GitLab vs GitHub: Which One Is Right For You?

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Madhu Murali
Madhu Murali



Two of the most popular platforms for software developers to collaborate are GitHub vs GitLab. Choosing the right one for you and your business can be challenging, as they’re both popular for a reason. We will go over both platforms to see what each has to offer and which one is right for you.

Comparing GitHub vs GitLab

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What are GitLab and GitHub?

Before going into the differences between the two, let’s go over their similarities. GitHub is a Git repository online software development platform used for storing, tracking, and collaborating on software projects used by over 100 million people worldwide as of January 2023. GitLab is also a Git repository platform that allows developers to collaborate on code with an emphasis on DevOps workflow and continuous integration, with over 30 million users as of January 2023.


GitHub has plenty of integrations that range from issue trackers to deployment tools so that you can connect your workflow with ease. It also supports webhooks which allow you to receive notifications when certain events occur in your repository, such as new commits or pull requests being opened.

Because GitHub has been around since 2008 and is the most popular software repository platform, it has integrations with some of the most popular platforms, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. 

GitLab also has plenty of integrations available, including webhooks and issue trackers. GitLab’s main appeal is how well it operates as a DevOps platform. Because GitLab has continuous integration and continuous development and a DevOps workflow built into the platform, it is really easy for developers to get started because the tools you need are all available right within GitLab itself.

While GitHub has a lot of great third-party integrations and workarounds for DevOps workflow and CI/CD, GitLab allows you to do all of that within its platform.

Import & Export

If you’re looking to move your old projects to your new Git Repository, the ability to import and export projects is important.

GitHub offers a built-in import feature that allows you to easily import your existing projects from other version control systems like Subversion or Mercurial into your GitHub repository. You can also use this feature to export your projects if you need to move them elsewhere.

Exporting on GitHub is more difficult, however, as there is no dedicated way to export your files. You will have to download your files and migrate them one by one since there is currently no way to bulk-download multiple files on GitHub.

GitLab makes it easy to import your projects; as soon as you create a new project, you are given the option to import from any of the following sources. GitLab export options throug hGitHub, Bitbucket Cloud, Bitbucket server, FogBugzGitea, Repository by URL, and Manifest file

GitLab also offers instructions on how to import and export projects. Do remember that migrating a project from GitLab can be challenging as their option to do a direct file transfer (which allows you to transfer all projects in a group)is still in beta and not ready for production.

That means your only way to export files out of GitLab is through file exports which can be limiting as you have to export each project individually.

Issue Tracking  

GitHub has an integrated issue tracker that makes it easy to keep track of bugs and feature requests in your project. This tracker is visually appealing and comes complete with labels, milestones, assignees, and more, so you can easily stay organized while collaborating on code with other developers.

You will be able to see what your developers are working on, and they can create a label to describe any issues they are having with the project. Here’s an example of how that might look from GitHub.GitHub's issue tracker

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Meanwhile, GitLab's built-in issue tracker has similar features, but visually it's much simpler than its counterpart. Functionally, however, both offer similar value in this regard.

GitLab's issue tracker

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The pricing structures for GitLab and GitHub are similar - both offer free plans for open-source projects (with unlimited collaborators) as well as paid plans for private repositories with varying levels of features depending on the pricing tier chosen by each user/organization.

In terms of cost per collaborator, however, GitHub is more affordable than its competitor (depending on how many collaborators are added). GitHub’s team option is $44 per user annually, while GitHub’s comparable option (premium) is $228 per user annually. GitHub’s enterprise option is $231 per user annually, while GitLab’s is $1188 annually.

You can view the image sources below the prices to see the specifics of each plan and what they have to offer. Here are GitHub's pricing options.

GitHub's pricing/features for Free, Team, and enterprise options

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Here are GitLab's pricing options.

GitLab's pricing for Free, Premium, and Ultimate options

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Choosing GitHub vs GitLab

As we’ve seen above, there are several differences between these two popular software development platforms, from enterprise-level capabilities to integrations & more. Each platform excels in different areas, making them suitable for different kinds of teams & projects alike.

Ultimately, when deciding between GitHub and GitLab, you should consider factors such as cost-effectiveness & ease of use before choosing what’s right for you. With GitLab, you can do more within the platform without relying on third-party integrations, while GitHub is significantly more affordable while offering plenty of support.

Either way, you can’t go wrong depending on what your business needs.


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