If you’re a developer or work closely with developers, you’re probably already familiar with GitHub, a cloud-based, for-profit web hosting service where developers can store, track and control changes to their code. Although it’s a leading platform for hosting open-source software development projects, GitHub is not an example of open-source software itself, often leaving open-source-minded users feeling locked in.
Gogs, Gitea, and GitHub are all code collaboration and version control tools. All three use the distributed version control system Git, which makes a project’s entire codebase and history available for easy branching and merging. Each tool has its own set of benefits and drawbacks depending on the user’s needs.
In this article, we’ll compare Gogs, Gitea, and GitHub and outline which type of user each tool is best suited to.
Gogs is a self-hosted Git server written in the open-source programming language Go. It provides many of the same features found in other cloud-based Git services, such as GitHub, across all platforms that Go supports, including Linux, macOS, Windows, and ARM-based systems. These features include a user dashboard and activity timeline, version control, repository management via SSH, HTTP and HTTPS protocols, pull requests, wiki, protected branches, and collaboration.
Gogs allows users to deploy a local Git server for a single machine or a small network and is known for its excellent performance and efficiency, offering fast load times and superior stability with minimal requirements. Gogs is built as a simple, no-frills Git hosting system with a bare minimum of features but endless opportunities for customization. For example, while Gogs and Gitea don’t offer continuous integration (CI) functionality, they easily integrate with existing CI/CD systems like Jenkins, Drone, and Concourse.
Similar to Gogs, Gitea is an open-source software development tool that runs on Go and offers basic Git hosting features. Also similar to Gogs, it’s known for fast load times and a higher level of performance and stability as compared to alternatives like GitHub.
In fact, Gitea was born when it was forked from Gogs in 2016 after some Gogs users wanted greater write access to its development repository. Today, both projects co-exist independently of one another, are hosted on GitHub, and are extremely similar in function and structure from a user’s perspective. Like Gogs, Gitea is ideal for those who may be using a single machine and small network – and who need less community support. Gitea relies more on community maintenance than Gogs, and benefits from faster updates and bug fixes.
Although GitHub is free for open-source projects and has improved open-source collaboration, the software that GitHub's service is based on is closed source.
Comparing Gogs, Gitea, and GitHub
|License||Closed source||Open source||Open source|
|Cost||Free with paid Team and Enterprise levels||Free for all users||Free for all users|
|Flexibility||Broad range of integrations and plug-ins available||Allows for custom plug-ins and features available|
|Support||Extensive user guides, help docs, and online community||User forum on github||Community blog (blog.gitea.io), user forum on Github|
As a platform known for hosting open-source development projects, it can be easy to think of GitHub as an open-source tool itself. But Github’s platform is closed sourced and privately owned, which may be an issue for open-source devotees who are committed to avoiding vendor-lock in and maintaining high data security standards.
If you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a robust tool like GitHub — or if you’re concerned about vendor buy-in and want to commit fully to an open-source web development solution — you may be interested in the open-source platform Gogs and/or Gitea, which was forked from Gogs.
Both Gitea and Gogs are lightweight code development and storage tools that require very little in terms of hardware and bandwidth and are completely free for all users at every level, making them incredibly accessible to anyone with a computer.
GitHub offers many integrations with third-party services, while Gitea and Gogs provide fewer integrations by default. However, because Gitea and Gogs are open-source software, users can easily create and share their own custom plugins and feature extensions. Gitea offers a curated a list of integrations and Gogs provides lists of integrations here.
GitHub has a strong community and offers features such as project hosting, issue tracking, code review tools, wikis, forums, team management tools, educational webinars, and other resources. By contrast, Gitea and Gogs offer the basics: hosting, issue tracking, and code management. Where Gitea is largely maintained and updated by its community, Gogs experiences slower fixes for bugs, and is largely updated by its creator.
Which tool is right for your team?
As the go-to platform for open-source contributors and users, GitHub is a popular option for those who are already familiar with the Git system. It may also be right for your team if you require a cloud hosting solution with essential project management tools and features all in one package. GitHub is ideal for teams of developers who need access to a wide range of third-party integrations with continuous integration (CI) capabilities.
On the plus side, GitHub does offer a robust host of tools and features and plenty of opportunities for third-party integration. User support is similarly strong, making GitHub better for those needing extra help using the platform.
Gitea makes a great choice if you need a simple, lightweight Git server with issue tracking and pull/merge requests but don’t need complex integrations. Gitea is for you if you’re interested in setting up your own private code hosting environment behind an organizational firewall without committing to an enterprise-level paid service like the one GitHub offers.
Where Gitea succeeds in contrast to Gogs is its speedy bug fixes and constantly updating features. Gitea is more community-maintained than Gogs, as well.
Gogs’ primary goal is speed and ease of set-up and installation, and can be installed via a binary file that is run on the desired directory. Gogs is right for you if you’re looking for a simple and speedy way to set up a Git service, and don’t need extensive community support.
Like all open-source programs, Gogs is an ideal GitHub alternative if you prioritize open-source software for its security and privacy benefits. Gogs allows you to have full control over your data and how it is used.
Overall, Github, Gitea, and Gogs all offer excellent services for managing software development projects in the cloud. However, each has its own unique strengths and features that may make one better suited for specific use cases than the others. Development teams can consider the features of each platform to find the web collaboration tool that works best for them.
If you think Gogs or Gitea is right for you, you can try either with one click. Love one? Keep the app running with Clovyr for a transparent, flat monthly fee, or port it to your own cloud account for free.
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