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Tutorial: Create, register, and run your own project runner

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This tutorial shows you how to configure and run your first runner in GitLab.

A runner is an agent in the GitLab Runner application that runs jobs in a GitLab CI/CD pipeline. Jobs are defined in the .gitlab-ci.yml file and assigned to available runners.

GitLab has three types of runners:

  • Shared: Available to all groups and projects in a GitLab instance.
  • Group: Available to all projects and subgroups in a group.
  • Project: Associated with specific projects. Typically, project runners are used by one project at a time.

For this tutorial, you'll create a project runner to run jobs defined in a basic pipeline configuration:

  1. Create a blank project
  2. Create a project pipeline.
  3. Create and register a project runner.
  4. Trigger a pipeline to run your runner.

Before you begin

Before you can create, register, and run a runner, GitLab Runner must be installed on a local computer.

Create a blank project

First, create a blank project where you can create your CI/CD pipeline and runner.

To create a blank project:

  1. On the left sidebar, at the top, select Create new ({plus}) and New project/repository.
  2. Select Create blank project.
  3. Enter the project details:
    • In the Project name field, enter the name of your project. The name must start with a lowercase or uppercase letter (a-zA-Z), digit (0-9), emoji, or underscore (_). It can also contain dots (.), pluses (+), dashes (-), or spaces.
    • In the Project slug field, enter the path to your project. The GitLab instance uses the slug as the URL path to the project. To change the slug, first enter the project name, then change the slug.
  4. Select Create project.

Create a project pipeline

Next, create a .gitlab-ci.yml file for your project. This is a YAML file where you specify instructions for GitLab CI/CD.

In this file, you define:

  • The structure and order of jobs that the runner should execute.
  • The decisions the runner should make when specific conditions are encountered.
  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project or group.

  2. Select Project overview.

  3. Select the plus icon ({plus}), then select New file.

  4. In the Filename field, enter .gitlab-ci.yml.

  5. In the large text box, paste this sample configuration:

      - build
      - test
      stage: build
        - echo "Building the project"
      stage: test
        - echo "Running tests"

    In this configuration there are two jobs that the runner runs: a build job and a test job.

  6. Select Commit changes.

Create and register a project runner

Next, create a project runner and register it. You must register the runner to link it to GitLab so that it can pick up jobs from the project pipeline.

To create a project runner:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.

  2. Select Settings > CI/CD.

  3. Expand the Runners section.

  4. Select New project runner.

  5. Select your operating system.

  6. In the Tags section, select the Run untagged checkbox. Tags specify which jobs the runner can run and are optional.

  7. Select Create runner.

  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to register the runner from the command line. When prompted:

    • For executor, because your runner will run directly on the host computer, enter shell. The executor is the environment where the runner executes the job.
    • For GitLab instance URL, use the URL for your GitLab instance. For example, if your project is hosted on, then your GitLab instance URL is If your project is hosted on, the URL is
  9. Start your runner:

    gitlab-runner run

Check the runner configuration file

After you register the runner, the configuration and runner authentication token is saved to your config.toml. The runner uses the token to authenticate with GitLab when picking up jobs from the job queue.

You can use the config.toml to define more advanced runner configurations.

Here's what your config.toml should look like after you register and start the runner:

  name = "my-project-runner1"
  url = ""
  id = 38
  token = "glrt-TOKEN"
  token_obtained_at = 2023-07-05T08:56:33Z
  token_expires_at = 0001-01-01T00:00:00Z
  executor = "shell"

Trigger a pipeline to run your runner

Next, trigger a pipeline in your project so you can view your runner execute a job.

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.

  2. Select Build > Pipelines.

  3. Select Run pipeline.

  4. Select a job to view the job log. The output should look similar to this example, which shows your runner successfully executing the job:

       Running with gitlab-runner 16.2.0 (782e15da)
       on my-project-runner TOKEN, system ID: SYSTEM ID
       Preparing the "shell" executor
       Using Shell (bash) executor...
       Preparing environment
       /Users/username/.bash_profile: line 9: setopt: command not found
       Running on MACHINE-NAME...
       Getting source from Git repository
       /Users/username/.bash_profile: line 9: setopt: command not found
       Fetching changes with git depth set to 20...
       Reinitialized existing Git repository in /Users/username/project-repository
       Checking out 7226fc70 as detached HEAD (ref is main)...
       Skipping object checkout, Git LFS is not installed for this repository.
       Consider installing it with 'git lfs install'.
       Skipping Git submodules setup
       Executing "step_script" stage of the job script
       /Users/username/.bash_profile: line 9: setopt: command not found
       $ echo "Building the project"
       Building the project
       Job succeeded

You have now successfully created, registered, and run your first runner!