Gitlab vs Github: Choosing What's Right for Your Company

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Celso Crivelaro
Celso Crivelaro
Head of Engineering

Table of Contents

Using GitLab or GitHub have its own unique set of circumstances for your code management for your development teams, and we have a breakdown of the pros and cons to each.
Published on
August 2, 2023
Updated on
April 11, 2024

When it comes to version control, you don't want to take any chances. For this reason, most tech companies must carefully evaluate the technologies or tools that best fit their business needs. Amongst such technologies are two of the biggest names in DevOps: GitLab and GitHub. While both offer excellent features for collaborating on code versions, there are differences between these platforms that can often influence which is better suited for a particular business.

In this post, we will discuss GitLab vs GitHub free, GitLab vs GitHub terminology, and the key pros and cons of both GitLab and GitHub so you can confidently choose what's suitable for your company.

GitLab vs GitHub

For source code management, deciding between GitLab and GitHub can be challenging. Both offer a range of features that allow collaboration on source code, from source code repositories to project management tools. While they offer similar features, they differ in user authorization and access control, source code integration, and user interface.

GitLab is famous for its advanced access control and user authorization levels that provide granular and detailed control over who can view, commit, or modify source code. Additionally, GitLab's source code integration capabilities offer easy collaboration with external services like JIRA, Slack, and Mattermost.

GitLab vs GitHub Pricing

When considering GitHub vs GitLab, pricing is an essential factor to consider. While both offer free plans, they vary significantly in terms of their paid plans available. Both services offer competitive pricing plans, with subscription levels tailored to different needs and budgets. Pricing for both GitHub and GitLab can vary depending on usage, but generally speaking, both services offer free versions and paid plans.

GitLab vs GitHub Number of Users

When comparing the GitHub vs GitLab market share, there is a clear distinction between the two platforms. GitHub currently has over 100 million users, making it the dominant player in the market. GitLab, on the other hand, has fewer users, at around 30 million, but its user base is steadily growing.

Each platform's relative number of users can be an essential factor when choosing the right solution for your organization. A large user base increases the chance that specific questions and problems have already been addressed, making it easier to find potential solutions. The more extensive user base also indicates that more third-party integrations and plug-ins are available, making it easier to customize your platform to meet specific needs.

GitLab vs GitHub Differences

GitLab and GitHub are two of the most popular version control systems, offering both public and private repositories for hosting source code. Both services offer powerful collaboration features, including issue tracking, code review, and pull requests. However, there are also some notable differences between the two services. GitLab offers a complete application lifecycle management platform and includes CI/CD capabilities, while GitHub does not offer these features.

GitLab vs GitHub Similarities

Despite their differences, GitLab and GitHub also share some similarities. One fundamental similarity is their broad range of features, including project tracking tools and code review systems. Both platforms offer access control and user management options, allowing users to collaborate on projects quickly. They both support various programming languages, such as JavaScript and Python.

Both services use git as their version control system and offer reliable online storage for source code. Both also provide API access for integrating into other applications and webhooks for custom integration. Finally, each platform provides an extensive library of plug-ins to extend their services and help users customize their experience.

What Is Github Enterprise?

GitHub Enterprise is a subscription plan designed to fit the needs of businesses. It takes the same underlying technology as GitHub tailored to large organizations with stringent security and compliance needs. It provides a private repository and secure hosting environment for teams to collaborate, track progress, and confidently deploy code.

With its enterprise-level security and flexibility, GitHub Enterprise enables teams to develop, share, and manage code in a secure environment. It also offers access control, integrated identity management, and policy enforcement. This ensures that only authenticated users can access your repositories while sensitive data remains secure in compliance with regulations.

Program Basics

GitHub Enterprise provides products geared toward collaboration, code management, integration, scalability, security, deployment, and more. With features like repositories, issues, projects, pull requests, and code reviews, teams can work together to develop and deploy secure software faster than ever before.

GitHub Enterprise comes with a cloud-hosted development environment — GitHub Codespaces — that allows developers to code and integrate their source code in a secure environment. Organizations can use built-in code security features to ensure their code is secure and up-to-date. Additionally, GitHub Actions can automate build, test, and deployment pipelines. Finally, GitHub Packages provides a way to host software projects in the cloud.

Github Advantages

GitHub Enterprise offers a comprehensive set of features and benefits for organizations that need enterprise plans. These include:

  • Comprehensive security features such as SAML SSO and two-factor authentication organizations need to protect their data.
  • Data access control and role-based permissions that only allow authorized users to access data.
  • An intuitive user interface and powerful search capabilities for quickly finding information.
  • Comprehensive integrations with third-party tools that enable organizations to use their existing systems, such as bug tracking, project management, and customer support applications.
  • Comprehensive analytics and reporting capabilities to help organizations gain insights into project performance, user activity, and resource utilization.

Github Disadvantages

Despite the many advantages of GitHub Enterprise, there are some significant disadvantages that organizations need to consider before using it. These include:

  • Higher costs: GitHub Enterprise is significantly more expensive than the other Github products, and the organization will need to pay a subscription fee for each user.
  • Increased complexity: It can be more complex to set up and maintain a GitHub Enterprise server than other Github products.
  • Steep learning curve: The user interface is more complex than some of the other Github products, and it may take users longer to become familiar with it.

What Is Gitlab?

As an open-source DevOps platform, GitLab helps teams work together on software projects. Featuring a suite of integrated tools such as git repositories, GitLab CI pipelines, and issue tracking, GitLab provides an end-to-end solution for software development teams.

Program Basics

At its core, GitLab is a version control tool that allows users to log changes and track progress over time. It offers an intuitive web-based interface for managing and organizing code in a secure environment. It also provides powerful collaboration and workflow features for teams. Other features include branch management, issue tracking, and code review. With GitLab, developers can easily view the project's entire history from start to finish and compare different code versions.

This makes debugging and troubleshooting much more straightforward than other version control systems. GitLab also offers powerful tools for automation, continuous integration, and deployment. All these features combined make GitLab an ideal solution for distributed teams that must maintain consistent coding standards and collaborate effectively on projects.

GitLab also provides a rich feature set for hosting and managing repositories, including access control, issue tracking, wikis and snippets, forking and merge requests, and code review. It also offers a built-in continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform. This provides an automated workflow to test, build, and deploy code securely and safely.

Gitlab Advantages

GitLab is a powerful and versatile tool that offers many advantages for developers. Due to its comprehensive features, it is a preferred choice for developers looking to manage their code base and collaborate efficiently with peers. The following are some of the critical advantages that GitLab provides:

  • Removes toolchain complexity: GitLab allows developers to manage their entire development pipeline from one centralized platform, removing the need for additional tools.
  • Increase software quality: The built-in code review capabilities of GitLab allow developers to inspect and assess the quality of their code quickly. This ensures that software code is of the highest quality and up to industry standards.
  • Self-hosting available on any plan: GitLab provides self-hosting options, allowing developers to host their code repositories in a secure, private environment.
  • Inbuilt continuous integrations: GitLab provides built-in CI/CD capabilities, allowing developers to automate their code's testing, building, and deployment without needing third-party integrations.

Gitlab Disadvantages

Gitlab can be a powerful and effective source control system, but as with any other software, it also has drawbacks. The following are some of the key disadvantages to consider when using GitLab:

  • Support: Gitlab is essentially a self-support system. If you encounter any issues, you may need to rely on online documentation or community forums to get help.
  • Costly: GitLab's paid plans can be expensive, especially for businesses with large teams that need additional features and support.

GitHub vs. Gitlab: How to Choose Between the Two

Although both GitHub and GitLab offer similar services, there are some key considerations to make when choosing the right platform for your project. Both platforms offer robust features and tools, but each platform may be better suited for specific use cases. When deciding between the two, consider your collaboration needs, project goals, and the type of development environment you're working in. The following factors can help you arrive at a decision:

Look at Your Budget

It is essential to consider your budget if you are trying to decide between GitHub and GitLab. Depending on what features you need for your project, there can be a significant difference in cost between the two. While both offer free plans, GitLab offers more expensive plans starting at $19 per user per month for the Premium plan and $99 per user per month for the Ultimate plan.

On the other hand, GitHub starts at $4 per user per month for the GitHub Team plan and goes up to $21 per user per month for the GitHub Enterprise plan. When making your decision, it is essential to look at what you will receive with each plan and decide which best suits your budget.

Check Which Additional Features You Need

When choosing between GitHub and GitLab, it is crucial to consider the additional features each platform provides. If you want to self-host a repository, then GitLab is the more suitable option. It can be installed on your server and provides additional features such as user management, issue tracking, and wiki hosting. On the other hand, GitHub is more suitable for public repositories and open-source projects and offers static analysis tools, package management, and deploys.

Determine if Speed or Dependability Is More Important

When evaluating between GitHub and GitLab, it is critical to determine if speed or dependability is the more important factor. GitHub prioritizes speed and offers users a user-friendly interface with many features. On the other hand, GitLab is currently known for its dependable commit process with built-in continuous integration and delivery features.

Depending on the user's needs, either could be the more beneficial choice. If rapid development is essential, then GitHub may be the better option. For those users looking for a more reliable system, GitLab could be the better option.

Decide if You Need Separate or Merged Branches

For organizations that need to manage multiple projects, it is essential to consider whether to use separate or merged branches. Separate branches allow teams to work independently on different projects while keeping them separate from each other in the codebase. Merged branches let teams collaborate on the same main branch and share code changes between them. When deciding between GitHub and GitLab, consider whether separate or merged branches are necessary.

Hire DevOps with Revelo for Expert Help

If you're trying to decide whether GitHub or Gitlab is the right fit for your business, it's important to consider your needs and objectives. Both platforms have unique features and benefits, so choosing the one that best suits your particular situation is essential. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what matters most to you and your team. If you need a powerful, secure development environment that offers control over your data, then GitHub Enterprise may be the best option. However, if you're looking for a cost-effective and comprehensive DevOps solution, then GitLab may be the better choice.

Having the right tools in place is just a part of the process. To get the most out of your development environment and ensure successful deployments, you must have reliable and experienced software developers — and that's where Revelo can help. We are a talent marketplace that connects tech companies in the US with pre-vetted remote software engineers in Latin America. We partner with hundreds of companies, helping them scale their engineering teams quickly and efficiently. We're committed to helping our clients find the right engineers for their needs. To learn more about how we work and can help you build your perfect team, visit our website or fill out this form today.

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