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Confluence vs GitLab: What are the differences?

Confluence: One place to share, find, and collaborate on information. Capture the knowledge that's too often lost in email inboxes and shared network drives in Confluence instead – where it's easy to find, use, and update; GitLab: Open source self-hosted Git management software. GitLab offers git repository management, code reviews, issue tracking, activity feeds and wikis. Enterprises install GitLab on-premise and connect it with LDAP and Active Directory servers for secure authentication and authorization. A single GitLab server can handle more than 25,000 users but it is also possible to create a high availability setup with multiple active servers.

Confluence belongs to "Project Management" category of the tech stack, while GitLab can be primarily classified under "Code Collaboration & Version Control".

Some of the features offered by Confluence are:

  • Spaces
  • Pages
  • Editor

On the other hand, GitLab provides the following key features:

  • Manage git repositories with fine grained access controls that keep your code secure
  • Perform code reviews and enhance collaboration with merge requests
  • Each project can also have an issue tracker and a wiki

"Wiki search power" is the top reason why over 88 developers like Confluence, while over 451 developers mention "Self hosted" as the leading cause for choosing GitLab.

GitLab is an open source tool with 20.1K GitHub stars and 5.33K GitHub forks. Here's a link to GitLab's open source repository on GitHub.

According to the StackShare community, GitLab has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1234 company stacks & 1479 developers stacks; compared to Confluence, which is listed in 1172 company stacks and 655 developer stacks.

- No public GitHub repository available -

What is Confluence?

Capture the knowledge that's too often lost in email inboxes and shared network drives in Confluence instead – where it's easy to find, use, and update.

What is GitLab?

GitLab offers git repository management, code reviews, issue tracking, activity feeds and wikis. Enterprises install GitLab on-premise and connect it with LDAP and Active Directory servers for secure authentication and authorization. A single GitLab server can handle more than 25,000 users but it is also possible to create a high availability setup with multiple active servers.
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    What are some alternatives to Confluence and GitLab?
    Jira
    Jira's secret sauce is the way it simplifies the complexities of software development into manageable units of work. Jira comes out-of-the-box with everything agile teams need to ship value to customers faster.
    Microsoft SharePoint
    It empowers teamwork with dynamic and productive team sites for every project team, department, and division. Share and manage content, knowledge, and applications to empower teamwork, quickly find information, and seamlessly collaborate across the organization.
    Basecamp
    Basecamp is a project management and group collaboration tool. The tool includes features for schedules, tasks, files, and messages.
    Slack
    Imagine all your team communication in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. That’s Slack. All your messages. All your files. And everything from Twitter, Dropbox, Google Docs, Asana, Trello, GitHub and dozens of other services. All together.
    Trello
    Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about Confluence and GitLab
    Michael Kelly
    Michael Kelly
    Senior Software Engineer at StackShare · | 14 upvotes · 361K views
    atACK FoundryACK Foundry
    GitLab
    GitLab
    GitHub
    GitHub
    GitLab CI
    GitLab CI
    GitLab Pages
    GitLab Pages
    Bitbucket
    Bitbucket
    #OpenSourceCloud

    I use GitLab when building side-projects and MVPs. The interface and interactions are close enough to those of GitHub to prevent cognitive switching costs between professional and personal projects hosted on different services.

    GitLab also provides a suite of tools including issue/project management, CI/CD with GitLab CI, and validation/landing pages with GitLab Pages. With everything in one place, on an #OpenSourceCloud GitLab makes it easy for me to manage much larger projects on my own, than would be possible with other solutions or tools.

    It's petty I know, but I can also read the GitLab code diffs far more easily than diffs on GitHub or Bitbucket...they just look better in my opinion.

    See more
    Tim Abbott
    Tim Abbott
    Founder at Zulip · | 24 upvotes · 343.5K views
    atZulipZulip
    GitHub
    GitHub
    GitLab
    GitLab

    I have mixed feelings on GitHub as a product and our use of it for the Zulip open source project. On the one hand, I do feel that being on GitHub helps people discover Zulip, because we have enough stars (etc.) that we rank highly among projects on the platform. and there is a definite benefit for lowering barriers to contribution (which is important to us) that GitHub has such a dominant position in terms of what everyone has accounts with.

    But even ignoring how one might feel about their new corporate owner (MicroSoft), in a lot of ways GitHub is a bad product for open source projects. Years after the "Dear GitHub" letter, there are still basic gaps in its issue tracker:

    • You can't give someone permission to label/categorize issues without full write access to a project (including ability to merge things to master, post releases, etc.).
    • You can't let anyone with a GitHub account self-assign issues to themselves.
    • Many more similar issues.

    It's embarrassing, because I've talked to GitHub product managers at various open source events about these things for 3 years, and they always agree the thing is important, but then nothing ever improves in the Issues product. Maybe the new management at MicroSoft will fix their product management situation, but if not, I imagine we'll eventually do the migration to GitLab.

    We have a custom bot project, http://github.com/zulip/zulipbot, to deal with some of these issues where possible, and every other large project we talk to does the same thing, more or less.

    See more
    Joshua Dean KĂĽpper
    Joshua Dean KĂĽpper
    CEO at Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschränkt) · | 5 upvotes · 55.6K views
    atScrayos UG (haftungsbeschränkt)Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschränkt)
    Sonatype Nexus
    Sonatype Nexus
    GitLab
    GitLab
    JFrog Artifactory
    JFrog Artifactory

    We use Sonatype Nexus to store our closed-source java libraries to simplify our deployment and dependency-management. While there are many alternatives, most of them are expensive ( GitLab Enterprise ), monilithic ( JFrog Artifactory ) or only offer SaaS-licences. We preferred the on-premise approach of Nexus and therefore decided to use it.

    We exclusively use the Maven-capabilities and are glad that the modular design of Nexus allows us to run it very lightweight.

    See more
    frido
    frido
    Bitbucket
    Bitbucket
    GitLab
    GitLab
    GitHub
    GitHub

    Bitbucket provides 5 private repositories for free that is I believe the best feature. GitLab seems very simmilar to GitHub. The only reason I've choosen GitHub is its popularity. It seems faster than GitLab, uglier than Bitbucket and featured as others. The best open source projects are hosted on GitHub. Many applications are integrated with GitHub like my favourite #GitKraken.

    See more
    Jaime Leonardo Suncin Cruz
    Jaime Leonardo Suncin Cruz
    GitHub
    GitHub
    GitLab
    GitLab

    Keep with GitHub if you feel comfortable, If you want to switch to other keep in mind the change of mindset and you will need time to adapt, i'm not saying that GitLab is bad or difficult just the opposite, but it can be overwhelming because it have more integrated features (I love this) than GitHub , what it means more configs available that you can mess up.

    See more
    Jona Koudijs
    Jona Koudijs
    Infrastructure Engineer at True · | 5 upvotes · 3.8K views
    GitLab
    GitLab

    I use GitLab because of the tight integration with Gitlab CI. I noticed that having the entire build chain integrated into one platform, makes it easier for developers and infrastructure engineers to work with automated testing and deploying even though not everybody has the same amount of experience with it.

    See more
    Logan Campos
    Logan Campos
    Computer Programmer at cryptosec.dev · | 10 upvotes · 44.4K views
    GitLab
    GitLab
    GitHub
    GitHub

    As an former administrator for GitLab enterprise I can say for closed source development it is an amazing tool to have. It does however have limits. For starters you will need to bother your unix administrators to assign a license to you. And after that happens the same guys start getting cranky if you use git LFS(Large File Storage) or manage a couple repos about ~100MBish. if you fork open source efforts remember to git clone --depth 1 ! As a free user of GitHub , I don't get crazy CI pipelines or crazy project management tools. I also don't need it !

    See more
    Russtopia Labs
    Russtopia Labs
    Sr. Doodad Imagineer at Russtopia Labs · | 3 upvotes · 56.2K views
    Gogs
    Gogs
    GitHub
    GitHub
    Go
    Go
    GitLab
    GitLab

    I installed Gogs after a few repos I planned to use on GitHub disappeared without explanation, and after Microsoft's acquisition of same, it made me think about the over-centralization of community-developed software. A self-hosted solution that enables easy point-and-click mirroring of important repositories for my projects, both in-house and 3rd-party, ensures I won't be bitten by upstream catastrophes. (So far, Microsoft's stewardship has been fine, but always be prepared). It's also a very nice way to host one's own private repos before they're ready for prime-time on github.

    Gogs is written in Go and is easy to install and configure, much more so than GitLab. The only major feature I wish it had is an integrated code review tool, but the web plugin hypothes.is https://stackshare.io/hypothes-is/hypothes-is actually is quite suitable as a code review tool. Set up a group for each code review, and just highlight lines to add comments in pull request pages of Gogs.

    See more
    Daniel Quinn
    Daniel Quinn
    Senior Developer at Workfinder · | 6 upvotes · 7.7K views
    atThe Paperless ProjectThe Paperless Project
    GitHub
    GitHub
    GitLab
    GitLab

    We use GitHub because it's the default go-to place for the Free software community. Currently, Github is enjoying the network effect: you write code there because everyone writes there code there, so this choice was less of a choice than "what we all end up doing".

    Personally, I prefer GitLab for its bundled-in tools like CI, boards, packaging, and Docker repo, but so long as the vast majority of talented nerds out there are on Github, that's where Paperless will be.

    See more
    Redmine
    Redmine
    Jira
    Jira
    Confluence
    Confluence
    Bamboo
    Bamboo

    We were using a hosted version of Redmine to track defects and user stories originally. We migrated to Jira.

    Jira was an easy decision for a number of reasons:

    • It's much more "Scrum ready" straight out of the box
    • It's so much easier to keep a track of progress (I love the reporting)
    • It natively encourages you to adhere to Scrum/Agile/Kanban practices
    • Atlassian has a fantastic DevOps ecosystem when considering the likes of Confluence and Bamboo etc
    • So many integrations!
    • Its UI is so intuitive which makes it an absolute pleasure to use!

    I know there are alot of other tools in this space but not even considering anything else at the moment. Love Jira!

    See more
    GitHub
    GitHub
    Bitbucket
    Bitbucket
    GitLab
    GitLab

    I use GitHub because it's the coolest kid on the block for open source. Searching for repos you need/want is easy.

    Especially with the apache foundation moving their workloads to them, unlimited private repos, and a package registry on the way, they are becoming the one stop shop for open source needs.

    I'm curious to see how the GitHub Sponsors(patreon for developers) plays out, and what it'll do for open source. Hopefully, they design it in a way where it's not abused by big tech to "plant" developers that look like they're building open source when they're actually building proprietary tools.

    Bitbucket GitLab

    See more
    Tom Klein
    Tom Klein
    CEO at Gentlent · | 9 upvotes · 138.8K views
    atGentlentGentlent
    Git
    Git
    GitHub
    GitHub
    GitLab
    GitLab
    Docker
    Docker
    Kubernetes
    Kubernetes
    HAProxy
    HAProxy
    Varnish
    Varnish
    npm
    npm
    Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio Code

    We're using Git through GitHub for public repositories and GitLab for our private repositories due to its easy to use features. Docker and Kubernetes are a must have for our highly scalable infrastructure complimented by HAProxy with Varnish in front of it. We are using a lot of npm and Visual Studio Code in our development sessions.

    See more
    GitHub
    GitHub
    GitLab
    GitLab
    Bitbucket
    Bitbucket
    #Githubmarketplace

    A bit difference in GitHub and GitLab though both are Version Control repository management services which provides key component in the software development workflow. A decision of choosing GitHub over GitLab is major leap extension from code management, to deployment and monitoring alongside looking beyond the code base hosting provided best fitted tools for developer communities.

    • Authentication stages - With GitLab you can set and modify people’s permissions according to their role. In GitHub, you can decide if someone gets a read or write access to a repository.
    • Built-In Continuous Integrations - GitLab offers its very own CI for free. No need to use an external CI service. And if you are already used to an external CI, you can obviously integrate with Jenkins, etc whereas GitHub offers various 3rd party integrations – such as Travis CI, CircleCI or Codeship – for running and testing your code. However, there’s no built-in CI solution at the moment.
    • Import/Export Resources - GitLab offers detailed documentation on how to import your data from other vendors – such as GitHub, Bitbucket to GitLab. GitHub, on the other hand, does not offer such detailed documentation for the most common git repositories. However, GitHub offers to use GitHub Importer if you have your source code in Subversion, Mercurial, TFS and others.

    Also when it comes to exporting data, GitLab seems to do a pretty solid job, offering you the ability to export your projects including the following data:

    • Wiki and project repositories
    • Project uploads
    • The configuration including webhooks and services
    • Issues with comments, merge requests with diffs and comments, labels, milestones, snippets, and other project entities.

    GitHub, on the other hand, seems to be more restrictive when it comes to export features of existing GitHub repositories. * Integrations - #githubmarketplace gives you an essence to have multiple and competitive integrations whereas you will find less in the GitLab.

    So go ahead with better understanding.

    See more
    Tassanai Singprom
    Tassanai Singprom
    Web Developer · | 10 upvotes · 849.1K views
    JavaScript
    JavaScript
    PHP
    PHP
    HTML5
    HTML5
    jQuery
    jQuery
    Redis
    Redis
    Amazon EC2
    Amazon EC2
    Ubuntu
    Ubuntu
    Sass
    Sass
    Vue.js
    Vue.js
    Firebase
    Firebase
    Laravel
    Laravel
    Lumen
    Lumen
    Amazon RDS
    Amazon RDS
    GraphQL
    GraphQL
    MariaDB
    MariaDB
    Google Analytics
    Google Analytics
    Postman
    Postman
    Elasticsearch
    Elasticsearch
    Git
    Git
    GitHub
    GitHub
    GitLab
    GitLab
    npm
    npm
    Visual Studio Code
    Visual Studio Code
    Kibana
    Kibana
    Sentry
    Sentry
    BrowserStack
    BrowserStack
    Slack
    Slack

    This is my stack in Application & Data

    JavaScript PHP HTML5 jQuery Redis Amazon EC2 Ubuntu Sass Vue.js Firebase Laravel Lumen Amazon RDS GraphQL MariaDB

    My Utilities Tools

    Google Analytics Postman Elasticsearch

    My Devops Tools

    Git GitHub GitLab npm Visual Studio Code Kibana Sentry BrowserStack

    My Business Tools

    Slack

    See more
    Interest over time
    Reviews of Confluence and GitLab
    Avatar of veggiemonk
    JavaScript Developer
    Review ofGitLabGitLab

    You cannot get easier setup and deployment with GitLab. The documentation is huge and many common use cases are covered. It has a Community Edition (CE, free, 100% open source) and an Enterprise Edittion (EE, see pricing). The CE is more than good enough. Although in the entreprise world, the EE is much better suited if, for instance, LDAP is needed. There is a Web UI that allows people to version their work without too much hassle. If you are a developer and have worked with git before this is really easy.

    How developers use Confluence and GitLab
    Avatar of Giovanni Candido da Silva
    Giovanni Candido da Silva uses ConfluenceConfluence

    All ideas and knowledge that needs to be elaborated or shared is done in this wiki. With plugins for create embedded prototypes.

    Also is part of the development processes to create requisites and other artefacts.

    It's main use is in the development processes, it could be used to create manuals and software documentation as well, but is used more as a collaboration enterprise tool.

    Avatar of Eldoria
    Eldoria uses GitLabGitLab

    Als einer der größten Konkurrenten zu GitHub und BitBucket, stellt GitLab eine verlässliche Alternative dar. Als private GitLab Instanz oder als Service bietet GitLab alle Features die wir benötigen und das völlig Kostenfrei in der Community Edition. Hier liegen alle unsere Repositories.

    Avatar of DigitalPermits
    DigitalPermits uses ConfluenceConfluence

    All of our (Engineering) knowledge is in Confluence. We document our thinking, our architecture, support recipes, trip notes, anything and everything. It's very important in a remote setting, to be have this type of knowledge store.

    Avatar of Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschränkt)
    Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschränkt) uses GitLabGitLab

    Gitlab offers us a self-hosted replacement for Github and even more than we were expecting from it. All of our code is hosted in our private GitLab-instance, that also hosts our artifacts and is used to deploy them into production.

    Avatar of HyVive
    HyVive uses GitLabGitLab

    Our self hosted gitlab service provides us with a private and secure environment for developing and testing our internal software. All of our dockerfiles, source code and configuration files for our infrastructure are stored here.

    Avatar of Refractal
    Refractal uses GitLabGitLab

    GitLab is our main Git server, housed on a separate box inside our VPN, it's diverse features and sandbox-support allows it to be an extremely good way to secure your source code.

    Avatar of yaswanthgoud3235
    yaswanthgoud3235 uses GitLabGitLab

    GitLab is a web-based Git repository manager with wiki and issue tracking features, using an open source license, developed by GitLab Inc. The software

    Avatar of MOKA Analytics
    MOKA Analytics uses ConfluenceConfluence

    We use Confluence for specifications and knowledge sharing. We chose Confluence over other wikis primarily because of its integration with JIRA

    Avatar of Tim De Lange
    Tim De Lange uses ConfluenceConfluence

    Collaborate on project documentation, functional specs, walkthroughs, development standards, coding standards etc.

    Avatar of Promethean TV
    Promethean TV uses ConfluenceConfluence

    PrometheanTV utilizes Confluence to interface with and manage external consulting projects.

    How much does Confluence cost?
    How much does GitLab cost?