The Differences Between Git, GitHub, and GitLab

Git is an open-source version control program used by DevOps teams to handle small and large software development projects.


Git has the ability to track changes and therefore supports non-linear development, allowing multiple members of a team to modify, add, or delete files at any time.  


While Git is a standalone tool that doesn’t rely on central repositories, there are external Git repositories that you’ll most likely come across.  These platforms significantly simplify data exchange between members of a development team, serve as an additional backup, and provide various additional functions like documentation, bug tracking, and quality assurance. For public projects, these repositories also act as an information and download page for anyone interested in the project. In essence, these modern web interfaces make it easy to begin and manage Git projects.  


Let’s talk about two popular Git platforms. 


GitHub and GitLab 

GitHub is one of the most popular Git hosting providers. It is an interface that has a large range of functions with quality performance and sufficient resources. Some of the main components of GitHub include Git repositories, collaborative work with forks and pull requests, GitHub Actions, automatic safety checks, and a ticket system with milestones. 


Users can choose to open a free account or select one of the multiple paid options. Recently, restrictions on private repositories were lifted, so you can now create unlimited projects that are visible only to selected users. The advantages of paid accounts are increased storage availability, the ability to include enterprise servers for authentication (single sign-on), and the additional support provided by GitHub. 


If you use GitHub for all your software projects, then you effectively have a cloud solution for your source code. You won’t have to search for project data on multiple computers or in old backups because you know you can find everything on GitHub. 


Then there’s GitLab, which is GitHub's direct competitor. Both platforms provide a variety of useful tools for software development, with the central element in both being a Git repository. A significant difference between the two is that GitLab maintains the source code of the application publicly on the internet under an open-source license. 


GitLab also gives you the option of running a GitLab server in your own data center, which can reduce costs. Users can install the GitLab platform on their own server to manage Git projects. They can then use the software to develop commercial or open-source projects without their code or business data falling into the wrong hands. 


If you’re taking a self-hosted GitLab approach, keep in mind that there are several components that must run on one or more servers. These include web applications based on Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL database server, SSH server, Gitaly server, Redis database server, and Nginx web server.  


About the Git Book 

Git beginners are probably familiar with the feeling of defeat when a Git command returns an incomprehensible error message. A thorough understanding of Git will help developers confidently and cleanly fix merge conflicts and other issues, which is why we published Git: Project Management for Developers and DevOps Teams. 


Intermediate readers and those who are brand new to Git will get a chapter-long overview of what Git is and its important elements. The book introduces the use of Git, commands, and associated platforms and user interfaces. 


The most important platforms, GitHub and GitLab, are discussed in detail. Learn about the additional functions these platforms provide and how to host your own Git repository. Explore how GitHub and GitLab can be used for key scenarios like performing automatic tests or implementing continuous integration.  


You’ll then move on from the basics to practical information. Discover popular patterns for guiding the work of numerous developers into orderly paths with Git, and then take a look at advanced features like hooks, submodules, subtrees, and two-factor authentication. The next chapter helps you learn how to overcome hard-to-understand error messages.  


You’ll complete your Git journey with a summary of the most important Git commands and their options.  


Who Is This Book For? 

This book is intended for both novice and advanced Git learners who need a hands-on guide for project management and version control. It is useful for those looking for basic information and also anyone who wants more in-depth, practical knowledge.  


About the Author 

Bernd Öggl is an experienced system administrator and web developer. Since 2001 he has been creating websites for customers, implementing individual development projects, and passing on his knowledge at conferences and in publications. 

Michael Kofler studied telematics at Graz University of Technology and is one of the most successful German-language IT specialist authors. In addition to Linux, his areas of expertise include IT security, Python, Swift, Java, and the Raspberry Pi. He is a developer, advises companies, and works as a lecturer.


How to Purchase 

If you’re interested in purchasing Git: Project Management for Developers and DevOps Teams, follow this link and choose the format that works best for you: e-book, print edition, or bundle (both e-book and print).


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Git: Project Management for Developers and DevOps Teams
Git: Project Management for Developers and DevOps Teams

Get started with Git—today! Walk through installation and explore the variety of development environments available. Understand the concepts that underpin Git’s workflows, from branching to commits, and see how to use major platforms, like GitHub. Learn the ins and outs of working with Git for day-to-day development. Get your versioning under control!

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Rheinwerk Computing
by Rheinwerk Computing

Rheinwerk Computing is an imprint of Rheinwerk Publishing and publishes books by leading experts in the fields of programming, administration, security, analytics, and more.