GitHub Vs. GitLab: head-to-head comparison

GitLab and GitHub are both essential tools in development. The best choice between the two platforms boils down to your enterprise needs.

Updated: 31 Aug, 23 by Susith Nonis 21 Min

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GitHub, with a whopping 100 million developers, and GitLab, boasting over 30 million registered users, are like superheroes for coding. They're key players in the development world, helping us easily manage and share our code.

Think of them as your virtual file storage—when things change on the web; these tools store the updates so we can check them out later. When developers work on code, it can get tricky. They might change stuff that clashes with others' changes, causing problems. This is where GitHub and GitLab come to the rescue. They keep track of all these changes and help us avoid bugs that could mess up our software in the long run. So, thanks to these tools, we can work together smoothly and build amazing stuff!

In this article, we'll learn about these two excellent tools and how they affect how we make software. We'll talk about stuff like version control and working together on projects. Whether you're a coding expert or just starting, it doesn't matter; we're here to help you understand these tools better. So, let's jump into the GitHub vs. GitLab battle and find out which one could be your new favorite coding buddy!

GitHub is a company that provides a helpful online place for saving and sharing your coding work, akin to a digital home for your code. Designed with user-friendliness, it's especially suitable for those new to coding, easing their entry into the programming landscape. While delving into coding intricacies can be challenging, GitHub simplifies the process, offering an intuitive interface and tools that facilitate smoother collaboration among developers. Notably, GitHub's utility extends beyond coding; users have discovered its broader applications, such as collaborative writing on projects like books. 

The platform's accessibility is a standout feature, enabling anyone to join and share their code freely, an invaluable resource for projects looking to engage with a broader audience. You're in the right place if you're here to learn GitHub vs. Gitlab features. 

Read more: What is Git?

Key Features of GitHub

GitHub offers many features that empower programmers and designers to collaborate effectively, manage projects seamlessly, and share code effortlessly. Here's a closer look at some of the standout features that make GitHub the go-to tool for collaborative development:

1. Collaborative Coding

GitHub is a dynamic hub where developers and designers pool their skills and expertise. This collaborative environment encourages teamwork, enabling individuals to collectively build, enhance, and troubleshoot projects in real time.

2. Issue Tracking and Bug Management,

One of GitHub's core strengths is its ability to streamline issue tracking and bug management. By providing a centralized platform to log, prioritize, and address problems, GitHub facilitates efficient communication and resolution within development teams.

3. Visualized Branch Management

GitHub's intuitive graphical interface visually represents branches within a project. This feature aids developers in comprehending branching structures, enabling smoother code management and fostering a deeper understanding of project evolution.

4. Git Repository Hosting

At its core, GitHub offers a secure and organized repository for hosting Git-based code. This centralized repository allows developers to store, version, and collaborate on codebase changes, ensuring a reliable source of truth for the project.

Read more: Rebase Git | Everything and Beyond

5. Project Management Tools

GitHub's robust project management tools empower teams to plan, organize, and track tasks seamlessly. By providing customizable boards, task lists, and timelines, GitHub assists in keeping projects on track and ensures efficient resource allocation.

6. Team Collaboration and Management

Facilitating effective collaboration is a GitHub cornerstone. With features like team creation, access controls, and permission settings, GitHub ensures that developers can work together harmoniously while maintaining security and data integrity.

7. Code Hosting and Sharing

Beyond being a version control platform, GitHub excels as a code hosting and sharing space. Developers can easily showcase their projects, collaborate with others, and contribute to open-source initiatives, fostering a thriving global coding community.

8. Task Tracking and Assignment

GitHub simplifies task tracking and assignment through its built-in task checklist feature. This enables developers to create, assign, and monitor tasks within the project context, fostering accountability and efficient progress tracking.

9. Engaging in Conversations

Effective communication is essential in collaborative development, and GitHub's conversation tools facilitate this seamlessly. Developers can engage in discussions, provide feedback, and share insights, enhancing transparency and knowledge sharing.

10. Knowledge Sharing with Wikis

GitHub's inclusion of wikis offers a space for teams to share essential project information, documentation, and insights. This collaborative knowledge base promotes best practices, reduces knowledge silos, and enhances project sustainability.

In essence, GitHub's diverse features transform it into more than just a code hosting platform. It's a comprehensive ecosystem that empowers developers to collaborate, manage projects, and contribute to the global coding community with unparalleled ease.


Benefits of GitHub

Think of GitHub as two parts: Git and the Hub. GitHub offers valuable tools like access controls and collaboration features such as managing tasks, hosting repositories, and team organization.

The main advantages of GitHub are:

Version Control

GitHub uses the Git version control system, allowing developers to track changes to their code over time. This makes it easy to collaborate on projects, revert to previous versions, and manage codebase history.


GitHub provides tools for collaborative development, allowing multiple developers to work on the same project simultaneously. Developers can fork repositories, make changes, and submit pull requests to merge their changes back into the main codebase.

Code Review

Pull requests on GitHub facilitate code review processes. Developers can review each other's code, leave comments, suggest changes, and discuss improvements before merging code into the main branch.

Issue Tracking

GitHub's issue-tracking system helps manage and prioritize tasks, bugs, feature requests, and enhancements. Teams can use issues to track progress, assign tasks, and communicate about project-related matters.


GitHub allows developers to create and maintain project documentation using tools like Markdown. Good documentation is crucial for understanding how a project works, its APIs, and how to contribute effectively.

Community Building

GitHub fosters open-source collaboration and community engagement. Developers can showcase their work, connect with other developers, and contribute to other projects, thereby enhancing their reputation and skills.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

GitHub integrates with various CI/CD tools, allowing automated testing, building, and deployment workflows. This results in faster development cycles and improved code quality. Read the whole article to learn the GitHub ci vs. GitLab ci differences.

Project Management

GitHub provides project management features like project boards, milestones, and labels to help teams organize and plan their work. This is especially useful for teams working on larger projects.

Code Hosting

GitHub is a centralized repository for code storage, making it easily accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. It eliminates the need for maintaining local copies of codebases.


GitHub offers vulnerability scanning and dependency analysis to help identify security issues in code and dependencies, enhancing overall code security.


GitHub allows developers to specify project licenses, clarifying how the code can be used and shared. This is crucial for open-source projects.


To create seamless workflows, GitHub can integrate various tools and services, such as project management platforms, communication tools, and other development services.

Visibility and Transparency

GitHub repositories are often public, allowing developers to showcase their work and contributions to potential employers, collaborators, or the wider community.

Learning and Education

GitHub is a platform for sharing code examples, tutorials, and educational resources, making it an excellent place to learn from others and improve coding skills.

GitLab is a robust web-based platform for managing software development using Git version control. It offers tools covering project planning, collaboration, testing, and deployment. Notably, it's a fast-growing software company with 100,000+ users, including IBM, Sony, and NASA.

A prime example of GitLab's value is seen in Goldman Sachs. They used GitLab to streamline software quality, development speed, and complexity, achieving unified management and faster collaboration. GitLab simplifies development by hosting Git repositories and providing tools for versioning, planning, and continuous integration.

Key Features of GitLab

GitLab has many tools covering different parts of the software development process. Some of its main features are:

Version Control

GitLab is built on Git, enabling efficient code versioning, branching, and merging to manage changes collaboratively.

Repository Management

It provides a centralized location to store and organize your codebase. Users can create, clone, and manage repositories easily.

Issue Tracking

GitLab's issue tracker helps manage tasks, bugs, and feature requests. It supports labels, milestones, and custom workflows.

Code Review

Developers can conduct code reviews by adding comments, suggesting changes, and collaborating directly within the platform.

Merge Requests (MRs)

Also known as pull requests in some systems, MRs allow proposing, reviewing, and merging code changes across branches, facilitating collaboration.

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD)

GitLab CI/CD automates building, testing, and deploying code changes, improving development speed and quality.

Wikis and Documentation

GitLab provide space for project documentation, wikis, and notes, fostering knowledge sharing among team members.

Code Snippet

Developers can save and share code snippets for reuse or reference.

Container Registry

GitLab includes a container registry to store, manage, and deploy Docker images.

Security Scanning

It offers security features like static code analysis, dependency scanning, and vulnerability detection to ensure code security.

Project Management

GitLab's tools assist in project planning, resource allocation, and progress tracking, supporting Agile and other methodologies.

Monitoring and Observability

GitLab can integrate with monitoring tools to track application performance and infrastructure health.

Group and User Management

Administrators can organize users into groups, set permissions, and manage access to repositories.

Single Sign-On (SSO)

GitLab supports integration with various authentication providers, allowing for centralized user management.

Customizable Workflows

Users can create custom pipelines, workflows, and automation based on their development processes.


GitLab provides templates for issues, merge requests, and more, streamlining the creation of consistent project elements.

Review Apps

GitLab can automatically create temporary app environments for testing and review.

Git LFS (Large File Storage)

GitLab supports handling large binary files using Git LFS, preventing repository bloat.

Multi-Platform Support

GitLab can be self-hosted on different platforms or used as a cloud service on

APIs and Integrations

It offers APIs and integrations with various tools, allowing customization and extension of its capabilities.

GitLab Benefits

GitLab is really useful for software teams and companies because it has many advantages:

Unified Platform

GitLab combines version control, project management, CI/CD, and more in one platform, reducing the need for multiple tools and enhancing team collaboration.

Efficient Collaboration

GitLab's features, like merge requests, code reviews, and issue tracking, streamline collaboration among team members, making it easier to work together on code changes.

Code Quality and Reviews

The platform's code review capabilities help maintain code quality by enabling thorough code inspections, feedback, and corrections.

Automated Workflows

GitLab's CI/CD capabilities automate build, test, and deployment processes, leading to faster and more reliable releases.

Simplified DevOps

GitLab promotes DevOps practices by integrating development and operations workflows, leading to faster development cycles and improved software quality.

Enhanced Visibility

Project management tools and dashboards provide clear visibility into project progress, helping teams stay on track and making it easier for stakeholders to monitor developments.

Security Features

GitLab includes security scanning tools that identify vulnerabilities and help maintain your codebase's and applications' security.


GitLab's flexibility allows customization of workflows, automation, and integrations to match the specific needs of your development process.

Reduced Toolchain Complexity

By hosting code repositories and offering integrated project management and CI/CD, GitLab simplifies toolchain complexity and reduces the need for multiple solutions.

Version Control

Built on Git, GitLab provides powerful version control capabilities that track changes, manage branches, and enable parallel development.

Centralized Repository

GitLab is a centralized location for code repositories, wikis, and documentation, improving access and collaboration.

Time and Cost Savings

Streamlined processes, automated tasks, and collaboration tools save time and resources throughout the development lifecycle.

Easy Onboarding

GitLab's user-friendly interface and comprehensive documentation make it easier for new team members to start quickly.


GitLab can scale to accommodate projects of varying sizes and complexities, from small teams to large enterprises.

Community and Support

GitLab has an active user community and offers support options, ensuring users can access assistance and resources as needed.

Cloud and Self-Hosted Options

GitLab provides cloud-hosted and self-hosted options, catering to security, compliance, and deployment requirements.

Incremental Improvement

GitLab frequently releases updates and new features, ensuring users benefit from ongoing improvements and innovations.

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GitLab and GitHub are popular platforms for version control and collaboration in software development. This comparison highlights key differences between the two:





Cloud-based, hosted by GitHub

Can be self-hosted or cloud-based


Emphasis on social coding and collaboration

Strong focus on collaboration and DevOps

Continuous Integration

GitHub Actions for CI/CD

Built-in CI/CD features with GitLab CI/CD

Issue Tracking

Robust issue tracking and project management

Integrated issue-tracking and project management tools

Pull Requests

Supports pull requests for code review

Supports merge requests (equivalent to pull requests)

Security Scanning

Integrates with third-party security tools

Built-in security scanning and code analysis

Access Control

Repository-based access control

Granular access control and permission management


Large community of open-source projects

Widely used by open-source and enterprise projects


Extensive third-party integrations

Offers various integrations and APIs


GitHub documents are organized in guides

GitLab documents organized with search bar

CI/CD – Setup

GitHub Actions require external blob storage

GitLab offers versatile CI/CD setup

Code Navigation

Jump to references and definitions

Integrates with SourceGraph for navigation

Code Search

Advanced syntax for searching content

GitLab Advanced Search for code and issues


Offers free, paid plans for individuals

Offers free and self-hosted Community Edition, paid plans for individuals and enterprises


Offers various import options

Supports importing from various sources, including GitHub repositories


Provides limited export options

Allows exporting projects and data, with more flexibility compared to GitHub

GitHub and GitLab are both web-based platforms that provide version control and collaboration tools for software development projects. Here are some of the key similarities between GitHub and GitLab:




Version Control System (VCS)



Repository Hosting



Pull Requests/Merge Requests



Issue Tracking



Code Review



Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)



Web Interfaces



Community and Collaboration



Wikis and Documentation



User Permissions



Third-Party Integrations



Open Source and Private Projects



Pricing Models

Free and Paid plans

Free and Paid plans


Primarily Cloud-based; GitHub Enterprise for self-hosting

Emphasizes Self-Hosting

Built-in Docker Registry


Integrated Docker Registry

Built-in DevOps Tools

Yes (Actions)

Comprehensive DevOps tools

Scope of Features

Code Management, Collaboration

Extended DevOps Lifecycle, Code Management

Choosing between GitHub and GitLab depends on your requirements. GitHub is known for its strong open-source community, seamless third-party integrations, and a wide array of add-ons through its Marketplace. It's ideal for those seeking efficient project management, well-established organization features, and built-in continuous integration through GitHub Actions.

On the other hand, GitLab offers a self-hosted option, making it suitable for organizations with stringent security needs. Its integrated DevOps platform, encompassing source code management, CI/CD, and container registry, can simplify workflows. GitLab's free tier includes private repositories and CI/CD, making it appealing for smaller teams or individual developers. Additionally, its strong issue-tracking and project-management capabilities streamline task management. 

In making your decision, consider GitHub for its vibrant open-source community and ecosystem, while GitLab is an excellent choice if integrated DevOps, self-hosting, and an encompassing free plan are priorities. Testing both platforms with your specific needs can help you determine the best fit.

In summary, the decision between GitHub and GitLab depends on developers' and organizations' specific demands and priorities. GitHub's extensive adoption and integration within the open-source sphere offer a familiar environment for collaboration and visibility. It's particularly well-suited for open-source projects and those seeking a broad developer community. On the other hand, GitLab's comprehensive DevOps approach, including built-in CI/CD, Docker container registry, and Kubernetes integration, streamlines the development process in a unified platform. This makes it a strong contender for organizations aiming to integrate their development and operations workflows tightly.

Ultimately, the choice between GitHub and GitLab necessitates carefully evaluating project size, team collaboration preferences, and workflow intricacies. Whether you opt for GitHub's established ecosystem or GitLab's integrated DevOps capabilities, success hinges on fostering a culture of collaboration, code excellence, and continuous enhancement. Both platforms offer valuable tools, but it's the strategic utilization of these tools that propels software development endeavours toward triumph.

People also read:

GitHub is primarily cloud-based, while GitLab offers both cloud and self-hosting options. GitLab includes integrated CI/CD pipelines.

Choose based on your needs. GitHub has a larger community, GitLab offers more control and CI/CD features.

Both emphasize security. GitLab's self-hosting might offer more control. Security depends on your setup and practices.

No, they are separate. Microsoft acquired GitHub, while GitLab is an independent company.

No, Microsoft does not own GitLab. They own GitHub, not GitLab.

Susith Nonis

Susith Nonis

I'm fascinated by the IT world and how the 1's and 0's work. While I venture into the world of Technology, I try to share what I know in the simplest way with you. Not a fan of coffee, a travel addict, and a self-accredited 'master chef'.