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Deleting a user account

DETAILS: Tier: Free, Premium, Ultimate Offering: SaaS, self-managed

Users can be deleted from a GitLab instance, either by:

  • The user themselves.
  • An administrator.

NOTE: Deleting a user deletes all projects in that user namespace.

Delete your own account

  • Delay between a user deleting their own account and deletion of the user record introduced in GitLab 16.0 with a flag named delay_delete_own_user. Enabled by default on

FLAG: On self-managed GitLab, by default this feature is not available. To make it available, an administrator can enable the feature flag named delay_delete_own_user. On, this feature is available.

As a user, to delete your own account:

  1. On the left sidebar, select your avatar.
  2. Select Edit profile.
  3. On the left sidebar, select Account.
  4. Select Delete account.

NOTE: On, there is a seven day delay between a user deleting their own account and deletion of the user record. During this time, that user is blocked and a new account with the same email address or username cannot be created. Unblocking the account does not undo the deletion because the account will still be in the deletion queue, and will be deleted. Accounts with no issues, comments, notes, merge requests, or snippets are deleted immediately. Accounts under paid namespaces are deleted immediately.

Delete users and user contributions

DETAILS: Tier: Free, Premium, Ultimate Offering: Self-managed

As an administrator, to delete a user account:

  1. On the left sidebar, at the bottom, select Admin Area.
  2. Select Overview > Users.
  3. Select a user.
  4. Under the Account tab, select:
    • Delete user to delete only the user but maintain their associated records. You can't use this option if the selected user is the sole owner of any groups.
    • Delete user and contributions to delete the user and their associated records. This option also removes all groups (and projects within these groups) where the user is the sole direct Owner of a group. Inherited ownership doesn't apply.

WARNING: Using the Delete user and contributions option may result in removing more data than intended. See associated records for additional details.

Associated records

When deleting users, you can either:

  • Delete just the user, but move contributions to a system-wide "Ghost User":
    • The @ghost acts as a container for all deleted users' contributions.
    • The user's profile and personal projects are deleted, instead of moved to the Ghost User.
  • Delete the user and their contributions, including:

In both cases, commits retain user information and therefore data integrity within a Git repository.

An alternative to deleting is blocking a user.

When a user is deleted from an abuse report or spam log, these associated records are always removed.

The deleting associated records option can be requested in the API as well as the Admin Area.

WARNING: User approvals are associated with a user ID. Other user contributions do not have an associated user ID. When you delete a user and their contributions are moved to a "Ghost User", the approval contributions refer to a missing or invalid user ID. Instead of deleting users, consider blocking, banning, or deactivating them.


Deleting a user results in a PostgreSQL null value error

There is a known issue that results in users not being deleted, and the following error generated:

ERROR: null value in column "user_id" violates not-null constraint

The error can be found in the PostgreSQL log and in the Retries section of the background jobs view in the Admin Area.

If the user being deleted used the iterations feature, such as adding an issue to an iteration, you must use the workaround documented in the issue to delete the user.