Bitbucket vs GitHub: Which code repository is best for your development projects?

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Choosing a depository hosting service is an important decision. The way you host your code is an important part of your job and affects your productivity. You will therefore need to make sure that you choose the platform that best suits your specific needs and goals (and those of your team).

If you’re like most developers, you’re probably using Git as your version control system (VCS). However, deciding where to host the source code can be difficult. Two of the most popular options are Bitbucket and GitHub, but how do you decide which one is right for you?

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of choosing the right code repository. Next, we’ll take a look at Bitbucket vs GitHub to see how the two stack up.

Let’s start!

Why choosing the right code repository is important for developers

The hosting service for your repository is the third-party app that enhances your VCS (which in most cases is Git ). The code repository you use can play a vital role in your development flow.

For example, it influences your ability to collaborate with other members of your team and the effectiveness of this process. It also affects the way you measure, control, and manages your projects. Each code repository system has advantages and disadvantages. There are a few important considerations to take into account when comparing them, including

  • VCS support
  • Employee access
  • Interface and user-friendliness
  • Third-party extensions and integrations
  • Pricing plans

Another important factor to consider is whether you are looking for a public or private repository. Some platforms are better suited for one use case or another, so it’s important to know what you’ll need upfront.

Among the two most popular choices for source code repositories are Bitbucket and GitHub. While they are similar in many ways, there are a few key differences that are worth considering before deciding which option is best for the needs of your development project.

An introduction to Bitbucket and GitHub

Bitbucket and GitHub are hosting platforms that provide public and private repositories for developers. In terms of functionality, Bitbucket and GitHub work very similarly. With both, you can run basic commands such as

  • Creation and management of repositories
  • Logging in using two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Make pull requests
  • Proceed to revise the codes
  • Using Online Editing and Markdown Support
  • Follow up on questions

However, to fully understand both platforms, you need to take a closer look at what each brings.

Overview of Bitbucket

Bitbucket is a version control repository hosting service, established in 2008 and owned by Atlassian. This Git repository management solution is written in Python, and built using the Django web framework:

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The home page of the Bitbucket site

One of the main advantages of Bitbucket is that it offers built-in flexibility in terms of VCS support. It also provides unlimited private code repositories for Mercurial and Git.

Other features of Bitbucket include

  • Direct integration with Jira, Bamboo, Crucible and Jenkins
  • The ability to import repositories from Git, Codeplex, GoogleCode and SVN
  • Support for external authentication for GitHub, Google, Facebook and Twitter
  • Strong integration with Trello
  • A Mac and Windows client ( Sourcetree ) and an Android application ( Bitbeaker )

While you can use Bitbucket to host open-source repositories, it is primarily intended for businesses and businesses that develop private and proprietary code. Another unique advantage of Bitbucket is that it offers a secure platform for your code with Soc 2 Type 2 certification.

GitHub overview

GitHub is arguably the most popular development platform, offering one of the largest coding communities. With over 40 million users and 100 million deposits in the world, it is widely considered as the control center of the versions of Git, and is the largest source code hosting of the planet:

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The home page of the GitHub site

GitHub is an open-source repository hosting service, which was launched in 2004 and acquired by Microsoft in 2018. It’s written in Ruby and Erlang, and its main focus is public code. You can use it to host and review code, build software, and manage your development projects.

The characteristics of GitHub are as follows:

  • GitHub and GitHub Gist Pages
  • Support for Git and SVN (partially)
  • Direct integration with Zendesk, Azure, Cloudbees, Google Cloud, Amazon, Code Climate and Heroku
  • Support for over 200 programming languages
  • GitHub clients for Mac and Windows

You can use GitHub for your personal and business development projects. One of the main advantages of GitHub is that it is free for an unlimited number of public repositories.

Bitbucket vs GitHub: Key differences

The biggest difference between Bitbucket and GitHub is that the former is used primarily for private repositories while the latter is the preferred option for public repositories. That doesn’t mean you can’t use GitHub for private repositories and vice versa, just that these are the specialties of both platforms.

There are also a few minor differences that are worth noting. For example, GitHub offers a desktop client and SVN support. Bitbucket does not, although it does provide Mercurial support. Let’s see how the two platforms stack up on a few other important factors.

Third-party extensions and integrations

From issue tracking to project management tools, there are a host of extensions and applications that can help extend the functionality and usefulness of your repository hosting platform. Bitbucket and GitHub both come with a plethora of extensions and third-party integrations for you to choose from.

From a quantitative standpoint, Bitbucket is ahead of GitHub in terms of third-party integrations. This is due to the Atlassian Marketplace, which has approximately 2,300 applications that can be used for both Bitbucket and Atlassian products. It also has cross-product compatibility, which can be particularly useful for enterprise developers:

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However, the GitHub Marketplace also offers many apps and “GitHub Actions” that help you extend the functionality and automation of your workflow:

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These tools can help with project management, monitoring, code quality, etc. Most of the over 92 integrations available with GitHub are exclusive to GitHub.

User interface

When it comes to choosing between Bitbucket and GitHub, another factor that can be important is their user interface (UI). After all, you want to make sure that the platform you choose to manage your projects is easy to use and navigate.

Bitbucket has an incredibly clean and organized interface:

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It’s easy to move around the dashboard and find what you’re looking for. In addition, the clear navigation in the side column makes it very easy to find what you need.

As for GitHub, it doesn’t have an overly complex interface. However, it tends to be a bit more cumbersome and confusing than Bitbucket’s user interface:

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It can be a bit more difficult to navigate and use this dashboard, especially if you are not familiar with it. However, while it is not the most elegant interface, it is not lacking in features or utility.

Wikis and tables

Another difference that should be noted when comparing Bitbucket and GitHub concerns the functionality of the wiki. Having a wiki is incredibly useful when it comes to collaborating and communicating with other team members and developers on your projects.

With Bitbucket, you can activate a wiki for each of your repositories, and choose to make them public or private:

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Unfortunately, unlike Bitbucket, free private repositories on GitHub cannot have their own wikis. Only free public deposits can.

Conversely, GitHub has a Projects tab by default, while Bitbucket does not. However, you can link your Bitbucket repository directly to Trello, which performs a similar function.

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This means that each project has its own board. While these boards don’t have as many features as Trello, they are sufficient for many planning and documentation needs.

Branch permissions

Bitbucket and GitHub both allow you to grant users access to specific branches.

Let’s say you don’t want a team member or collaborator to have full access to your repository. Instead, you can configure permissions to restrict their access to just one individual branch.

One of the advantages of using Bitbucket over GitHub is that it includes this feature for free on every plan. With GitHub, while you can enable branch restrictions on public repositories for free, you can only apply them on private repositories with a paid plan.

Support and community

Bitbucket is primarily aimed at businesses and businesses. As such, the majority of its users rely on it for private repositories. On the other hand, GitHub is the largest public code host and has a huge open source community.

From a purely digital perspective, there is more community involvement with GitHub than with Bitbucket. If your goal is to reach as many developers as possible, GitHub is probably the best option.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a support or community base for Bitbucket, however. In addition to a large user base, Bitbucket also offers online support, including webinars, tutorials, and a large collection of documentation.

Pricing structures

Since Bitbucket and GitHub both offer private and public repositories, your decision can be largely influenced by price and more specifically what you get for that cost. Of course, your needs and resources will be different depending on whether you are a business, a freelancer, or a small team.

Let’s start with Bitbucket pricing. On its free cloud hosting plan, you can create unlimited private and public repositories with up to five users. This includes 1 GB of Git Large File Storage (LFS) for storing large non-text files. After that, the rates increase by $ 3 per user per month:

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For its self-managed hosting, Bitbucket offers a tiered pricing structure based on the number of users, with some discounts. If you’re looking for enterprise hosting in a Bitbucket data center, prices start at $ 1,980 for 25 users.

GitHub can be used for free to create unlimited public and private repositories with no limit on the number of users you can have. The free plan also includes 500MB of storage.

Paid plans start at $ 4 per month. This includes unlimited collaborators, unlimited public and private repositories, more storage, reminders, wikis, and pages for private repositories, to name a few. If you want an Enterprise plan, these start at $ 21 per user per month:

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GitHub’s company-level pricing — called GitHub One — is not public and requires you to contact sales. Additionally, GitHub does not offer the self-managed hosting option that Bitbucket offers in its data centers.


Choosing the right platform to host your source code between Bitbucket and GitHub can be tricky. However, it’s good to start by taking a close look at these popular and well-established depository hosts.

As we’ve seen, Bitbucket and GitHub both have unique advantages that make them well suited for certain types of development teams:

  1. GitHub is a powerful open-source platform well equipped for managing personal projects or small teams that you are comfortable sharing with the public.
  2. Bitbucket is a cost-effective solution if you are a business or business looking for a secure hosting service for your private and owner code.

Now it’s your turn: what’s your take on the Bitbucket vs. GitHub challenge? Let us know in the comments section below!

Written by

Christina Cheeseman is a Technology Strategist at Elitech Systems. She enjoys writing about Technology, marketing & industry trends.

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