With over 56 million users on GitHub and 31 million users on GitLab, the two leading version control systems are undoubtedly the most popular choice for developers.

github versus gitlab

As per a report by Microsoft, GitHub and GitLab are the leading version control systems, with a market share of over 80%. But often, developers and teams find themselves stuck between the two popular alternatives.

This blog will help you understand the core differences between GitHub and GitLab and help you make a more informed decision based on your project's needs.

So let's get started!

GitHub: What You Need to Know

GitHub was started in 2008 and quickly became the developers' go-to version control system. It is an online service that hosts software development version control using the Git version control system. It is also a platform for collaborative work, as it allows developers to cooperate on a project without needing a centralized server. 

Developers can use GitHub to store their project's source code, track and manage changes, and share their work with others. It also integrates with other services such as Slack, Trello, and Jira.

GitLab: What You Need to Know

GitLab was created in 2011, and its goal is to provide an all-in-one platform for software development. It is an open-source project, and it includes features such as project tracking, code review, issue tracking, and more. 

GitLab also provides a private repository for developers to keep their code and project information secure. It also has its continuous integration and delivery service that allows developers to easily deploy their code. GitLab is also a version control system based on Git, but it is slightly different from GitHub.

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GitHub Vs. GitLab: Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to deciding which one you should choose, There is no clear "winner" between GitHub and GitLab, as it depends on an individual's project needs. However, there are a few key factors to consider when choosing it, depending on your individual needs as a developer.

1) Project Management Features

Being a developer, it is important to have a project management system that supports the development process. GitHub has basic project management features, but GitLab offers far more advanced features. 

For instance, GitLab has an issue tracker that allows you to track bugs and features and a built-in Kanban board for planning and tracking tasks, whereas GitHub does not have an integrated Kanban board.

2) Continuous Integration & Deployment

Continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) are essential to the development process. GitLab has built-in CI/CD tools. 

With CI/CD, developers can set up automated testing and deployment pipelines which help to save time on manual tasks. 

GitLab also offers a pipeline visualization tool that allows you to monitor the progress of your deployment. GitHub is also catching up with a similar solution using GitHub Actions. 

3) Security & Access Control

Security and access control are essential components of any development environment. GitLab offers several security features, such as code scanning, vulnerability scanners, and identity management. 

GitHub also provides robust security features, including two-factor authentication, encryption at rest, and SAML single sign-on. However, GitHub's security features may not be as comprehensive as those of GitLab.

4) Self-Hosted vs Cloud Hosted

GitLab can be either self-hosted or cloud-hosted, while GitHub is only available as a cloud-hosted solution. 

Self-hosting provides more control over your environment and is ideal for organizations that must comply with specific security requirements or want to keep all their data in-house. 

Cloud hosting provides the convenience and scalability of a managed solution with automated updates and maintenance.

5) Cost of Usage

GitHub is a free service for public open-source projects and charges fees for private repositories. Their pricing plans start from $7/month for individuals to $21/month for teams. 

GitLab, on the other hand, offers a free, open-source Community Edition with limited features, and their paid plans start from $4/user/month for the Starter plan. 

Self-hosted solutions require a one-time setup cost and ongoing maintenance fees for backups, security updates, and other services.

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GitHub Vs. GitLab: Key Differences 




Platform Type

GitHub is an open-source platform with a large community of developers

GitLab is an open-core model that provides additional features in its commercial version.

DevOps Tools and Automation

GitHub requires you to integrate with third-party services for automation. GitHub Actions helps with automation up to a certain extent. 

GitLab has built-in CI/CD capabilities and DevOps workflow tools


GitHub includes collaboration tools like issue tracking and project management.

GitLab provides team management features to help you manage your workflow.


GitHub stores your data on its servers

GitLab offers the option to self-host or store it in a private cloud.

Issue Tracker

GitHub has an extensive issue tracker that enables developers to collaborate and track tasks, bugs, feature requests, and enhancements.

GitLab is more robust and includes features like boards, labels, and milestones.


GitHub offers detailed documentation support through a wiki

GitLab provides comprehensive documentation with a search function.


GitHub offers two-factor authentication for increased security

GitLab also offers additional tools, such as custom roles and permissions for organization owners.


GitHub offers basic deployment tools for rapid releases

GitLab provides improved control over the release process with deployment automation, feature flags, and more.

GitHub and GitLab both offer excellent version control solutions for software projects. The choice between the two platforms ultimately depends on the specific needs of an organization or team. 

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GitHub is better suited for smaller projects with fewer users, while GitLab can be the better choice for larger, more complex projects. Both platforms offer different features and advantages, so weighing your options before deciding which is the best fit for your team is important.