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Brian Dentino profile photo
August 02, 2018

Unlimited free private repositories!

Score 8 out of 101
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Overall Satisfaction with Gitlab

We use Gitlab as a way to backup, host, and distribute source code via Git version control. It is used across our entire organization, but only about 80% of our Git repositories are hosted on Gitlab (the rest are on GitHub). We chose Gitlab for hosting the majority of our repositories because it allows us to keep an unlimited number of these repositories private for free. This is a paid feature of its major competitor, GitHub.
  • Free unlimited private repositories. I'm not aware of another hosted Git platform that offers this.
  • Gitlab CI has first-class support for continuous integration features. This makes it easy to seamlessly integrate tests, deployments, and other triggers into your development workflow.
  • It's open source, so you can run a self-hosted version if your organization requires it. This makes it easy to switch if new compliance or security requirements forced you to house all source code on a private network.
  • Third-party integrations. Many developer tools integrate deeply with GitHub, but lack support for Gitlab. Gitlab does have webhook support so it's possible to build your own integrations, but this can be time-consuming.
  • Gitlab's main competitor (GitHub) has a massive social network of coders and hosts nearly all popular open source projects. If you are looking for this type of community, Gitlab may not be for you.
  • Customer support & reliability. In the time I've used Gitlab, it's not uncommon to experience hours-long periods of downtime without any announcement or indication from the support team when it will be available again.
  • Gitlab offers free hosting of unlimited private repositories. We have saved thousands of dollars over the years by choosing Gitlab for these projects.
  • On the negative side, Gitlab has deterred us from using a number of ops-related tools we would otherwise have liked to try (Atomist is one example), simply because they did not have pre-built integrations like they did for GitHub.
  • Using a 3rd-party host for our source control has allowed us to recover projects that would have otherwise been lost due to failed disks on our own systems.
GitHub wins the social coding battle by a longshot. Their community engagement is huge and the number of popular projects hosted there is higher than any other service. I've only ever heard of 1 serious project hosted on Bitbucket, but I would imagine it integrates very well with other Atlassian products. Gitlab, on the other hand, doesn't require you to pay for private repositories, and they seem to be driving the modernization of these hosted version-control products. I'm particularly excited about the deeply-woven continuous integration features in Gitlab.
Docker, Kubernetes, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
Gitlab is great for small companies looking for a cheap solution for hosting a large number of private repositories. It helps if you have experience with dev-ops tooling, as you may have to build some third-party integrations you would otherwise get out of the box with GitHub. It's also great if there is a possibility you would wish to migrate your repositories to a self-hosted network.

If you're an independent developer or organization whose main goal is to build a community around your open source projects, I would recommend choosing GitHub over Gitlab as the community is much larger and involved over at GitHub.