This guide was made with the impatient in mind, ready to try out Gerrit on their own server but not prepared to make the full installation procedure yet.

Explanation is sparse and you should not use a server installed this way in a live setup, this is made with proof of concept activities in mind.

It is presumed you install it on a Unix based server such as any of the Linux flavors or BSD.

It’s also presumed that you have access to an OpenID enabled email address. Examples of OpenID enable email providers are Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail. It’s also possible to register a custom email address with OpenID, but that is outside the scope of this quick installation guide. For testing purposes one of the above providers should be fine. Please note that network access to the OpenID provider you choose is necessary for both you and your Gerrit instance. OpenID provider you choose is necessary for both you and your Gerrit instance.


Most distributions come with Java today. Do you already have Java installed?

  $ java -version
  java version "1.7.0_21"
  Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.7.0_21-b11)
  Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 23.21-b01, mixed mode)

If Java isn’t installed, get it:

Create a user to host the Gerrit service

We will run the service as a non-privileged user on your system. First create the user and then become the user:

  $ sudo adduser gerrit2
  $ sudo su gerrit2

If you don’t have root privileges you could skip this step and run Gerrit as your own user as well.

Download Gerrit

It’s time to download the archive that contains the Gerrit web and ssh service.

You can choose from different versions to download from here:

This tutorial is based on version 2.2.2, and you can download that from this link

Initialize the Site

It’s time to run the initialization, and with the batch switch enabled, we don’t have to answer any questions at all:

  gerrit2@host:~$ java -jar gerrit.war init --batch -d ~/gerrit_testsite
  Generating SSH host key ... rsa(simple)... done
  Initialized /home/gerrit2/gerrit_testsite
  Executing /home/gerrit2/gerrit_testsite/bin/ start
  Starting Gerrit Code Review: OK

When the init is complete, you can review your settings in the file '$site_path/etc/gerrit.config'.

Note that initialization also starts the server. If any settings changes are made, the server must be restarted before they will take effect.

  gerrit2@host:~$ ~/gerrit_testsite/bin/ restart
  Stopping Gerrit Code Review: OK
  Starting Gerrit Code Review: OK

The server can be also stopped and started by passing the stop and start commands to

  gerrit2@host:~$ ~/gerrit_testsite/bin/ stop
  Stopping Gerrit Code Review: OK
  gerrit2@host:~$ ~/gerrit_testsite/bin/ start
  Starting Gerrit Code Review: OK

Initial Login

It’s time to exit the gerrit2 account as you now have Gerrit running on your host and setup your first workspace.

Start a shell with the credentials of the account you will perform development under.

Check whether there are any ssh keys already. You’re looking for two files, id_rsa and

  user@host:~$ ls .ssh
  authorized_keys  config  id_rsa  known_hosts

If you have the files, you may skip the key generating step.

If you don’t see the files in your listing, your will have to generate rsa keys for your ssh sessions:

SSH key generation

Please don’t generate new keys if you already have a valid keypair! They will be overwritten!

  user@host:~$ ssh-keygen -t rsa
  Generating public/private rsa key pair.
  Enter file in which to save the key (/home/user/.ssh/id_rsa):
  Created directory '/home/user/.ssh'.
  Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
  Enter same passphrase again:
  Your identification has been saved in /home/user/.ssh/id_rsa.
  Your public key has been saved in /home/user/.ssh/
  The key fingerprint is:
  00:11:22:00:11:22:00:11:44:00:11:22:00:11:22:99 user@host
  The key's randomart image is:
  +--[ RSA 2048]----+
  |     ..+.*=+oo.*E|
  |      u.OoB.. . +|
  |       ..*.      |
  |       o         |
  |      . S ..     |
  |                 |
  |                 |
  |          ..     |
  |                 |

Registering your key in Gerrit

Open a browser and enter the canonical url of your Gerrit server. You can find the url in the settings file.

  gerrit2@host:~$ git config -f ~/gerrit_testsite/etc/gerrit.config gerrit.canonicalWebUrl

Register a new account in Gerrit through the web interface with the email address of your choice.

The default authentication type is OpenID. If your Gerrit server is behind a proxy, and you are using an external OpenID provider, you will need to add the proxy settings in the configuration file.

  gerrit2@host:~$ git config -f ~/gerrit_testsite/etc/gerrit.config --add http.proxy http://proxy:8080
  gerrit2@host:~$ git config -f ~/gerrit_testsite/etc/gerrit.config --add http.proxyUsername username
  gerrit2@host:~$ git config -f ~/gerrit_testsite/etc/gerrit.config --add http.proxyPassword password

Refer to the Gerrit configuration guide for more detailed information about authentication and proxy settings.

The first user to sign-in and register an account will be automatically placed into the fully privileged Administrators group, permitting server management over the web and over SSH. Subsequent users will be automatically registered as unprivileged users.

Once signed in as your user, you find a little wizard to get you started. The wizard helps you fill out:

  • Real name (visible name in Gerrit)

  • Register your email (it must be confirmed later)

  • Select a username with which to communicate with Gerrit over ssh+git

  • The server will ask you for an RSA public key. That’s the key we generated above, and it’s time to make sure that Gerrit knows about our new key and can identify us by it.

  user@host:~$ cat .ssh/
  ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEA1bidOd8LAp7Vp95M1b9z+LGO96OEWzdAgBPfZPq05jUh
  wzgBBBagBr0ZZCEkl74s4KFZp6JJw/ZSjMRXsXXXWvwcTpaUEDii708HGw== John Doe@MACHINE
Please take note of the extra line-breaks introduced in the key above for formatting purposes. Please be sure to copy and paste your key without line-breaks.

Copy the string starting with ssh-rsa to your clipboard and then paste it into the box for RSA keys. Make absolutely sure no extra spaces or line feeds are entered in the middle of the RSA string.

Verify that the ssh connection works for you.

  user@host:~$ ssh user@localhost -p 29418
  The authenticity of host '[localhost]:29418 ([]:29418)' can't be established.
  RSA key fingerprint is db:07:3d:c2:94:25:b5:8d:ac:bc:b5:9e:2f:95:5f:4a.
  Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
  Warning: Permanently added '[localhost]:29418' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.

  ****    Welcome to Gerrit Code Review    ****

  Hi user, you have successfully connected over SSH.

  Unfortunately, interactive shells are disabled.
  To clone a hosted Git repository, use:

  git clone ssh://user@localhost:29418/REPOSITORY_NAME.git


Project creation

Your base Gerrit server is now running and you have a user that’s ready to interact with it. You now have two options, either you create a new test project to work with or you already have a git with history that you would like to import into Gerrit and try out code review on.

New project from scratch

If you choose to create a new repository from scratch, it’s easier for you to create a project with an initial commit in it. That way first time setup between client and server is easier.

This is done via the SSH port:

  user@host:~$ ssh -p 29418 user@localhost gerrit create-project demo-project --empty-commit

This will create a repository that you can clone to work with.

Already existing project

The other alternative is if you already have a git project that you want to try out Gerrit on. First you have to create the project. This is done via the SSH port:

  user@host:~$ ssh -p 29418 user@localhost gerrit create-project demo-project

You need to make sure that at least initially your account is granted "Create Reference" privileges for the refs/heads/* reference. This is done via the web interface in the Admin/Projects/Access page that correspond to your project.

After that it’s time to upload the previous history to the server:

  user@host:~/my-project$ git push ssh://user@localhost:29418/demo-project *:*
  Counting objects: 2011, done.
  Writing objects: 100% (2011/2011), 456293 bytes, done.
  Total 2011 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0)
  To ssh://user@localhost:29418/demo-project
   * [new branch]      master -> master

This will create a repository that you can clone to work with.

My first change

Download a local clone of the repository and move into it

  user@host:~$ git clone ssh://user@localhost:29418/demo-project
  Cloning into demo-project...
  remote: Counting objects: 2, done
  remote: Finding sources: 100% (2/2)
  remote: Total 2 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0)
  user@host:~$ cd demo-project

Then make a change to it and upload it as a reviewable change in Gerrit.

  user@host:~/demo-project$ date > testfile.txt
  user@host:~/demo-project$ git add testfile.txt
  user@host:~/demo-project$ git commit -m "My pretty test commit"
  [master ff643a5] My pretty test commit
   1 files changed, 1 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
   create mode 100644 testfile.txt

Usually when you push to a remote git, you push to the reference '/refs/heads/branch', but when working with Gerrit you have to push to a virtual branch representing "code review before submission to branch". This virtual name space is known as /refs/for/<branch>

  user@host:~/demo-project$ git push origin HEAD:refs/for/master
  Counting objects: 4, done.
  Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 293 bytes, done.
  Total 3 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0)
  remote: New Changes:
  remote:   http://localhost:8080/1
  To ssh://user@localhost:29418/demo-project
   * [new branch]      HEAD -> refs/for/master

You should now be able to access your change by browsing to the http URL suggested above, http://localhost:8080/1

Quick Installation Complete

This covers the scope of getting Gerrit started and your first change uploaded. It doesn’t give any clue as to how the review workflow works, please read Default Workflow to learn more about the workflow of Gerrit.

To read more on the installation of Gerrit please see the detailed installation page.