How to choose the best source code repository

Your guide to selecting a code repository solution for your team

source code

Choosing a repository tool

There are a variety of modern software repository hosting tools available to choose from. Each code repository system has its own strength and weaknesses. Additionally, each repository hosting tool has various support for underlying version control systems. This guide is intended to walk you through the requirements that may impact which code repository management tool is best suited for your team’s needs.

code management software vs version control software

The difference between a repository hosting services and a version control system

It is important to acknowledge that repository hosting services and version control systems are two separate entities. Version control systems are the low level command line utilities that are used to manage the software development life cycle changes to a collection of source code files.

Learn how to pick the best version control system for your team.

Repository hosting services are third-party web applications that wrap and enhance a version control system. You cannot fully utilize a repository hosting service without using an underlying version control system.

Which source code repository should I choose?

code-cabinet

A repository hosting service is an organizational management tool which offers a transparent view into the traditionally opaque workflow process of software development. A good repository hosting service will provide tools for measuring, monitoring, discussing and managing software development efficiency and correctness. A repository hosting service should integrate with other management tools such as Task management, Customer relationship management, and support ticket management tools to provide a connected organizational communication network. Whether your business treats software development as an asset or liability it is important to have insight into that risk source.

Code file cabinet

A repository hosting service is an organizational management tool which offers a transparent view into the traditionally opaque workflow process of software development. A good repository hosting service will provide tools for measuring, monitoring, discussing and managing software development efficiency and correctness. A repository hosting service should integrate with other management tools such as Task management, Customer relationship management, and support ticket management tools to provide a connected organizational communication network. Whether your business treats software development as an asset or liability it is important to have insight into that risk source.

Elements for consideration when selecting a repository

Code repository hosting services are all similar in their surface level offerings. It can be confusing to determine what is the best repository hosting option for a projects specific needs. The following section discusses points of consideration when evaluating if a code repository hosting service is right for you.


Git branch icon

Supported version control systems

Is the repository hosting service compatible with the version control system in use on the project? This is a critical element to consider. If your project is using Git and the repository service doesn’t offer Git support, it would be very challenging to use that repository hosting service.

Team Icon

Team size and access control

Consider the project’s team structure and working dynamic. Is this a one man operation or a team project? Is this a remote team? Is the team all onsite in the same location? What level of access do team members need to the repository hosting service?

Clock icon

Release schedule

Will there be frequent small updates or larger smaller periodic releases? Many repository hosting services offer CI/CD add-on tools. Additionally the repository service may offer issue tracking and release management tools.

Database storage icon

Project size and data storage

Is the project going to be dealing with large binary data files such as 3D modeling graphics or Audio files? There are special repository softwares that specialize in making large files easier to work with. What is the ongoing volume of commits that will happen on the project? Is it an established project with a long history that can take some time to download?

Building blocks

External tools and 3rd party integrations

A key feature of a repository hosting service is the integration of external tools and services. These integrations really enable the power user workflows of a repository service. Some examples of common external integrations are: ticketing and task management. Customer support management tools. Automated quality assurance tools. If your team is already using a particular tool, ensure the code repository integrates with it well.

Imbalanced scale

Comparison code repository solutions

The table below aggregates these considerations and compares across various repository hosting services:

Feature & requirements

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Code review

A majority of your teams time spent using a repository hosting service may be centered around the discussion of code review. Code review aides have become a standard critical feature across repository services. It’s important to find a review workflow that fits your teams style.

Green checkmark
Green checkmark
Green checkmark

Bitbucket

Green checkmark

Github

Green checkmark

Gitlab

Green checkmark

Best-in-class Jira integration

Release 14% more often with Jira Software and Bitbucket, which are seamlessly integrated from branch to deployment. Create Bitbucket branches from within Jira Software or transition issues without ever leaving Bitbucket.

Green checkmark
Red x
Red x

Bitbucket

Green checkmark

Github

Red x

Gitlab

Red x

Wiki

It can be hugely beneficial to team efficiency to keep project documentation in an easily accessible location next to the projects source code. In addition to hosting source code, repository services host the accompanying documentation.

Green checkmark
Green checkmark
Green checkmark

Bitbucket

Green checkmark

Github

Green checkmark

Gitlab

Green checkmark

Free private repositories

Open source software development advocates for free and accessible source code, in that respect some repository services treat privacy as a premium feature. If privacy is critical to your business goals it’s important to consider when choosing a repository service.

Green checkmark
Red x
Green checkmark

Bitbucket

Green checkmark

Github

Red x

Gitlab

Green checkmark

Mercurial support

Bitbucket Cloud has Mercurial support. Mercurial is a free, distributed source control management system like Git. Have the freedom of choice and use the distributed version control system that works for you.

Green checkmark
Red x
Red x

Bitbucket

Green checkmark

Github

Red x

Gitlab

Red x

Soc 2 Type II certification

Bitbucket is the first of the leading Git solutions to ensure we won't expose your code, we won't lose your code, and our Cloud will stay up with a 3rd party SOC 2 Type II audit.

Green checkmark
Red x
Red x

Bitbucket

Green checkmark

Github

Red x

Gitlab

Red x

Code aware search

Save time combing through usage results with a semantic search that ranks definitions first over usages or variables names.

Red x
Red x
Red x

Bitbucket

Green checkmark

Github

Red x

Gitlab

Red x

Built-in CI/CD

Bitbucket Pipelines is a feature of Bitbucket that gives you one place to build, test and deploy with integrated CI/CD. Benefit from configuration as code and unlimited scaling without managing build infrastructure.

Green checkmark
Red x
Green checkmark

Bitbucket

Green checkmark

Github

Red x

Gitlab

Green checkmark

Teams

Give developers the right access, to the right code, at the right time. Manage and override existing access for specific users and enable merge restrictions at the branch level.

Green checkmark
Green checkmark
Green checkmark

Bitbucket

Green checkmark

Github

Green checkmark

Gitlab

Green checkmark

Self-Hosting

Bitbucket Server allows your team to securely and privately host your organizations sensitive code projects within a VPN or other secured internal network.

Bitbucket

Bitbucket Server

Github

Enterprise only

Gitlab

Green checkmark

Bitbucket Server

Enterprise only

Green checkmark

Features & requirements

Features & requirements

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Code review

A majority of your teams time spent using a repository hosting service may be centered around the discussion of code review. Code review aides have become a standard critical feature across repository services. It’s important to find a review workflow that fits your teams style.

Green Checkmark
Green checkmark
Green checkmark

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Best-in-class Jira integration

Release 14% more often with Jira Software and Bitbucket, which are seamlessly integrated from branch to deployment. Create Bitbucket branches from within Jira Software or transition issues without ever leaving Bitbucket.

Green checkmark
Red x
Red x

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Wiki

It can be hugely beneficial to team efficiency to keep project documentation in an easily accessible location next to the projects source code. In addition to hosting source code, repository services host the accompanying documentation.

Green checkmark
Green checkmark
Green checkmark

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Free private repositories

Open source software development advocates for free and accessible source code, in that respect some repository services treat privacy as a premium feature. If privacy is critical to your business goals it’s important to consider when choosing a repository service.

Green checkmark
Red x
Green checkmark

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Mercurial support

Bitbucket Cloud has Mercurial support. Mercurial is a free, distributed source control management system like Git. Have the freedom of choice and use the distributed version control system that works for you.

Green checkmark
Red x
Red x

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Soc 2 Type II certification

Bitbucket is the first of the leading Git solutions to ensure we won't expose your code, we won't lose your code, and our Cloud will stay up with a 3rd party SOC 2 Type II audit.

Green checkmark
Red x
Red x

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Code aware search

Save time combing through usage results with a semantic search that ranks definitions first over usages or variables names.

Green checkmark
Red x
Red x

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Built-in CI/CD

Bitbucket Pipelines is a feature of Bitbucket that gives you one place to build, test and deploy with integrated CI/CD. Benefit from configuration as code and unlimited scaling without managing build infrastructure.

Green checkmark
Red x
Green checkmark

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Teams

Give developers the right access, to the right code, at the right time. Manage and override existing access for specific users and enable merge restrictions at the branch level.

Green checkmark
Green checkmark
Green checkmark

Bitbucket

Github

Gitlab

Self-Hosting

Bitbucket Server allows your team to securely and privately host your organizations sensitive code projects within a VPN or other secured internal network.

Bitbucket Server

Enterprise only

Green checkmark

Selecting a code repository that compliments your organization

The repository hosting service industry is competitive and has many offerings. That said there is no single “best” option. Looking for a “best” option means finding an offering that is complementary to the immediate requirements of the project at hand.

A complementary repository hosting service is one that partners well with the organizational culture and workflow expectations. If the organization strives to follow agile practices it is important that the repository tool matches this. The code repository tool should match the organization’s “release rhythm”. If the organization has a rapid release continuous integration schedule, or maybe a less frequent static release schedule. The repository tool should accommodate these workflows. By identifying these consideration points upfront, it makes selecting a repository hosting tool a straightforward exercise.

Cargo ship carrying code file

Bitbucket code repository

Why choose Bitbucket Cloud as your code repository


Bitbucket is built for professional teams

From best-in-class integration with Jira to a better code review, Bitbucket Cloud gives your team everything you need to build, track, and deploy your software better.

Trophy icon

Best-in-class Jira integration

Integrate with JIRA or Trello to keep stakeholders in the loop. Access branches, build status, commits, and status on JIRA issues or Trello cards.

infinity icon

Continuous delivery in the cloud

Build, test and deploy with integrated CI/CD. Benefit from configuration as code and unlimited scaling without managing build infrastructure. Tie code and deployments together in one place to track and preview deployments.

Admin tools icon

One platform, one tool

Bitbucket Connect allows any developer to build deep integration with Bitbucket Cloud right within the product UI. No more context switching between tools and tasks. Have everything you need to build and ship right within Bitbucket.

Shield icon

Enhanced security

Utilize IP whitelisting, enforce merge checks, enforce Two-factor authentication (2FA), or use Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) to secure your code with a second confirmation in addition to your password. Bitbucket’s SOC 2 Type II certifications ensures your code is secure and that you’ll always have access.

Choose Bitbucket

All the features your team needs to build great software, at a fraction of the cost. Choose Bitbucket Cloud today.