Comparing Github and BitBucket

There are a lot of advantages to using a distributed revision control system as opposed to centralized. There are also some down sides, mostly in that it can be a bit more confusing to manage. A centralized web interface however seems to solve that problem quite nicely.

Currently there are two major competitors in that space, Github and Bitbucket, that manage Git and Mercurial repositories respectively. I’ve used Github for a while and recently have really started using Bitbucket and I thought I’d share some thoughts and comparisons of the two. There are a lot of blogs that compare Git and Mercurial, but this is not one of those blogs. I personally have a preference for mercurial, but for admittedly stupid reasons like it was written in python and the syntax more closely resembles SVN which I’ve become used to. To me, a major differentiator in choosing one over the other is the interface or ‘hub’ that manages it.

Below is my item by item lineup showing the differences between GitHub and Bitbucket

GitHub BitBucket
pull requests yes yes
forking yes yes
command instructions yes yes
distributed revision control yes yes
network graph yes no
inline editing yes no
developer profiles yes yes
wiki yes yes
issues yes yes
rss feeds yes yes
source browser yes yes
monthly price cheap cheaper
free private projects 0 1
# of users lots not lots
happy hours in SF no

There really aren’t a lot of differences.  Personally, I actively use both. Learning both is easy as the syntax difference between the two revision control systems is minimal and both hub interfaces are very similar.

I use git for open projects like TwitTornado where privacy is not an issue and where I’d like to get more developers involved. Its really got a fantastic social network of hackers.

I use bitbucket for my private repositories as it allows 1 free private repository (per user) and has cheaper monthly rates.

I hope this helps others make a decision between the two and try both of them out. Let me know in the comments if I’ve left any parameters out of the table above and I’ll add them in.

  1. Alfred said:


  2. Paulo Abreu said:

    You may have the private repositories you want with bitbucket, for free. You pay by user, not by repository.

  3. mark said:

    you have the URL of but that leads to some random blog… I think the right URL for the BitBucket by Atlassian is

  4. Guest said:

    Useful stuff, saved me a lot of hassle.

  5. perwiklander said:

    Time for an update now that BitBucket has git repositories?

  6. Dave Merrill said:

    And unlimited private repositories, as noted by @Paulo Abreu. Advantage BitBucket by a mile in that regard.

  7. @Dave, that’s a recent development, at the time of writing this they had different limits. But right now Bitbucket sure looks good, I moved 2 repos to BB private ones, perfect stuff. Took me 10 minutes to sort that out. I sure like BitBucket.

    One bad aspect of Github is that as a paying user, you don’t get priority over free ones or even a more stable platform. They are the victim of the collaboration mania… Useless/stale forks tying up diskspace. I find the github search underperforming. When I search for my own public repo with keywords that are in the file it doesn’t show up. I tried adding a few very disctinct words in my descriptions to no avail. Github should make the search perform better. In that regard I have done such searches on BitBucket and it’s more or less the same, looking for a keyword from the projects README’s (any flavor) can’t be done.

    Both searches suck. Find a relevant PHP class using their systems in much harder than on sourceforge for example. If I cannot find my repo myself, who will ? It might not be popular, hence it probably never will if noone gets a chance to discover it.

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