I recently moved some of my private repos to Bitbucket from Github. This is something I should have done a while ago. To me, whether to use Github vs. Bitbucket boils down to two questions that you must ask yourself when you start a new project:

  • Will this be open-source?
  • Do I expect there to be multipleย contributors to this project?

I think Github works great for open-source. The application is built around the concept of “social coding”. However, their private-repo based pricing model is obscene, in my opinion. That’s why I just use Bitbucket for all non open-source projects.

Bitbucket, on the other hand, offers unlimited free private repositories. Their pricing model is based on the number of collaborators per project. Well, in my experience, the number of collaborators is usually positively correlated with whether the project is open-source or not.

So, here’s how I work. I have the $7 Github plan and I keep all open-source projects there, along with a few private projects (where I collaborate with other people). I have a bunch of other private repositories on Bitbucket, and these are projects that I may have made while freelancing, and I know no one else is going to collaborate on these.

This model has been working out well for me. Since they’re both git-based, I can easily move my existing repo from one to the other:


$ git remote add bitbucket https://user@bitbucket.org/user/project.git; 
$ git push -u bitbucket master

18 Comments

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  1. My thought process exactly. The other annoying thing about Github is limited space for public repos. I see why they would want to restrict repos, but wouldn’t people create more useless private repos than public repos? And if bit bucket can afford it (bold assumption), why can’t Github?

  2. I don’t know what it is, but I could never get into GitHub. Something about the general style and community of the site always seemed foreign and a bit… what’s the word… hipster. Couldn’t exactly tell you why, just a feeling I got when I went there. Not somewhere I really wanted to be. I looked at BitBucket way back when and it was pretty much a GitHub clone. We ended up running our own private git server for awhile but then BitBucket re-did their site and holy moly, I love it! We’ve been on BB for months now and loving every minute, it’s a fantastic service!

  3. Najeev

    BitBucket and Bitrix24 are probably the best tools for software developers you can use for free or with very little money. Oh, and ZenDesk too, if you have to do a lot of support.

  4. Chris Saunders

    I’ve been thinking of pushing to two remote repos for a failsafe solution. I never realised BitBucket gives free private repos upto 5 contribs! Brilliant!

  5. In recent developments GitHub removed the download section substantiating it with some lame excuse that the zip archive should suffice, well not really. How one structures the code and the built and downloadable are 2 different things and there is nothing in the world that dictates or even remotely can make me believe that builds are unnecessary. So if one wants to live with GitHub then one needs another downloading spot. Ridiculous and was hoping that there would be this huge uproar but the silence is just deafening.

  6. Steve Sheldon

    When code reviewing pull requests, I really like the way you can get more context on BitBucket. I find that the diff view on Github isn’t that useful.

  7. Hi,
    I liked your analysis.. short and precise!
    Thanks!

  8. Awesome. Thanks for that. I posted directions for how I moved the repos here:

    http://nikitab.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/moving-over-to-bitbucket-quick-howto/

  9. Is there a good reason not to host your open source projects on Bitbucket as well? Collaborators only count against your limit for private repos.

    • Tilo

      I don’t just because most of the people I collaborate with are on Github. I also use Github on a daily basis at my job, so I always find myself back there. Tough cycle to break out off. Theoretically, you’re right!

    • Yeah, there’s no real reason to NOT put all of your projects on Bitbucket. It boils down to whether or not you can get contributors to adopt the Bitbucket site or not, but it shouldn’t take too much convincing. You can sign into Bitbucket via Github now!

      I personally greatly prefer Bitbucket’s interface over Github. It’s just easier to get around in.

      Something neat is that once a user has access to one of your private repos, they will NEVER count against your user limit ever again. For instance, if you give Bob access to PrivateRepoA, you can also give him access to PrivateRepoB and PrivateRepoC and he’ll still only count as one user.

      Bitbucket wins hands-down, in my opinion.

  10. ScottInNH

    So just to be clear, the only issue/complaint/difference is pricing? It’s worth noting if you lose some github features with bitbucket, or do they offer exactly the same feature set?

    Pricing isn’t the primary concern in an Enterprise environment, but feature differences do matter to developers, so this is worth expanding upon.

  11. I agree that generally for things like personal projects and startups, bitbucket is grown to be better then github. However, there are a few features that bitbucket still doesn’t support such as gist and github pages. Also millions of users that use the service makes github more of a community then bitbucket. Here is my full blog article about it: http://nudowdeployer.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/github-vs-bitbucket-2/

  12. Mauricio

    Just what I was looking for !.

    Thank you very much.

  13. I use the free plan on GitHub and only store my projects that I want to refer to in my portfolio or in my CV, because it has a nicer UI compared to BitBucket in my opinion. Furthermore, $7 per month is just too high, you can buy a VPS for less to host your repositories and it could also serve as a demo/test environment…