the repositories, for me, I like them to be on /home/git like if git was a “normal” user. So, create the git folder (with corresponding permissions) under /home and set the git user’s home to /home/git:

mkdir /home/git
chown git:git /home/git
usermod -d /home/git git

Also, the git user is “expired” by default and will be locked (needs a password), change that with:

chage -E -1 git
passwd git

Give it a strong one and remember to use PasswordAuthentication no for ssh (as you should). Create the .ssh/authorized_keys for the git user and set the permissions accordingly:

mkdir /home/git/.ssh
chmod 700 /home/git/.ssh
touch /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys
chmod 600 /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys
chown -R git:git /home/git

Now is a good idea to copy over your local SSH public keys to this file, to be able to push/pull to the repositories. Do it by either manually copying it or using ssh‘s built in ssh-copy-id (for that you may want to check your ssh configuration in case you don’t let people access your server with user/password).

Next, and almost finally, we need to edit the git-daemon service, located at /usr/lib/systemd/system/ (called git-daemon@.service):

ExecStart=-/usr/lib/git-core/git-daemon --inetd --export-all --base-path=/home/git --enable=receive-pack

I just appended --enable=receive-pack and note that I also changed the --base-path to reflect where I want to serve my repositories from (has to match what you set when changing git user’s home).

Now, go ahead and start and enable the git-daemon socket:

systemctl start git-daemon.socket
systemctl enable git-daemon.socket

You’re basically done. Now you should be able to push/pull repositories to your server… except, you haven’t created any repository in your server, that’s right, they’re not created automatically when trying to push. To do so, you have to run (while inside /home/git):

git init --bare {repo_name}.git
chown -R git:git {repo_name}.git

Those two lines above will need to be run each time you want to add a new repository to your server. There are options to “automate” this but I like it this way.

After that you can already push/pull to your repository. I have my repositories (locally) set up so I can push to more than one remote at the same time (my server, GitHub, GitLab, etc.); to do so, check this gist.


Cgit is a fast web interface for git.

This is optionally since it’s only for the web application.

Install the cgit and fcgiwrap packages:

pacman -S cgit fcgiwrap

Now, just start and enable the fcgiwrap socket:

systemctl start fcgiwrap.socket
systemctl enable fcgiwrap.socket

Next, create the git.conf as stated in my nginx setup entry. Add the following lines to your git.conf file:

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /usr/share/webapps/cgit;
    server_name {yoursubdomain}.{yourdomain};
    try_files $uri @cgit;

    location @cgit {
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root/cgit.cgi;
        fastcgi_param PATH_INFO $uri;
        fastcgi_param QUERY_STRING $args;
        fastcgi_param HTTP_HOST $server_name;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/run/fcgiwrap.sock;

Where the server_name line depends on you, I have mine setup to and Optionally run certbot --nginx to get a certificate for those domains if you don’t have already.

Now, all that’s left is to configure cgit. Create the configuration file /etc/cgitrc with the following content (my personal options, pretty much the default):


# robots=noindex, nofollow


Where you can uncomment the robots line to not let web crawlers (like Google’s) to index your git web app. And at the end keep all your repositories (the ones you want to make public), for example for my dotfiles I have:

repo.desc=These are my personal dotfiles.

Otherwise you could let cgit to automatically detect your repositories (you have to be careful if you want to keep “private” repos) using the option scan-path and setup .git/description for each repository. For more, you can check cgitrc(5).

Cgit’s file rendering

By default you can’t see the files on the site, you need a highlighter to render the files, I use highlight. Install the highlight package:

pacman -S highlight

Copy the script to the corresponding location (basically adding -edited to the file):

cp /usr/lib/cgit/filters/ /usr/lib/cgit/filters/

And edit it to use the version 3 and add --inline-css for more options without editing cgit‘s CSS file:

# This is for version 2
# exec highlight --force -f -I -X -S "$EXTENSION" 2>/dev/null

# This is for version 3
exec highlight --force --inline-css -f -I -O xhtml -S "$EXTENSION" 2>/dev/null

Finally, enable the filter in /etc/cgitrc configuration:


That would be everything. If you need support for more stuff like compressed snapshots or support for markdown, check the optional dependencies for cgit.

By David Luévano

Created: Sun, Mar 21, 2021 @ 19:00 UTC

Modified: Sat, Jun 03, 2023 @ 03:52 UTC