GitHub vs. GitLab

There are several git hosting services available but in this text, we will take a closer look into only two of them – GitHub and GitLab. You may ask, are differences truly so big? I will tell you that, they go beyond name similarity and some strange creature in the logo. But what makes one better than another and which would work best for you? The truth is to make it work for you and your team, you must find the answer yourself. But not without some help. Think about this text as a cheat sheet that will lead you to the best decision to make. Ready, let’s start then with a short introduction to our titular heroes.

GitHub introduction

GitHub is probably one of the most recognized git hosting services in the world. For once, this is the Original. Before 2008 the development process looked much different than it is done today. There was no Agile methodology. And more progressive teams used git – which is still a superstar – or SVN. But after 2008 everything changed. Today, GitHub rules among open-source projects. It has over 56M members, the world’s largest coding community, and at least 29M public repos.

GitLab introduction

Launched in 2014 GitLab is much more DevOps oriented. From the very beginning, it was aiming to combine development, operations, and security teams within one ecosystem. And it worked. Today, GitLab is a feature-based system found to be really helpful in managing, tracking, testing, and deploying code.

The major differences between GitHub and GitLab

Pricing

For many companies licensing and money play a crucial role, let’s start then by comparing pricing plans and verifying how both services distinguish in the licensing model. 

GitHub and GitLab both offer three plans with different tiers. Plans are feature-rich, but depending on which one you choose there is a difference in their number and advance level. 

GitHub besides the free plan offers two paid options. The Team for $4 per user – which targets both individuals and organizations – and the Enterprise plan for $21 – focused more on security and compliance so important for this type of customer. 

GitLab, besides the free plan, also offers two paid alternatives. For teams, there is the Premium for $19 per user. There is also a much costlier option with all security-rich and DevOps-rich features, but this one costs $99 per user. 

Functionalities 

GitHub and GitLab are developer-dream which comes true. A vast amount of features, integrations, and add-ons – which all can make your work so much easier. Who doesn’t like to close tasks sooner, right? But there is one vital difference in this aspect. GitHub has an official marketplace that offers hundreds of hundred applications – paid or completely free – and actions. Are you looking for an automatic code review? There is CodeFactor. Or moving into a pro-GitHub backup solution – check GitProtect.io. GitLab on the other hand took a different route. There is no marketplace with third-party solutions. Instead, users get many powerful tools offered as an integral part of the GitLab platform. 

User experience

What GitHub and GitLab have to offer in this regard is quite similar. Let’s not forget that these products are leaders one the market. And for a very good reason. In the end, it all comes to personal preferences. 

GitHub has shown over the last years that it focuses more on features developed to improve team collaboration. Does it work? Open-source projects are a good example that it does work indeed. For the most part, GitHub seems to be a very friendly environment for such vast teams, splattered all around the world. Many popular open-source projects are hosted here, to name just view: there is Node.js, Ruby, TensorFlow, and a very popular among frontend developers – Visual Studio Code. 

GitLab as it focuses more on the DevOps teams is also quite good when it comes to collaboration among the team members. It offers a built-in communication and agile code review. These features come in handy during an internal debate concerning pull requests, last modification, or displaying code differences. 

Let’s finish this part by taking a closer look into customer service. In this case, both services provide outstanding support in the premium accounts. But, and there is a but… GitHub truly shines when it comes to its community. Were you ever thinking about why Microsoft bought GitHub? That’s your answer – the Community. 

A quick summary 

GitHub or GitLab? Now you should have a much clearer picture of what both services have to offer. The choice is entirely yours. And I know you will make a good one. But while you are looking into the best git hosting service keep in mind that GitHub and GitLab cannot be treated as backup solutions. There is a reason why there is a “hosting” in the name… And as you trust your software development process into these services, when it comes to GitHub backup and GitLab backup also trust specialists in this matter.