Git

5 Best Self-hosted GitHub Alternatives

GitHub may be the most popular computer code hosting service for version control using Git, which is a distributed version control system for tracking changes in source code during software development created by Linus Torvalds in 2005, but it’s not the only option available—not by a long shot.Ever since Microsoft acquired GitHub in October 2018 for $7.5 billion, there has been a surge in demand for self-hosted GitHub alternatives. Fortunately, there are quite a few open source projects that allow developers to easily track code changes and coordinate the development of projects both large and small.

In this article, we bring you an overview of 5 best self-hosted GitHub alternatives to help you reclaim control of your own code and perhaps gain access to useful features you didn’t even know existed. After all, why would you trust someone else with your code when you can host it yourself?

1. GitLab

Even before Microsoft acquired GitHub for $7.5 billion, GitLab was already a popular alternative to GitHub among software developers because it’s the first single application for the entire DevOps lifecycle, covering every stage from planning to monitoring. While originally written entirely in Ruby, many parts of GitLab have been since rewritten in Go to improve their performance.

All core functionalities of GitLab are released under the MIT license, and they are available for free. Those who would like to take advantage of next business day customer support, multiple approvals in code review, multi-project pipeline graphs, timed and manual incremental rollout deployments, application performance alerts, dynamic application security testing, and many other useful features can choose between three different paid versions, with the most affordable one costing just $4 per user per month.

The downside of GitLab is that it can take quite a lot of time to get used to simply because it has so many features. For larger projects, the effort is definitely worth it, but individual developers might be better with a more straightforward GitHub alternative, such as Gogs.

2. Gogs

Gogs is often recommended as a fantastic self-hosted GitHub alternative for smaller teams and individual developers with moderate feature requirements. Just like all other GitHub alternatives featured in this article, Gogs is free, open source, and runs on all major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. In fact, Gogs runs anywhere Go can compile for, which means that you could even run it on your Raspberry Pi.

To install Gogs, all you need to do is run the binary for your platform and complete the simple configuration process. Despite being lightweight, Gogs has all the features GitHub users are used to, including bug tracking, wiki, and, of course, version control. Its user interface is essentially a mirror copy of GitHub, so it shouldn’t take any time to get used to.

If Gogs has piqued your interest but hasn’t convinced you just yet, we recommend you try it online to experience first-hand what it has to offer. There are many high-profile organizations and businesses that have selected Gogs as their GitHub alternative of choice, such as the University of Mississippi or Sunnyvale, and there’s nothing stopping you from joining them.

3. Gitea

If you’ve noticed that Gitea looks and feels very similar to Gogs, that’s because it’s actually a fork led by the community instead of a single maintainer. Being a community-driven project, Gitea’s development is more active than Gogs’, and it has a few additional perks as well.

Gitea sports a fresh look and a responsive user interface, and some developers will definitely appreciate that it doesn’t resemble GitHub nearly as much as Gogs does. Whereas Gogs has a number of support files it requires to run, Gitea brings everything in a single binary, making it more convenient to install but arguably less convenient to modify.

Just like Gogs, Gitea runs anywhere Go can compile for, and its requirements are so low that it performs well even on an inexpensive Raspberry Pi. Since both Gogs and Gitea allow you to import existing repositories, there’s no reason not to give each of them a try so you can decide for yourself which one suits you more.

4. Phabricator

This suite of web-based software development collaboration tools was originally developed as an internal tool at Facebook, but it’s now used by developers around the world as a powerful, fast, scalable, and completely open source alternative to GitHub.

Phabricator is available both as a hosted instance with automatic updates, maintenance, and access to support and also as a self-hosted solution that you can easily install locally on your own hardware for free. If you decide to go the self-hosted route, you can purchase a Support Pact for access to the upstream.

In addition to Git, Phabricator also supports Mercurial and Subversion repositories with Diffusion, giving you maximum flexibility when it comes to version control. Built directly into Phabricator is a Trello-like project board that makes it extremely easy to manage projects, and there’s also a chat functionality for enhanced team communication.

5. GitBucket

GitBucket is a Git web platform written in Scala that offers easy installation, intuitive user interface, high extensibility with plugins, and API compatibility with GitHub. Its features include support for both public and private Git repositories, repository viewer with an online file editor, built-in wiki, activity timeline with email notifications, and many other things most GitHub users depend on every single day.

To install GitBucket, you will need Java 8, as well as a few other prerequisites, but the installation itself isn’t difficult at all. Installing GitBucket plugins is similarly easy, and the same can be said about using GitBucket. As long as you don’t expect too much, GitBucket can serve you as a great and convenient alternative to GitHub.

Conclusion

As you can see, GitHub isn’t by far the only code hosting option available today. If you’re not okay with publishing your code on a service owned by Microsoft, or if you just want access to certain features that GitHub doesn’t have, this article presents 5 best GitHub alternatives that you can install on your own server without too much effort.

About the author

David Morelo

David Morelo

Content writer and copywriter, researcher, wannabe linguistic, part-time marketer, gym rat, sometimes annoying but always loving boyfriend.

I was born and raised in the Czech Republic, where I studied English and Japanese philology at the Palacký University in Olomouc, the second oldest university in the Czech Republic and the largest university in Moravia, one of the historical Czech lands.