Gitlab CI: Can’t launch runners

Pedro Gomes
2 min readApr 27, 2022

If you just came across this while running Gitlab CI docker-machine instance, you may need to update the base AMI image used by docker-image as it’s currently using 16.04 (ouch!)

Some errors you may find in the logs

  • Error while stopping machine
  • Failed to process runner
  • Unable to query docker version: Cannot connect to the docker engine endpoint
  • Error creating machine: Error running provisioning: error installing docker: driver=amazonec2 name=runner-xyz
Running with gitlab-runner 14.10.0 (c6bb62f6)
on autoscale-runner y47Kmiji
Preparing the "docker+machine" executor
ERROR: Preparation failed: exit status 1
Will be retried in 3s ...
ERROR: Preparation failed: exit status 1
Will be retried in 3s ...

Find a new image in

Then specify it like

MachineOptions: [

For more updates see this Gitlab issue (they maintain the fork):

or PR to the original repo: (never merged)

Still using free tier? Read more about their latest announcement essentially stripping away most of the value from the free tier here, and if you’re looking for alternatives, one option you should consider is Hosted Git where you’d have an expert team manage your Gitlab instance for best results. Avoid loosing your focus with the issues like the above, let the experts fix it.