Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between GitHub and GitLab

Today, repository management service is one of the fundamental elements of collaborative software development. A successful delivery attributes to the combination of open source and third-party components used in conjunction to create a software supply chain. This supply chain that fits into the software development lifecycle is called repository. Choosing an appropriate repository for your project accelerates your software development initiatives while increasing efficiency for faster and more reliable builds. Git is the most popular version control system used to ensure a smooth and efficient software development workflow through Git repositories. GitHub and GitLab are the two prominent names in Git repository hosting services. We briefly introduce and compare the two most popular Git repository hosting services GitHub and GitLab.

Difference Between GitHub and GitLab

What is GitHub?

GitHub is a web-based repository management hosting service and the largest source code repository in the world that brings together the largest community of developers under one roof to collaborate on software development projects. Initially launched as a website in 2008, GitHub grew up to become the world’s largest Git repository host with a community of over 27 million developers from around the world collaborating on more than 80 million projects. It is the largest code repository in the world that allows users to develop, share, and contribute to open source projects written in over 300 unique programming languages. It is the central place to build software and collaborate on millions of open-source projects together as a team and share ideas for a better software development workflow.

Difference Between GitHub and GitLab

What is GitLab?

GitLab is a web-based Git repository manager developed by GitLab Inc. for modern software development projects. It’ s a simple yet modern, fully featured Git server used by larger organizations such as Sony, IBM, Alibaba, NASA, O’Reilly Media, SpaceX, CERN, and more. Unlike GitHub, it’s free and open source. GitLab provides flexible project management tools such as Issue Tracker, Group Milestones, Issue Boards, Roadmaps, Time Tracking, and more to streamline your collaborative workflows for the complete software development lifecycle. It’s the most efficient way to maintain Git repositories on a centralized server allowing users complete access and control over their Git repositories. It’s a lot similar to GitHub but with additional features such as easy import from other popular Git repositories like GitHub, Google Code, Bitbucket, etc.


Difference between GitHub and GitLab


Both GitHub and GitLab are web-based Git repository hosting service that track changes in the software development projects and its files over time allowing developers to collaborate on web projects under one roof. Like GitHub, GitLab is a repository manager for collective collaboration but with a more intuitive UI and its branch protection, permissions, and authentication features are what make GitLab stand out.


GitHub is probably the first name that strikes the mind when it comes to version control repository hosting which brings together the world’s largest community of developers to collaborate on web projects and share their ideas for software development workflow. As the largest repository hosting service, its popularity clearly predates the GitLab which is a much newer platform launched in 2011.

Open Source

One of the key differences between the two is that GitHub is not open-source but it offers paid plans for private repositories that are commonly used to host open-source web projects. The hosted service is in fact free for open-source projects but the software which it’s based upon is not open source. GitLab, on the other hand, is free and open sourced for the Community Edition whereas the Enterprise Edition is closed source.

Authentication Level

It refers to authorization based on access levels. In GitHub, organization owners or teams can add Git repositories as well as change one’s read, write, and admin access to those repositories. You can also invite users to collaborate on your personal repository as collaborators. In GitLab, users have different access levels in a particular group or project based on their respective roles. The GitLab administrators basically receive all permissions.

Built-In CI/CD

One of the main differences between the two is that GitLab offers its very own Continuous Integration/Delivery (CI/CD) pre-built meaning you do not need to install it separately. This will help teams reduce errors in code and deliver faster results by sticking to you team’s quality standards. On the contrary, it does not come pre-integrated with GitHub; in fact, there are several tools for that.

GitHub vs. GitLab: Comparison Chart

GitHub VERSUS GitLab


Both GitHub and GitLab are the two most popular and widely adopted repository hosting service used to efficiently manage software development workflow. Both come in handy for a large community of developers especially when working in teams, but they are quite distinct on many fronts. For one, GitHub is not open-source whereas GitLab Community Edition is free and open sourced. In addition, GitLab has its very own continuous integration and continuous delivery already built-in so that users don’t have to install it separately. GitHub, on the other hand, offers third-party integrations for CI/CD work. GitHub has been around for over a decade now and it clearly predates GitLab when it comes to popularity among larger developer teams and organizations.


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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing valuable information about git-hub and git-lab. I don’t have any idea about this. Now all confusions are clear.

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References :

[0]Pipinellis, Achilleas. GitHub Essentials. Birmingham: Packt Publishing, 2015. Print

[1]Beer, Brent. Introducing GitHub: A Non-Technical Guide. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media, 2018. Print

[2]Hethey, Jonathan M. GitLab Repository Management. Birmingham: Packt Publishing, 2013. Print

[3]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/GitLab_logo.png

[4]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/24/GitHub_logo_2013_padded.svg/640px-GitHub_logo_2013_padded.svg.png

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