GitHub vs GitLab vs Bitbucket – Similarities and Differences

With the advancement in the technology, the repository management services have become a crucial part of collaborative software developme

With the advancement in technology, repository management services have become a crucial part of collaborative software development. They come with a lot of benefits that help any size team to work with better speed and efficiency. They give ease of working to software developers, as they can easily create or manage multiple versions of any changes to the source code from a single place.

In this article, we will introduce, as well as compare the three most famous repository management services; GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket.

What is GitHub?

GitHub is a social code, to make it short is a social network dedicated to programmers. This “social network” is intersected with the file version control called GIT. Thanks to GitHub you can manage projects online, keep a copy on the server and view it online without downloading it in SSH. Git archives files and keeps them sorted by tree, highlighting how easy and intuitive it is to be able to see the differences of a file (or project) after it has been modified since the first commit saving.

In detail the characteristics of GitHub are:

1) Send private messages

2) Follow/unfollow system of users (Twitter style) and projects

3) Possibility to manage a wiki (for each repository)

4) Possibility to manage an issue system (for each repository)

5) Ability to use most of the git protocol commands via a panel

What is GitLab?

It is an online platform based on Git, which facilitates collaborative development of firmware and software, and simplifies distributed work by providing a centralized platform; basically GitLab is a platform that allows you to use the Git versioning “engine”, similarly to what happens on the GitHub platform. Before proceeding, a clarification is advisable, since often there is a lot of confusion: GitHub was born to host projects developed with Git; offers paid space for private projects and free space for open-source shared projects.

GitLab is instead a free product. GitLab is available in two versions:

Self-hosted ;

The first allows you to install GitLab on your own local server or on a private cloud service and allows full control of the platform and its data: it is ideal for companies that need access exclusively and at any time to their own data projects, since it offers more security from external attacks and access speed, given the exclusivity of server use. This version is totally free.

What is Bitbucket?

Bitbucket is one of the most popular Git repository management solutions on the market. Although there are many different tools and services, there are areas in which Bitbucket is better – whether you are a small development team or a large team.

Integration with Jira and Trello exceptional- Integration with JIRA or Trello to keep interested people informed. Access the branches, the state of compilation, the commits and the status of the JIRA tickets or the Trello cards.

Continuous delivery in the cloud- Compile, test, and implement with integrated CI/CD. Benefit from the configuration as code and the unlimited expansion capacity without managing the compilation infrastructure.

A single platform and tool- With Bitbucket Connect, any developer can establish tight integration with Bitbucket Cloud directly from the product UI. It ended up changing the context between tools and tasks.

Improved security- Use the IP acceptance lists, apply two-factor authentication (2FA) or use the second universal factor 2 (U2F) to protect the code with a second confirmation in addition to the password.

Difference Between GitLab, GitHub, and Bitbucket

Depending on the work tasks and needs of customers, developers have to use different repository management platforms. A typical developer participates in an open project on GitHub, and at work hosts a project of one client on GitLab, and the other on Mercurial and Bitbucket. Switching between platforms is complicated by the fact that in them the same things can be called quite differently. In this article, we will help you compare the differences and at the same time explain why we chose such names.

Since version 8.4, GitLab has significantly improved the process of migrating repositories from GitHub. Now GitLab imports not only repositories but also wiki pages, tickets, and call records. However, most entities do not change their name. For example, specific Git terms, such as commit or push, are the same everywhere. The common terms such as users, webhooks, and issues do not change.

But some terms still differ. For example, the fact that in GitHub and Bitbucket called pull-request, we call merge-request. We called it that because it’s a merge-branch request for a feature branch with a master branch; the team itself not used anywhere. By the way, in Git there is a separate command request-pull: it too allows you to offer your changes and uses the same command pull, but it has a completely different mechanism.

Teams, Repositories, and Organizations

Let’s see the differences between a team (team), a repository (repository), and the organization (organization). In GitHub, the repositories contain the actual Git or SVN repository, as well as issues, participation statistics, and so on. At the same time, users often refer to repositories as projects.

In GitLab, we eliminated ambiguity, explicitly calling such a structure a project. The project includes a Git repository, tickers, merge-requests and everything else. On the project configuration page, you can:

1) Select the features to use.

2) Install the project avatar.

3) Customize the visibility level of the project: public, internal (for authorized users) or private (only for members of the group).

4) Move, archive, or delete a project.

5) Configure the use of GitLab CI in the project.

6) Add services for project integration with third-party applications.

It is important to understand that even if you import into GitLab only a pure Git repository or something that is called a “repository” in the source, you will always get the GitLab project as a result.

An important difference: in Bitbucket, a project is the union of several repositories. Such projects are in turn owned by teams. In GitHub, organizations (organizations) perform a similar task.

In GitLab, such structures that combine several projects are called groups. Users who are members of the group have access to read, modify, and configure projects, depending on their role in the group.


GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab have public repository discovery functions and apart from GitLab, the other two offer the ability to easily follow other users. It is expected that one of the three discussed repository hosting services will suit your needs and give you the results you are looking for.

Stay tuned for more such articles.

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