How To Install and Serve Gitweb on NGINX in Debian

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Gitweb is the free and easy alternative to GitHub for anyone looking for a simple way to view and share git repositories online. You don’t get all the attractive features like easy HTTP cloning, actions, and metrics, but you get a minimalist web front end for displaying your git repositories; and for many use cases that’s plenty. You can customize the look and feel of your Gitweb installation with CSS, if you want, and it’s easy to configure Gitweb on the NGINX web server in Debian.

In order to follow along with this article you will need to have a basic understanding of how to interact with a command prompt to do the following:

  • Install programs like Gitweb and FastCGI
  • Install, stop, start, and restart services like NGINX
  • Edit files on the command line
Gitweb project page, with commits listed for your convenience.

Key Features

Web front end
Visualize all of your git projects in one neat web interface, making your git progress easy to see and share with others
Find exactly what you’re looking for
Search through commits, commit authors, or actual content with recursive grep and regex search queries
Visual git diff
See and share exactly what changed on a recent commit
Project snapshots
Download a zipped archive of your project from any point in its history
Open raw files
View a file blob or the raw file itself right in your web browser

Installing Dependencies: Gitweb, NGINX, and FastCGI

By default your cloud VPS server comes with the Apache web server installed. This will conflict with Ngnix, so I’d recommend stopping the apache2 service:

sudo service apache2 stop

You could also remove apache2 entirely:

apt remove apache2

If you haven’t already, make sure to install the git version control system; even if you have git installed locally you will need to have it installed on the server as well:

apt install git

Moving along, you will also want to install the Gitweb application itself:

apt install gitweb

Then install FastCGI:

apt install fcgiwrap

Finally, make sure to install the NGINX web server:

apt install nginx

Set Up Ngnix Configuration

The configuration below allows you to use any domain or subdomain you want to serve your Gitweb installation from. Of course, you must first make sure that you have your DNS configured properly. If you already have a website on your primary domain (, you can use a CNAME to create a subdomain (, for example).

server {
  listen 80;
  #replace "" below with your domain (or subdomain)
  location /index.cgi {
    root /usr/share/gitweb/;
    include fastcgi_params;
    gzip off;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_NAME $uri;
    fastcgi_param GITWEB_CONFIG /etc/gitweb.conf;
    fastcgi_pass  unix:/var/run/fcgiwrap.socket;

  location / {
    root /usr/share/gitweb/;
    index index.cgi;

Now, make sure to reload your NGINX configuration:

sudo service nginx restart

Now when you reload the page, you should see the Gitweb interface with a “No projects found” warning. If you have not set up remote Git repositories yet, you can set up your bare git repos in the /var/lib/git directory, which is the default location Gitweb checks for repos. You can customize this directory location with the Gitweb configuration file: /etc/gitweb.conf.

For further reading, check out some of the other git-related content from the Support Center:

Christopher Maiorana Content Writer II

Christopher Maiorana joined the InMotion community team in 2015 and regularly dispenses tips and tricks in the Support Center, Community Q&A, and the InMotion Hosting Blog.

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