GitHub vs. BitBucket

Written by Full-Stack Developer

November 27, 2023
GitHub vs. BitBucket

Developers need a super-organized way to make sure that they keep track of the changes they make and the files they use. They need a way to make sure that they are managing and tracking source code and project assets properly. This is possible by using a special tool called a version control system.

The version control system remembers every change they make to the software. However, this magic tool doesn’t work alone; it collaborates with a version control or code-hosting platform for software development.

There are several platforms where developers can host and manage their code. Two popular platforms are GitHub and BitBucket. It’s impossible to miss these two web-based services, either as a newbie or a seasoned developer.

As a developer, being familiar with how a version control system or code hosting platform works is like a rite of passage; it’s also one of the criteria when applying for a job.

version control system

To use GitHub or BitBucket, you must be familiar with Git (the version control system). A survey by StackOverflow shows that 93.87% of developers use Git, which makes it the most used version control system among professional developers. It’s also beneficial to know that Git can be used independently without the need for GitHub or BitBucket.

However, you cannot use BitBucket or GitHub without Git because both platforms are built on Git. They were made to enhance the user experience of Git.

In this article, we’ll understand the terms version control system, and code hosting platform, and discuss the differences and similarities between GitHub, BitBucket, and GitLab. Primarily, we’ll go through a brief definition of Git and what it entails before comparing both hosting platforms.

What is Git?

Git is a distributed version control system used to track and manage software development projects. Linus Torrands and Juno C. Hamano created and released Git on April 7, 2005.

In a nutshell, it was created to manage source code history, allowing it to perform tasks such as undoing code changes and effecting changes that have no effect on the rest of the source code.

Advantages of using Git include:

Version control Allows users to track the codebase over time.

  • Branching capabilities: Users can create different branches for different features, after which changes can be merged into the main codebase.

  • Team collaboration: Developers can work on projects as a team, share codebases, review code, and track changes from any location in the world.

  • Open source: Git is free and open source. There’s an active community of developers contributing to development and providing support, tools, and other resources to the community.

  • Distributed development: Developers have a personal copy of any repository they’re contributing to, along with its history. This also means that developers can work offline.

When working on small applications or projects, you can manage the history of your projects using Git on your local computer. However, for large projects that require team members' collaboration, there’s a need for a centralized repository to track issues, manage release cycles, delegate tasks, etc. These are a few reasons why a version control system platform or code hosting is required to manage teams and contributions.

Definition of a Version Control Hosting Platform

Definition of a Version Control Hosting Platform

A version control hosting platform, or code hosting platform, provides tools for hosting, managing, and collaborating on version control repositories. GitHub and BitBucket are cloud-based hosting platforms.

If we’re already familiar with what the cloud means, we know that it’s simply a collection of servers where applications and websites are stored and accessible over the internet.


GitHub is a web-based platform for version control and collaboration where developers store, manage, and share code repositories. Tim Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and PJ Hyett are responsible for how we write and share code using GitHub. The idea was brought to life after realizing that software developers were struggling with how to collaborate on code.

Over the years, GitHub has provided services to grow its user base. e.g., services like GitHub Pages, which allows users to host static websites directly from Github repositories, and GitHub MarketPlace, which provides integrations and applications for users.

Features of GitHub

  • Collaboration and Management: Github is effective for team collaboration. It offers features like access control, permission setting, and project boards to manage and organize tasks, check task progress, assign roles, etc

  • Hosting and Sharing: GitHub is a centralized location for sharing and managing repositories. Users also have the option of sharing repositories with the public, allowing other contributors access to either update or present changes.

  • Issue Tracking: The GitHub tracking system built into every repository allows users to manage and track issues. The timeline also reflects the progress of a project.

  • Code Review: GitHub offers a feature called PR (Pull Request), which is used for code review and merging changes made to our code. It is used to identify issues, and comments can be left on specific lines of code for adjustments.

  • Documentation: GitHub allows collaborators to create and share documentation for software projects.


This is a web-based platform for version control and collaboration. It is a Git repository management solution designed for professional teams. It provides a central location for managing git repositories, collaborating on source code, and guiding you through the development flow.

Bitbucket was founded in 2008 by an independent startup company led by Jesper Nohr. It was acquired by the Atlassian software company in 2010, after which Atlassian tools like JIRA and Confluence became integrated with Bitbucket to create a more powerful platform for developers.

Features of Bitbucket

  • Project Management: Bitbucket's native integration with JIRA, Trello, Bamboo, and Opsgenie makes it efficient for project management.

  • JIRA Integration: Bitbucket offers native integration with one of Atlassian's popular management tools, known as JIRA. This tool allows teams and collaborators to plan projects in an orderly manner.

  • Track Issue: The Bitbucket built-in issue tracker feature allows team members or collaborators to track the progress of a project. Collaborators can share ideas, solve problems, comment on work status, etc

  • Robust UI: Bitbucket's interface is user-friendly and accessible to both technical and non-technical users. e.g. Repositories can be viewed easily as they are properly organized by the last updated repository, etc

  • Authentification Features: Bitbucket offers authentication features for security purposes. Username and password authentication, Two-Factor authentication, etc. It helps individuals, collaborators, teams, and organizations modify security settings based on specific requirements.

  • Branch Permissions: Bitbucket allows users to restrict access to your branch by setting permissions on who has access. Branch permissions give you control over your code base, and you can ensure that the appropriate standards are followed by other members of your team.

GitHub vs. Bitbucket

Now let’s compare Github and Bitbucket:

1. Private and Public Repository

GitHub offers a free private repository with a maximum of three contributors. Public repositories are free and include unlimited collaborators.

Bitbucket offers unlimited private and public repositories with a maximum of 5 users per workspace. Teams with more than 5 users are required to subscribe to a plan, e.g. $3/User/Month

2. CI/CD Tools

GitHub workflow and automation are flexible. It incorporates continuous integration and continuous deployment automation.

Bitbucket offers built-in CI/CD (code integration/continuous development). This tool is also called Bitbucket Pipelines. It helps automate the software development process and delivery.

3. Performance

Speed and performance are the basis of GitHub's services. GitHub uses a cache system to ensure an efficient user experience.

Bitbucket is committed to providing performant services, and performance is affected by a variety of factors, e.g., repository size, server load, network connection, complex pipelines, and so on.

4. Integrations

GitHub allows integration with other tools to improve and manage projects. Examples of these tools are ZenHub, Slack, CodeTree, etc

Bitbucket has a marketplace with a variety of third-party integrations and add-ons that users can use to amplify its functionalities. E.g. Toggl Track, CircleCI

5. AI Programming Tools

Github developed an AI-powered tool in collaboration with OpenAI named Github Co-Pilot. This tool was designed to assist developers with code generation, code completion, documentation assistance, etc

Bitbucket announced Atlassian Intelligence in April 2023, which would leverage AI using internal models and collaboration with OpenAI into Atlassian tools, including Bitbucket's cloud.

6. Security

GitHub is secured with 2FA for login, status checks, security alerts, code scanning, etc.

Bitbucket’s security methods include vulnerability monitoring, pull request scanning, security dashboards, etc.


GitHub is owned by Microsoft

Offers public and private repositories

Offers free and paid plans.

Cloud-based, hosted by GitHub, or can be self-hosted.

A large community of open-source projects and users.

GitHub is an open-source platform.

GitHub supports Git LFS (large file storage)

Popular with developers and open-source projects.

Third-party CI integration

GitHub can be integrated with third-party tools.


Bitbucket is owned by Atlassian

Offers public and private repositories

Offers free and paid plans.

Cloud-based, or can be self-hosted.

A growing community of open-source projects and users.

Bitbucket is not entirely open source; however, it provides some features.

Bitbucket supports Git LFS (large file storage)

Popularly used for enterprise projects.

Bitbucket provides CI integration.

Bitbucket can be integrated with third-party tools.

Similarities between GitHub and Bitbucket

GitHub and GitLab are similar in so many ways, to mention a few:

  • Git-based version control platform
  • Command-Line Interface
  • Repository Hosting
  • Open Source
  • Code Review
  • Issue Tracking
  • CI / CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment)


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GitHub and Bitbucket are great tools for managing and tracking software projects. Deciding which one to use depends on your preference. A survey by StackOverflow comparing version control platforms shows that GitHub is more popular for both personal and professional use.

version control platforms

Questions like project goals, features, security and compliance, scalability, and automation can be evaluated to make the decision clearer when choosing a platform for your project. Ultimately, GitHub is more popular for open-source projects, while BitBucket is popularly used for enterprise solutions.

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