Using MySQL

Many applications depend on MySQL as their database, and you may need it for your tests to run.

Use MySQL with the Docker executor

If you want to use a MySQL container, you can use GitLab Runner with the Docker executor.

  1. Create variables for your MySQL database and password by going to Settings > CI/CD, expanding Variables, and clicking Add Variable.

    This example uses $MYSQL_DB and $MYSQL_PASS as the keys.

  2. To specify a MySQL image, add the following to your .gitlab-ci.yml file:

      - mysql:latest
    • You can use any Docker image available on Docker Hub. For example, to use MySQL 5.5, use mysql:5.5.
    • The mysql image can accept environment variables. For more information, view the Docker Hub documentation.
  3. To include the database name and password, add the following to your .gitlab-ci.yml file:

      # Configure mysql environment variables (

    The MySQL container uses MYSQL_DATABASE and MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD to connect to the database. Pass these values by using variables ($MYSQL_DB and $MYSQL_PASS), rather than calling them directly.

  4. Configure your application to use the database, for example:

    Host: mysql
    User: runner
    Password: <your_mysql_password>
    Database: <your_mysql_database>

Use MySQL with the Shell executor

You can also use MySQL on manually-configured servers that use GitLab Runner with the Shell executor.

  1. Install the MySQL server:

    sudo apt-get install -y mysql-server mysql-client libmysqlclient-dev
  2. Choose a MySQL root password and type it twice when asked.

    NOTE: Note: As a security measure, you can run mysql_secure_installation to remove anonymous users, drop the test database, and disable remote logins by the root user.

  3. Create a user by logging in to MySQL as root:

    mysql -u root -p
  4. Create a user (in this case, runner) that will be used by your application. Change $password in the command to a strong password.

    At the mysql> prompt, type:

    CREATE USER 'runner'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '$password';
  5. Create the database:

    CREATE DATABASE IF NOT EXISTS `<your_mysql_database>` DEFAULT CHARACTER SET `utf8` \
    COLLATE `utf8_unicode_ci`;
  6. Grant the necessary permissions on the database:

  7. If all went well, you can quit the database session:

  8. Connect to the newly-created database to check that everything is in place:

    mysql -u runner -p -D <your_mysql_database>
  9. Configure your application to use the database, for example:

    Host: localhost
    User: runner
    Password: $password
    Database: <your_mysql_database>

Example project

To view a MySQL example, create a fork of this sample project. This project uses publicly-available shared runners on Update the file, commit your changes, and view the CI/CD pipeline to see it in action.