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Github vs Bitbucket: One host to rule them all?

Posted on 22/11/2018
by Michael John Oliver

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Github and Bitbucket are the big kahunas of source code and development hosting. Each have their pros and their cons, depending on what your development goals are.

So, what are the big differences between the two, and where should you splash your cash?

Github

If websites were pubs, Github would be where developers go for a tipple. It is the most popular SVN vision-control system (VCS), with close to 13.7 million repositories of code hosted. But it’s important to note it only hosts projects that use the Git VCS.

Github boasts free public repositories and a range of affordable private options, API integration for a swathe of third-party tools, and supports more than 200 programming languages and data formats.

Other ticks in the Github column is that it provides collaboration features such as project read me, wikis, issue tracking, pull requests, commit history, and access control to various collaborators.

Its model isn’t the easiest to learn right off the bat—developers need to be patient and get to grips with its features and nuances. Its GUI is also a little confusing and it’s easier to go with its CLI instead. And Jira integration is still missing.

Bitbucket

If Github is Weatherspoons, Bitbucket is a swanky inner-city bar offering a range of craft beers on tap. It has pull requests and code reviews, branch comparison and commit history, and unlimited private repositories for free…for up to five users.

Its enterprise option has smart mirrors for distributed teams, speeding up cloning and fetch times. It ensures work is secure and synced. Badda bing, badda boom.

Some users have balked at the fact Bitbucket Cloud and Server have different set of API, and despite a dynamic and wide plugin market, it could be solved with some additional functionality between the two.

So, Github or Bitbucket. Which is better?

When it comes to core features, both platforms are closely matched. If you need to use Git, it’s a coin flip. Github is better for small web-hosting projects, and Bitbucket’s JIRA integration is a huge tick.

But it comes down to the structures of your projects. If you have a tonne of private projects fewer than six users, Bitbucket may be a better option. But for big teams working on fewer projects, Github would be the better option.

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