Reply by email

GitLab can be set up to allow users to comment on issues and merge requests by replying to notification emails.

Get a mailbox

Reply by email requires an IMAP-enabled email account, with a provider or server that supports email sub-addressing. Sub-addressing is a feature where any email to user+some_arbitrary_tag@example.com will end up in the mailbox for user@example.com, and is supported by providers such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com and iCloud, as well as the Postfix mail server which you can run on-premises.

If you want to use Gmail with Reply by email, make sure you have IMAP access enabled and allow less secure apps to access the account.

To set up a basic Postfix mail server with IMAP access on Ubuntu, follow these instructions.

Set it up

In this example, we'll use the Gmail address gitlab-incoming@gmail.com.

Omnibus package installations

  1. Find the incoming_email section in /etc/gitlab/gitlab.rb, enable the feature, enter the email address including a placeholder for the key that references the item being replied to and fill in the details for your specific IMAP server and email account:

    gitlab_rails['incoming_email_enabled'] = true
    gitlab_rails['incoming_email_address'] = "gitlab-incoming+%{key}@gmail.com"
    gitlab_rails['incoming_email_host'] = "imap.gmail.com" # IMAP server host
    gitlab_rails['incoming_email_port'] = 993 # IMAP server port
    gitlab_rails['incoming_email_ssl'] = true # Whether the IMAP server uses SSL
    gitlab_rails['incoming_email_email'] = "gitlab-incoming@gmail.com"  # Email account username. Usually the full email address.
    gitlab_rails['incoming_email_password'] = "password" # Email account password
    gitlab_rails['incoming_email_mailbox_name'] = "inbox" # The name of the mailbox where incoming mail will end up. Usually "inbox".

    As mentioned, the part after + in the address is ignored, and any email sent here will end up in the mailbox for gitlab-incoming@gmail.com.

  2. Reconfigure GitLab for the changes to take effect:

    sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
  3. Verify that everything is configured correctly:

    sudo gitlab-rake gitlab:incoming_email:check
  4. Reply by email should now be working.

Installations from source

  1. Go to the GitLab installation directory:

    cd /home/git/gitlab
  2. Find the incoming_email section in config/gitlab.yml, enable the feature and enter the email address including a placeholder for the key that references the item being replied to:

    sudo editor config/gitlab.yml
    incoming_email:
      enabled: true
      address: "gitlab-incoming+%{key}@gmail.com"

    As mentioned, the part after + in the address is ignored, and any email sent here will end up in the mailbox for gitlab-incoming@gmail.com.

  3. Copy config/mail_room.yml.example to config/mail_room.yml:

    sudo cp config/mail_room.yml.example config/mail_room.yml
  4. Uncomment the configuration options in config/mail_room.yml and fill in the details for your specific IMAP server and email account:

    sudo editor config/mail_room.yml
    :mailboxes:
      -
        # IMAP server host
        :host: "imap.gmail.com"
        # IMAP server port
        :port: 993
        # Whether the IMAP server uses SSL
        :ssl: true
        # Whether the IMAP server uses StartTLS
        :start_tls: false
        # Email account username. Usually the full email address.
        :email: "gitlab-incoming@gmail.com"
        # Email account password
        :password: "[REDACTED]"
        # The name of the mailbox where incoming mail will end up. Usually "inbox".
        :name: "inbox"
        # Always "sidekiq".
        :delivery_method: sidekiq
        # Always true.
        :delete_after_delivery: true
        :delivery_options:
          # The URL to the Redis server used by Sidekiq. Should match the URL in config/resque.yml.
          :redis_url: redis://localhost:6379
          # Always "resque:gitlab".
          :namespace: resque:gitlab
          # Always "incoming_email".
          :queue: incoming_email
          # Always "EmailReceiverWorker"
          :worker: EmailReceiverWorker
  5. Edit the init script configuration at /etc/default/gitlab to enable mail_room:

    sudo mkdir -p /etc/default
    echo 'mail_room_enabled=true' | sudo tee -a /etc/default/gitlab
  6. Restart GitLab:

    sudo service gitlab restart
  7. Verify that everything is configured correctly:

    sudo -u git -H bundle exec rake gitlab:incoming_email:check RAILS_ENV=production
  8. Reply by email should now be working.

Development

  1. Go to the GitLab installation directory.

  2. Find the incoming_email section in config/gitlab.yml, enable the feature and enter the email address including a placeholder for the key that references the item being replied to:

    incoming_email:
      enabled: true
      address: "gitlab-incoming+%{key}@gmail.com"

    As mentioned, the part after + is ignored, and this will end up in the mailbox for gitlab-incoming@gmail.com.

  3. Copy config/mail_room.yml.example to config/mail_room.yml:

    sudo cp config/mail_room.yml.example config/mail_room.yml
  4. Uncomment the configuration options in config/mail_room.yml and fill in the details for your specific IMAP server and email account:

    :mailboxes:
      -
        # IMAP server host
        :host: "imap.gmail.com"
        # IMAP server port
        :port: 993
        # Whether the IMAP server uses SSL
        :ssl: true
        # Whether the IMAP server uses StartTLS
        :start_tls: false
        # Email account username. Usually the full email address.
        :email: "gitlab-incoming@gmail.com"
        # Email account password
        :password: "[REDACTED]"
        # The name of the mailbox where incoming mail will end up. Usually "inbox".
        :name: "inbox"
        # Always "sidekiq".
        :delivery_method: sidekiq
        # Always true.
        :delete_after_delivery: true
        :delivery_options:
          # The URL to the Redis server used by Sidekiq. Should match the URL in config/resque.yml.
          :redis_url: redis://localhost:6379
          # Always "resque:gitlab".
          :namespace: resque:gitlab
          # Always "incoming_email".
          :queue: incoming_email
          # Always "EmailReceiverWorker"
          :worker: EmailReceiverWorker
  5. Uncomment the mail_room line in your Procfile:

    mail_room: bundle exec mail_room -q -c config/mail_room.yml
  6. Restart GitLab:

    bundle exec foreman start
  7. Verify that everything is configured correctly:

    bundle exec rake gitlab:incoming_email:check RAILS_ENV=development
  8. Reply by email should now be working.