Robert's Data Science Blog

Install R Packages From GitLab

The remotes package makes it possible to install packages from different sources – including GitLab.

For the sake of argument, let us assume my GitLab is hosted at and that I want to install an R package whose repository

This can be done with the command

remotes::install_gitlab("path/to/package", host = "", dependencies = TRUE)


To authenticate against GitLab’s API a personal access token is needed: Click on your user profile in the upper right corner and select “Settings”. Choose “Access Tokens” and create a token with “Scopes” read_api.

The default option in remotes::install_gitlab is to look for such a token in an environment variable called GITLAB_PAT. To make such a variable available in all R sessions it can be saved in the user .Renviron file. This file can be accessed directly from R:

file.edit(path.expand(file.path("~", ".Renviron")))

With a token <token> it is entered in .Renviron as


Internal dependencies

This package may also have dependencies that are located on GitLab. These should be listed in unofficial Remotes field in the DESCRIPTION file as explained in this devtools vignette:


A package along with its dependencies can then be installed with this command:

devtools::install(dependencies = TRUE, host = "")

The dependencies argument ensures that packages in the Remotes and Suggests fields of DESCRIPTION gets installed as well.