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Why Is The State Of My GitLab CI/CD Jobs Stuck In Pending?

TL;DR - Too Long; Didn't Read

When utilizing GitLab for CI/CD operations, it's not uncommon to encounter jobs stuck in the "pending" state. This hiccup can arise from various factors, including runner misconfigurations, errors in pipeline setup, or even platform-specific issues with GitLab itself.

While GitLab is a powerful tool for CI/CD operations, it's notoriously known for having unstable runners at times.

If you're seeking a simplified solution, consider exploring Cloud-Runner for enhanced CI/CD management.

Understanding the Problem & Its Causes

When using GitLab for CI/CD, one might occasionally observe that jobs remain in a 'pending' state for extended periods. This delay can be attributed to various reasons, with runners being the primary cause:


These are agents responsible for running the CI/CD jobs. Any misconfigurations or issues here are the foremost reasons for jobs remaining pending. The unstable nature of GitLab's Shared Runners (available in the free plan), as is often reported by users, can be a significant contributor to this issue.

Pipeline Configuration

Pipelines are defined using the .gitlab-ci.yml file. Errors in its syntax or configuration might halt jobs.

GitLab Itself

Sometimes, the platform may experience outages or other service-related issues.

Methods to Debug and Resolve the Issue

GitLab CI/CD jobs may remain in the pending state for a number of causes, such as problems with the runners, pipelines, or GitLab itself. You can follow these methods to investigate and resolve this problem:

Step 1: Check Runner Status

Checking the runner status in the GitLab web interface is the first step. Make sure the program is activated and configured properly. By going to Settings > CI/CD > Runners in the GitLab web interface, you can verify the status of the runner.

Step 2: Check Runner Tags

The next stage is to check the runner tags if the runner is active and the runner status is accurate. Make sure the identifiers used by the runner correspond to those listed in the .gitlab-ci.yml file.

Step 3: Check Pipeline Configuration

The pipeline setup is checked next if the runner tags are accurate. Make sure the pipeline is set up correctly and that the .gitlab-ci.yml file is free of syntax mistakes and absent variables.

Step 4: Check Pipeline Logs

Checking the pipeline's logs is the next stage to determine if the configuration is correct. You can determine where and why the pipeline is failing using the records. By going to CI/CD > Pipelines and selecting the desired pipeline, you can examine the logs in the GitLab web interface. On the right side of the screen, the logs will be visible.

Step 5: Check GitLab Status

If the aforementioned procedures are unsuccessful in fixing the problem, GitLab itself may be to blame. If there are any documented problems with the GitLab service, check the GitLab status page.

Step 6: Increase Runner Limit

If you operate your own GitLab Runners, it is conceivable that the runners are too busy to accept new jobs if there are many pipelines operating. To enable more runners to perform jobs concurrently, you can raise the maximum number of concurrent runners in the GitLab Runner configuration.

To increase the maximum number of concurrent runners, add the following line to the runner configuration file (/etc/gitlab-runner/config.toml):

concurrent = 10

The highest number of concurrent runners is increased to 10 in the example above.


In conclusion, problems with runners, pipelines, or GitLab itself can cause CI/CD jobs in GitLab to remain in the pending state. You can troubleshoot and resolve the problem and make sure that your pipeline functions properly by carrying out the methods listed above.

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