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App Development
6 minutes read

GitLab Vs. GitHub: Everything You Should Consider 

By Jose Gomez
GitLab vs GitHub
By Jose Gomez
App Development
6 minutes read

If you are looking for the best software development platform for your projects, you will want to compare GitLab vs. GitHub. Most developers use the Git system for distributed version control of their projects. GitLab and GitHub are the two most popular version control systems. 

How do you choose the best version control system for your project and business operations? It can seem like a challenging proposition. However, this post will help your organization compare the two most popular options, GitLab and GitHub. 

If you want to know how these two Git platforms compare, this post is for you. 

Understanding the Git Version Control System 

Before delving into the GitLab vs. GitHub comparison, it is important to first understand what Git is. Git is an open-source version control system (VCS) that enables developers to track all of the changes made to a software project with snapshots of the program

What makes Git different from other VCS solutions is that users can work on different branch versions of a software development project and manage them all simultaneously. Git simplifies code testing of different branch versions by enabling project management professionals to merge them with a staging version of the software before going live. 

This promotes continuous integration by giving developers the freedom and flexibility to work on multiple versions of a software project at once and allows teams to manage code review in the manner they deem best. 

For example, suppose one team prefers to utilize dynamic application security testing practices on the version of the application they are working on, and another chooses to use static application security testing. In that case, they can both follow the path best suited to their code. 

Most businesses want a cloud-based code repository hosting platform in today’s modern business world. This is where GitLab and GitHub enter the picture. Both GitLab and GitHub offer unlimited cloud-based code repository storage. 

Thanks to GitLab and GitHub, globally distributed teams can easily collaborate on software development projects. However, both GitLab and GitHub go beyond this base Git functionality. 

GitLab Vs. GitHub: A Detailed Comparison 

GitLab and GitHub offer very similar services and support features. There is not much to separate these two solutions when it comes to high-level features. Essentially, both platforms offer the same list of services and features. However, there are minor differences.

For example, while both options offer free private repositories for code, free repositories from GitHub can only have three collaborators, while GitLab puts no restrictions on these private repositories. 

How can you choose the right project management tool when the two options are similar? Luckily, despite the similarities between these Git tools, there are some key differences we can compare, such as: 

  • Continuous Integration features 
  • Workflows
  • Integrations 
  • Paid plans 

Continuous Integration Features 

As you can see, there are a few differences between GitLab and GitHub. However, Continuous Integration features are one of the biggest differences between these Git tools. GitLab delivers a better Continuous Integration/DevOps feature set than GitHub

While you can set up CI/CD workflows in GitHub, you will have to work with a third-party tool such as CircleCI or TravisCI to get the same functionality built into GitLab. The benefit of having direct platform CI features is that they can interact directly with your repository. 


Another significant difference between GitHub and GitLab is the recommended workflows. GitHub emphasizes speedy, feature-focused software development, while GitLab emphasizes software reliability

GitHub’s approach to merge requests and new branches with the main code branch is perfect for Agile software development teams and smaller, feature-focused development projects

GitLab enables developers to create several stable branches beyond the master copy. As a result, GitLab projects undergo a multi-step testing process where a single code review is insufficient for a merge request. 

This approach can slow down the development process for smaller teams. However, if you have a dedicated QA team, this approach gives developers the freedom to work on new features without having to worry about every small code change and the security implications. 


GitLab offers integrations with the most popular tools, like Slack, Jira, Gmail, etc., but GitHub offers more than ten times the amount of integrations GitLab offers. Why is there such an integration disparity between these two Git solutions?

This significant difference can be attributed to the different approach GitLab has taken. GitLab wants to be a complete, packaged Git platform. GitHub, on the other hand, is a platform that wants to give users the ability to build their own solutions with apps and integrations. 

Many of the features GitLab offers directly through their platform can be added to GitHub through application integrations. GitLab is the more complete package out of the box, but GitHub is far more customizable. 

Paid Plans 

Both GitLab and GitHub offer free plans with unlimited private and public code repositories. However, they both offer paid plans as well and here, there are some significant differences between the two options. 

GitLab’s paid plans are more expensive than GitHub’s. GitLab’s plans start at 19 dollars a month and go up to 99 dollars a month. Conversely, GitHub’s paid plans start at 4 dollars a month and go up to 21 dollars a month for a GitHub enterprise plan. 

GitLab positions its free product offering as an equivalent for GitHub’s first-tier paid plan at 4 dollars a month, and it positions its 19-dollar-a-month plan as an equivalent for GitHub’s enterprise plan.

However, if you want full security and compliance features for your business, you will need to purchase GitLab’s most expensive paid plan to mirror the features in GitHub Enterprise, which is only 21 dollars a month compared to 99 dollars a month for GitLab Ultimate. 

Final Thoughts 

GitHub is the more popular Git solution, and it is cheaper, especially for enterprise businesses. However, for small businesses and teams that utilize DevOps, GitLab might be the better option, especially if you don’t want to do a lot of customization and are looking for out-of-the-box functionality, with the option to consult a GitLab partner for additional support and guidance. 

While GitLab and GitHub are very similar solutions, there are differences you should consider. If you need help choosing the best Git platform for your business and development team, contact an experienced app development partner like Koombea.

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