Bitbucket vs GitHub vs GitLab

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Bitbucket

31K
24.1K
+ 1
2.8K
GitHub

181K
147.7K
+ 1
10.2K
GitLab

40.9K
33.3K
+ 1
2.3K

GitHub vs. Bitbucket vs. GitLab - Help me decide


At some point in any software project, you will need to share your code with other developers. If you’re using Git for source control, there are three primary options: Github, Bitbucket, or Gitlab. Understanding the differences and tradeoffs between these three repository management platforms is vital to choosing the best option for your team.

Pull (or Merge) Request Process

One of the core features in any team-based version control platform is the pull request process. This typically happens when a team member completes a new feature and wants to get their code merged into the development or production branch of the codebase.

github_vs_bitbucket_gitlab-pull-request.jpg

The feature to be merged will typically be reviewed by another developer during a code review process, and they may want to use the pull request (called “merge request” in Gitlab) feature included in the repository management platform. Let’s take a look at the differences between Github, Bitbucket, and Gitlab in this area.

1. Github’s Pull Request Feature

The pull request process in Github is designed with team-based projects in mind. In order to facilitate that workflow, Github provides some interesting features:

  • Assign pull requests to teammates
  • Attach milestones, projects, and labels to provide context
  • Subscribe to be notified when the pull request changes
  • Diff of changes between source and base branch
  • One-click merge and delete source branch
  • Integration with external continuous integration tools
  • Pull request templates to ensure contributing guidelines are being followed
  • Conversations around parts of the code that require resolution
  • Required reviews to ensure that every pull request is signed off by someone before the merge

2. Bitbucket’s Pull Request Feature

Bitbucket's pull requests are similar, although they do not offer quite as many features. Bitbucket does offer everything you need though:

  • Assign pull requests to teammates
  • Advanced text editor for comments and descriptions
  • Subscribe to be notified when the pull request changes
  • Diff of changes between source and base branch
  • One-click merge and delete source branch
  • Integration with external continuous integration tools
  • Option to require reviewer approval before merge

3. Gitlab’s Merge Request Feature

While named differently, Gitlab merge requests work pretty much the same way as pull requests. You get most of the same core features:

  • Assign merge requests to teammates
  • WIP (Work In Progress) indicator to open merge requests before they're ready to be merged
  • Integration with milestones/labels for merge request context
  • Team members can subscribe to be notified when the request is merged
  • Diff of changes between source and base branch
  • Integration with external continuous integration tools
  • One-click merge and delete source branch

One usablity difference in Gitlab is that you have to make a couple clicks to get to the diff of changes - they aren't shown by default.

While Github's pull request process has the most unique features, it may be distracting if your team doesn't need all of them. Creating a sustainable, repeatable workflow is often better than trying to do everything.

Integrations

Another common use case for repository hosting platforms is to trigger continuous integration, or continuous deployment. Typically teams will use other services to manage these tasks, so the ability to link their source control repository with third party services is another core feature of Github, Bitbucket, and Gitlab.

Github’s marketplace recently underwent an overhaul, so they now have two places for integrations with third party tools: the Github Marketplace and Works with Github. Marketplace is smaller, but it allows third party applications to actually sell services through Github. Works with Github boasts several hundred integrations with other existing services. Github also has a robust REST API if you need to create your own custom integrations.

Bitbucket is owned by Atlassian so if you use Jira or Bamboo you may appreciate Bitbucket’s built-in integrations. Bitbucket also has a robust app marketplace, and an API that allows you to build your own integrations. It's also worth noting that Bitbucket has its own Pipelines tool that can do your continuous integration and delivery for you.

While Gitlab has fewer built-in integrations (20 are listed in the admin documentation) than either Github or Bitbucket, it is open source, meaning that any part of the code can be customized. This is rarely a necessity though as they also provide a robust plugin system and REST API. You can even customize the login page and user interface to project your team’s personality or company’s brand. Gitlab also offers its own continuous integration tool built into the platform.

Visibility for Open Source Projects

Github is the most popular source control management tool for open source projects because it’s also great for visibility. Projects hosted on Github can have their own public-facing issues, projects, teams, and pull requests. They’re also searchable, and may be featured in Github’s daily or weekly newsletter. Github includes a free hosting solution for static sites, so open source projects can serve up their documentation or landing pages for free on the platform.

Gitlab offers a most starred list, search feature, and free static site hosting, but they do not offer quite as many features for user profiles. For example, you cannot follow users on Gitlab like you can on Github.

Finally, Bitbucket has the option to create public repositories, but they do not currently offer a search feature. Bitbucket’s user profiles are also anaemic, and their static site hosting doesn’t allow custom domain names.

Sometimes public visibility isn’t a feature you want though. For example, some teams want source control to be completely locked down to a private network. In this case, you should consider whether or not your repository hosting platform can be self-hosted. In this case, Github, Gitlab, and Bitbucket all offer self-hosted versions of their product, but the pricing varies quite a bit.

Pricing

Pricing for all three of these repository management platforms is available in two flavors: cloud-hosted and self-hosted.

Cloud-Hosted Pricing Comparison

If your organization is able to use the lowest-tier cloud-hosted version of each platform, your costs will typically grow as a function of team size and whether or not the code you’re hosting is open source.

github_vs_bitbucket_gitlab-pricing.png

*Note: Github also includes a $7/month plan for individuals who want private repositories.

Each platform offers slightly different offerings at higher price points. For example, Github offers a 99.95% uptime SLA and 24/5 tech support starting at $21 per user per month, Bitbucket offers security features like IP whitelisting and required two-step verification starting at $5 per user per month, and Gitlab will give you more CI build minutes and a host of project management features for $19 per user per month. Bitbucket and Gitlab offer free trials if you think you might need some of these premium features.

Once your needs get more complex, I’d recommend checking out each provider’s hosting page to do your own comparison:

Self-Hosted Pricing Comparison

All three of these services also offers a self-hosted option - typically for enterprise customers or users with special security requirements.

github_vs_bitbucket_gitlab-self-hosted-pricing.png

While Github and Bitbucket offer self-hosting, only Gitlab is open source, which allows its self-hosted option to be the cheapest. That said, you may want additional support support,, so be sure to check out the pricing pages above to make sure you’re getting the best plan for your needs.

GitHub vs Bitbucket vs GitLab: What are the differences?

GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab are code collaboration and version control tools offering repository management. They each have their share of fans, though GitHub is by far the most-used of the three. Of the three, only GitLab is open source, though all three support open source projects. GitHub offers free public repositories; Bitbucket also offers free private repositories; GitLab offers a Community Edition which is entirely free.

Advice on Bitbucket, GitHub, and GitLab
Matanel Crown
Software Developer at BBT.live · | 7 upvotes · 49.7K views

Hi all,

I would like some information regarding the benefits an aspiring start-up company may have, while using GitHub Enterprise vs the regular GitHub package. On a separate issue, I'd like to understand whether GitLab may have some DevOps-related advantages GitHub does not.

Thank you in advance, Matt

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Replies (5)
Luke Carr
Founder & CEO at Moducate · | 7 upvotes · 42.4K views

I'd lean towards GitHub (either billing plan) for one key reason that is often overlooked (we certainly did!).

If you're planning on creating OSS repositories under your start-up's name/brand, people will naturally expect to find the public repositories on GitHub. Not on GitLab, or Bitbucket, or a self-hosted Gitea, but on GitHub.

Personally, I find it simpler to have all of the repositories (public and private) under one organisation and on one platform, so for this reason, I think that GitHub is the best choice.

On the DevOps side, GitLab is far superior to GitHub (from my experience using both GitHub Enterprise and GitLab Ultimate), but for the one aforementioned, we're using GitHub at Moducate.

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Recommends
GitLab

Advantages for Github Enterprise is that you get more storage, CI minutes, advanced security features, and premium support. If you don't really need any of those, you can stick with Github Team. Though if you're going to use Gitlab CI, I suggest going with Gitlab instead of Github so you won't have to maintain 2 repositories.

Regarding the advantages that Gitlab CI has over Github, there's a detailed explanation here: https://about.gitlab.com/devops-tools/github-vs-gitlab/ci-missing-github-capabilities/

If you need more minutes for Gitlab CI, you can always use your own Gitlab CI runners instead of the shared runners: https://docs.gitlab.com/runner/register/

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Brandon Miller

With the advent of Gitlab actions/workflows, it's hard to not choose Github anymore. I say that with all love for Gitlab, as it's been my personal tool of choice for a long time because of it's inbuilt CI/CD solutions. Github is just all around more adopted by the community so you'll always find more support; and if you go with enterprise you will get 50k build minutes a month as well as a ton of extra tools that will definitely help a startup out from the get-go. That being said, it's priced at $21 per user, per month so if you cannot afford that, I say go with Github.

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Evgeny Rahman
Full Stack Solution Architect · | 3 upvotes · 11.8K views
Recommends

GitHub Enterprise comes with included SAML SSO support, and a huge free tier for Actions and Packages, which gives your team everything they need to get off to a great start and scale up without hitting any roadblocks along the way. An important point to consider is that GitHub Enterprise comes in both self-hosted and cloud-hosted variations, so you don't need to manage your own infrastructure for it unless you would prefer to.

With GitHub Enterprise, you also plug in to the largest development community in the world, and can collaborate directly on the open source projects that are probably already part of your stack. You can also access the latest and greatest in development tools such as GitHub Codespaces, GitHub Co-Pilot, and much much more, with great new features being shipped every day.

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Recommends
GitLab

GitHub is trying to catch up with GitLab. GitLab was built from the ground up with DevOps tooling. GitHub is years away on features.

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Eric Seibert
DevOps at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia · | 6 upvotes · 99.1K views
Needs advice
on
GitHub Enterprise
and
Bitbucket

We are using a Bitbucket server, and due to migration efforts and new Atlassian community license changes, we need to move to a new self-hosted solution. The new data-center license for Atlassian, available in February, will be community provisioned (free). Along with that community license, other technologies will be coming with it (Crucible, Confluence, and Jira). Is there value in a paid-for license to get the GitHub Enterprise? Are the tools that come with it worth the cost?

I know it is about $20 per 10 seats, and we have about 300 users. Have other convertees to Microsoft's tools found it easy to do a migration? Is the toolset that much more beneficial to the free suite that one can get from Atlassian?

So far, free seems to be the winner, and the familiarization with Atlassian implementation and maintenance is understood. Going to GitHub, are there any distinct challenges to be found or any perks to be attained?

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Replies (1)

These are pretty competitive, and to recommend one over the other would require understanding your usage. Also, what other tools you use: for instance, what do you use for Issue-tracking, or for build pipelines. In your case, since you are already using Bitbucket, the question would be: do you have any current pain-points? And, on the other hand, do you already use Atlassian's JIRA, where you'd benefit from the tight integration? So, though I would not recommend one over the other just in general,. But, if Bitbucket fulfills your current use-cases, then there seems to be little motivation to move.

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Hi, I need advice. In my project, we are using Bitbucket hosted on-prem, Jenkins, and Jira. Also, we have restrictions not to use any plugins for code review, code quality, code security, etc., with bitbucket. Now we want to migrate to AWS CodeCommit, which would mean that we can use, let's say, Amazon CodeGuru for code reviews and move to AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodePipeline for build automation in the future rather than using Jenkins.

Now I want advice on below.

  1. Is it a good idea to migrate from Bitbucket to AWS Codecommit?
  2. If we want to integrate Jira with AWS Codecommit, then how can we do this? If a developer makes any changes in Jira, then a build should be triggered automatically in AWS and create a Jira ticket if the build fails. So, how can we achieve this?
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Replies (1)
Sinisha Mihajlovski
Design Lead | Senior Software Developer at Endava · | 1 upvotes · 62.1K views
Recommends

Hi Kavita. It would be useful to explain in a bit more detail the integration to Jira you would like to achieve. Some of the Jira plugins will work with any git repository, regardless if its github/bitbucket/gitlab.

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Decisions about Bitbucket, GitHub, and GitLab

The company needed to move from hosting all of our repositories, tickets & releases from a GForge instance hosted by our former parent company. The decision was made to move to GitHub Enterprise but the developers were not told until there was 1 month left to go. So needed something that could pull all of our information out and push it to the new hosts and it needed to be done ASAP.

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Eduardo Fernandez
Software Engineer at Parrot Software, Inc. · | 7 upvotes · 50.8K views

Do you have a K8s cluster and you want to deploy some services to it? Gitlab Auto Devops is key to achieve this without breaking a sweat.

We deploy Go services to our K8S clusters with warp speed thanks to Gitlab and it's Auto Devops pipeline.

I haven't seen tooling like this in any other git cloud provider.

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Phillip Manwaring
Developer at Coach Align · | 16 upvotes · 79.6K views

Both of us are far more familiar with GitHub than Gitlab, and so for our first big project together decided to go with what we know here instead of figuring out something new (there are so many new things we need to figure out, might as well reduce the number of optionally new things, lol). We aren't currently taking advantage of GitHub Actions or very many other built-in features (besides Dependabot) but luckily it integrates very well with the other services we're using.

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Elmar Wouters
CEO, Managing Director at Wouters Media · | 7 upvotes · 174.5K views

I first used BitBucket because it had private repo's, and it didn't disappoint me. Also with the smooth integration of Jira, the decision to use BitBucket as a full application maintenance service was as easy as 1, 2, 3.

I honestly love BitBucket, by the looks, by the UI, and the smooth integration with Tower.

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Weverton Timoteo

Do you review your Pull/Merge Request before assigning Reviewers?

If you work in a team opening a Pull Request (or Merge Request) looks appropriate. However, have you ever thought about opening a Pull/Merge Request when working by yourself? Here's a checklist of things you can review in your own:

  • Pick the correct target branch
  • Make Drafts explicit
  • Name things properly
  • Ask help for tools
  • Remove the noise
  • Fetch necessary data
  • Understand Mergeability
  • Pass the message
  • Add screenshots
  • Be found in the future
  • Comment inline in your changes

Read the blog post for more detailed explanation for each item :D

What else do you review before asking for code review?

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Weverton Timoteo

Using an inclusive language is crucial for fostering a diverse culture. Git has changed the naming conventions to be more language-inclusive, and so you should change. Our development tools, like GitHub and GitLab, already supports the change.

SourceLevel deals very nicely with repositories that changed the master branch to a more appropriate word. Besides, you can use the grep linter the look for exclusive terms contained in the source code.

As the inclusive language gap may happen in other aspects of our lives, have you already thought about them?

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Weverton Timoteo

One of the magic tricks git performs is the ability to rewrite log history. You can do it in many ways, but git rebase -i is the one I most use. With this command, It’s possible to switch commits order, remove a commit, squash two or more commits, or edit, for instance.

It’s particularly useful to run it before opening a pull request. It allows developers to “clean up” the mess and organize commits before submitting to review. If you follow the practice 3 and 4, then the list of commits should look very similar to a task list. It should reveal the rationale you had, telling the story of how you end up with that final code.

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Kamaleshwar BN
Head of Engineering at Dibiz Pte. Ltd. · | 8 upvotes · 301.4K views

Out of most of the VCS solutions out there, we found Gitlab was the most feature complete with a free community edition. Their DevSecops offering is also a very robust solution. Gitlab CI/CD was quite easy to setup and the direct integration with your VCS + CI/CD is also a bonus. Out of the box integration with major cloud providers, alerting through instant messages etc. are all extremely convenient. We push our CI/CD updates to MS Teams.

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Gitlab as A LOT of features that GitHub and Azure DevOps are missing. Even if both GH and Azure are backed by Microsoft, GitLab being open source has a faster upgrade rate and the hosted by gitlab.com solution seems more appealing than anything else! Quick win: the UI is way better and the Pipeline is way easier to setup on GitLab!

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Nazar Atamaniuk
Shared insights
on
DeployPlace
GitHub
GitLab

At DeployPlace we use self-hosted GitLab, we have chosen GitLab as most of us are familiar with it. We are happy with all features GitLab provides, I can’t imagine our life without integrated GitLab CI. Another important feature for us is integrated code review tool, we use it every day, we use merge requests, code reviews, branching. To be honest, most of us have GitHub accounts as well, we like to contribute in open source, and we want to be a part of the tech community, but lack of solutions from GitHub in the area of CI doesn’t let us chose it for our projects.

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What are some alternatives to Bitbucket, GitHub, and GitLab?
Git
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
Atlassian Stash
It is a centralized solution to manage Git repositories behind the firewall. Streamlined for small agile teams, powerful enough for large organizations.
Crucible
It is a Web-based application primarily aimed at enterprise, and certain features that enable peer review of a code base may be considered enterprise social software.
GitHub Enterprise
GitHub Enterprise lets developers use the tools they love across the development process with support for popular IDEs, continuous integration tools, and hundreds of third party apps and services.
AWS CodeCommit
CodeCommit eliminates the need to operate your own source control system or worry about scaling its infrastructure. You can use CodeCommit to securely store anything from source code to binaries, and it works seamlessly with your existing Git tools.
See all alternatives