Too many requests! You have made too many requests!! No more requests!!!
– How many times do you have to hear that before you get really angry?Amazon Chime API’s request throttling tested our patience like this. But all we ever wanted was to make a simple text chat app work! In this article, you’ll find out why Chime was so unkind to us, what we did to turn things around, and how you too can follow the path we forged.

In software development, selecting the proper version control and collaboration platform is crucial and can significantly influence a project's success. Today, numerous solutions are available on the market, but two of the most popular choices are GitHub and GitLab. Both platforms offer powerful features for managing code repositories, yet they possess unique characteristics tailored to different needs and project types. The choice of platform depends not only on the development team's convenience and efficiency but also on development speed, product quality, and scalability.

This article compares GitLab vs GitHub features, similarities, and differences to help you determine which option is best in 2024. We will examine both platforms' essential aspects, analyze their strengths and possible shortcomings, and provide recommendations for choosing a platform based on your project's specific requirements.

GitLab vs GitHub: The Basics

Before moving on to the details, it is essential to understand the fundamental aspects of both GitHub and GitLab. Both platforms are designed to simplify the software development process by offering a variety of tools for version control, continuous integration, and collaboration. Let's start with a closer look at each platform.

What Is GitLab?

GitLab is a comprehensive DevSecOps platform and software repository designed to facilitate the entire software development lifecycle, from planning and coding to testing, security, and deployment. 

Launched in 2011 as a simple Git-based version control system, today GitLab is more of an “all-in-one” platform that supports every stage of development. This includes not only DevOps practices such as continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), but also project management, security testing, and monitoring, making it a robust solution for all phases of software development.​

Here are the main functions of GitLab:

  • Comprehensive DevSecOps platform: GitLab integrates development, security, and operations in a single platform, providing a complete toolkit for DevOps workflows.
  • Compliance and audit management: GitLab helps manage compliance and audit requirements with automated compliance pipelines, audit logs, and policy management features​.
  • Built-in security features: GitLab offers built-in security features like Static Application Security Testing (SAST), Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), container scanning, dependency scanning, and secrets detection that are integrated directly into CI/CD pipelines.
  • Project management tools: GitLab offers extensive project management features such as issue tracking, milestones, task boards, and roadmaps to help organize and track projects.
  • Remote development and Web IDE: GitLab supports remote development with features like the Web IDE, which allows developers to code, commit, and collaborate directly in the browser.

What Is GitHub?

Established in 2008, GitHub is a web platform that provides GitHub repository hosting, version control, and collaboration tools. Renowned for its user-friendly interface and thriving community, GitHub has emerged as a pivotal platform for open-source projects and individual developers.

The main functions of GitHub include:

  • Strong community and emphasis on open source: GitHub is known for its active developer community and many open-source projects.
  • GitHub Copilot: GitHub offers an AI-powered code completion tool called GitHub Copilot that provides code suggestions directly in the editor, significantly increasing developer productivity.
  • Packages: GitHub integrates package management into the platform, allowing users to host and manage software packages, and use them as dependencies in other projects, all within GitHub.
  • Security and code scanning: GitHub provides security tools such as Dependabot for automated dependency updates, code and secrets scanning.
  • Integration with third-party tools: GitHub offers many integrations with popular development tools such as Slack, Trello, etc.

GitLab vs GitHub: Similarities 

Both platforms from our GitLab vs GitHub comparison have a lot in common, making them popular choices for developers:

  • Git-based version control: GitHub and GitLab use Git for version control, allowing developers to track code changes and collaborate on projects.
  • Collaboration tools: Both platforms provide collaboration features, such as pull requests, merge requests, code review tools, and issue tracking.
  • Continuous integration and delivery: GitHub and GitLab support tools for continuous integration and delivery, which helps automate the development process.

Key Difference Between GitHub and GitLab

Despite the similarities, there is critical difference between GitHub and GitLab:

  • Hosting: GitLab offers the option of self-hosting, allowing users complete control over their repositories, while GitHub mainly focuses on cloud hosting.
  • Pricing: GitLab provides a free version with many features, while GitHub has a more limited free version with advanced features in paid plans.
  • Open source: GitLab itself is open-source software, allowing anyone to study its code and participate in its development, while GitHub offers some open-source components but is not fully open-source.
  • UI/UX: GitHub’s interface is known for being simple and user-friendly, making it easy for new users to navigate, especially for open-source projects, while GitLab’s interface is more complex due to its wide range of features, which can make it more difficult for beginners to learn initially.

GitLab vs GitHub: Which Is the Best Option?

The choice between GitHub and GitLab depends on your project's specific needs. GitLab is preferred for teams looking for a comprehensive DevOps platform with built-in CI/CD tools, self-hosting capabilities, and additional features for project management. For example, large enterprise projects that require an integrated approach to continuous integration and deployment will find robust deployment tools and extensive workflow customization options in GitLab. Essential aspects of choosing GitLab are the possibility of self-hosting and integration with other project management systems.

On the other hand, GitHub is ideal for open-source projects, individual developers and teams who want to take advantage of a large community, a broad ecosystem of integrations with popular third-party tools and ease of use. This makes GitHub an excellent choice for open-source projects where visibility and community engagement are essential and for small or medium-sized teams working on collaborative projects. The main advantages of GitHub include:

  • A large community of developers.
  • Access to many third-party integrations and plugins.
  • A user-friendly interface for collaboration.

When choosing a platform, it's not just about the features; it's about your project. It's essential to carefully consider the specifics of your project, the number of participants, the need for integration with other tools and the requirements for continuous integration and deployment. This thoughtful approach will ensure you make the right choice for your project's success.

GitLab and GitHub Alternatives

In the world of software development, there are many tools to help effectively manage repositories. In addition to the popular GitHub and GitLab, other platforms can be useful for your projects. Consider a few of them:

  • Bitbucket: Offers integration with Jira, making it convenient for teams that use this tool for project management. In addition, Bitbucket supports Mercurial, which can be helpful for teams using this version control system.
  • SourceForge: This site is famous for open-source projects and has an extensive software archive. It allows users to host projects and provides tools for version management and code collaboration, which makes it attractive for open-source developers.
  • Azure DevOps: This is a comprehensive platform for DevOps from Microsoft that provides a complete set of tools to manage application development, testing and deployment. Azure DevOps integrates with other Azure services, making it an excellent choice for organizations already using Azure infrastructure.

Conclusion

In the world of software development, you are choosing the platform that best meets the needs of your project. GitHub and GitLab offer powerful tools for managing repositories and collaboration, but their unique advantages make them more suitable for different use cases. In addition to these two popular options, it is worth considering other platforms such as Bitbucket, SourceForge and Azure DevOps, each of which has its characteristics and advantages. Consider the specifics of your project, integration requirements, number of participants and other important factors to make the best choice for your project. The deliberate choice of platform will help to increase the team's efficiency, ensure the final product's quality and contribute to the success of your project as a whole.