Protected Branches

Permissions in GitLab are fundamentally defined around the idea of having read or write permission to the repository and branches.

To prevent people from messing with history or pushing code without review, we've created protected branches.

A protected branch does three simple things:

  • it prevents pushes from everybody except users with Master permission
  • it prevents anyone from force pushing to the branch
  • it prevents anyone from deleting the branch

You can make any branch a protected branch. GitLab makes the master branch a protected branch by default.

To protect a branch, user needs to have at least a Master permission level, see permissions document.

protected branches page

Navigate to project settings page and select protected branches. From the Branch dropdown menu select the branch you want to protect.

Some workflows, like GitLab workflow, require all users with write access to submit a Merge request in order to get the code into a protected branch.

Since Masters and Owners can already push to protected branches, that means Developers cannot push to protected branch and need to submit a Merge request.

However, there are workflows where that is not needed and only protecting from force pushes and branch removal is useful.

For those workflows, you can allow everyone with write access to push to a protected branch by selecting Developers can push check box.

On already protected branches you can also allow developers to push to the repository by selecting the Developers can push check box.

Developers can push

Wildcard Protected Branches

Note: This feature was added in GitLab 8.10.

  1. You can specify a wildcard protected branch, which will protect all branches matching the wildcard. For example:

    Wildcard Protected Branch Matching Branches
    *-stable production-stable, staging-stable
    production/* production/app-server, production/load-balancer
    *gitlab* gitlab, gitlab/staging, master/gitlab/production
  2. Protected branch settings (like "Developers Can Push") apply to all matching branches.

  3. Two different wildcards can potentially match the same branch. For example, *-stable and production-* would both match a production-stable branch.

    Note: If any of these protected branches have "Developers Can Push" set to true, then production-stable has it set to true.

  4. If you click on a protected branch's name, you will be presented with a list of all matching branches:

    protected branch matches