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User file uploads

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Users can upload files to:

  • Issues or merge requests in a project.
  • Epics in a group.

GitLab generates direct URLs for these images with a random 32-character ID to prevent unauthorized users from guessing the URLs. This randomization offers some security for images containing sensitive information.

Access control for uploaded files

  • Enforced authorization checks introduced in GitLab 14.8 with a flag named enforce_auth_checks_on_uploads. Disabled by default.
  • Enforced authorization checks became generally available in GitLab 15.3. Feature flag enforce_auth_checks_on_uploads removed.
  • Project settings in the user interface introduced in GitLab 15.3.

Access to non-image files uploaded to:

  • Issues or merge requests is determined by the project visibility.
  • Group epics is determined by the group visibility.

For public projects or groups, anyone can access these files through the direct attachment URL, even if the issue, merge request, or epic is confidential. For private and internal projects, GitLab ensures only authenticated project members can access non-image file uploads, such as PDFs. By default, image files do not have the same restriction, and anyone can view them using the URL. To protect image files, enable authorization checks for all media files, making them viewable only by authenticated users.

Authentication checks for images can cause display issues in the body of notification emails. Emails are frequently read from clients (such as Outlook, Apple Mail, or your mobile device) not authenticated with GitLab. Images in emails appear broken and unavailable if the client is not authorized to GitLab.

Enable authorization checks for all media files

Only authenticated project members can view non-image attachments (including PDFs) in private and internal projects.

To apply authentication requirements to image files in private or internal projects:


  • You must have the Maintainer or Owner role for the project.
  • Your project visibility settings must be Private or Internal.

To configure authentication settings for all media files:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Settings > General.
  3. Expand Visibility, project features, permissions.
  4. Scroll to Project visibility and select Require authentication to view media files.

NOTE: You cannot select this option for public projects.

Delete uploaded files

You should delete an uploaded file when that file contains sensitive or confidential information. When you have deleted that file, users cannot access the file and the direct URL returns a 404 error.

Project Owners and Maintainers can use the interactive GraphQL explorer to access a GraphQL endpoint and delete an uploaded file.

For example:

  uploadDelete(input: { projectPath: "<path/to/project>", secret: "<32-character-id>" , filename: "<filename>" }) {
    upload {

Project members that do not have the Owner or Maintainer role cannot access this GraphQL endpoint.