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GitLab vs Travis CI: What are the differences?

Developers describe GitLab as "Open source self-hosted Git management software". GitLab offers git repository management, code reviews, issue tracking, activity feeds and wikis. Enterprises install GitLab on-premise and connect it with LDAP and Active Directory servers for secure authentication and authorization. A single GitLab server can handle more than 25,000 users but it is also possible to create a high availability setup with multiple active servers. On the other hand, Travis CI is detailed as "A hosted continuous integration service for open source and private projects". Free for open source projects, our CI environment provides multiple runtimes (e.g. Node.js or PHP versions), data stores and so on. Because of this, hosting your project on travis-ci.com means you can effortlessly test your library or applications against multiple runtimes and data stores without even having all of them installed locally.

GitLab and Travis CI are primarily classified as "Code Collaboration & Version Control" and "Continuous Integration" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by GitLab are:

  • Manage git repositories with fine grained access controls that keep your code secure
  • Perform code reviews and enhance collaboration with merge requests
  • Each project can also have an issue tracker and a wiki

On the other hand, Travis CI provides the following key features:

  • Easy Setup- Getting started with Travis CI is as easy as enabling a project, adding basic build instructions to your project and committing code.
  • Supports Your Platform- Lots of databases and services are pre-installed and can simply be enabled in your build configuration, we'll launch them for you automatically. MySQL, PostgreSQL, ElasticSearch, Redis, Riak, RabbitMQ, Memcached are available by default.
  • Deploy With Confidence- Deploying to production after a successful build is as easy as setting up a bit of configuration, and we'll deploy your code to Heroku, Engine Yard Cloud, Nodejitsu, cloudControl, OpenShift, and CloudFoundry.

"Self hosted", "Free" and "Has community edition" are the key factors why developers consider GitLab; whereas "Github integration", "Free for open source" and "Easy to get started" are the primary reasons why Travis CI is favored.

GitLab is an open source tool with 20.1K GitHub stars and 5.33K GitHub forks. Here's a link to GitLab's open source repository on GitHub.

According to the StackShare community, GitLab has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1219 company stacks & 1431 developers stacks; compared to Travis CI, which is listed in 666 company stacks and 613 developer stacks.

Advice on GitLab and Travis CI
Needs advice
on
JenkinsJenkinsTravis CITravis CI
and
CircleCICircleCI

From a StackShare Community member: "Currently we use Travis CI and have optimized it as much as we can so our builds are fairly quick. Our boss is all about redundancy so we are looking for another solution to fall back on in case Travis goes down and/or jacks prices way up (they were recently acquired). Could someone recommend which CI we should go with and if they have time, an explanation of how they're different?"

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Replies (6)
Dustin Falgout
Developer at Elegant Themes · | 13 upvotes · 389.3K views

We use CircleCI because of the better value it provides in its plans. I'm sure we could have used Travis just as easily but we found CircleCI's pricing to be more reasonable. In the two years since we signed up, the service has improved. CircleCI is always innovating and iterating on their platform. We have been very satisfied.

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Peter Thomas
Distinguished Engineer at Intuit · | 9 upvotes · 372K views
Recommends
Travis CITravis CI
at

As the maintainer of the Karate DSL open-source project - I found Travis CI very easy to integrate into the GitHub workflow and it has been steady sailing for more than 2 years now ! It works well for Java / Apache Maven projects and we were able to configure it to use the latest Oracle JDK as per our needs. Thanks to the Travis CI team for this service to the open-source community !

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I use Google Cloud Build because it's my first foray into the CICD world(loving it so far), and I wanted to work with something GCP native to avoid giving permissions to other SaaS tools like CircleCI and Travis CI.

I really like it because it's free for the first 120 minutes, and it's one of the few CICD tools that enterprises are open to using since it's contained within GCP.

One of the unique things is that it has the Kaniko cache, which speeds up builds by creating intermediate layers within the docker image vs. pushing the full thing from the start. Helpful when you're installing just a few additional dependencies.

Feel free to checkout an example: Cloudbuild Example

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Recommends
Travis CITravis CI

I use Travis CI because of various reasons - 1. Cloud based system so no dedicated server required, and you do not need to administrate it. 2. Easy YAML configuration. 3. Supports Major Programming Languages. 4. Support of build matrix 6. Supports AWS, Azure, Docker, Heroku, Google Cloud, Github Pages, PyPi and lot more. 7. Slack Notifications.

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Oded Arbel
Recommends
GitLab CIGitLab CI

You are probably looking at another hosted solution: Jenkins is a good tool but it way too work intensive to be used as just a backup solution.

I have good experience with Circle-CI, Codeship, Drone.io and Travis (as well as problematic experiences with all of them), but my go-to tool is Gitlab CI: simple, powerful and if you have problems with their limitations or pricing, you can always install runners somewhere and use Gitlab just for scheduling and management. Even if you don't host your git repository at Gitlab, you can have Gitlab pull changes automatically from wherever you repo lives.

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Recommends
BuildkiteBuildkite

If you are considering Jenkins I would recommend at least checking out Buildkite. The agents are self-hosted (like Jenkins) but the interface is hosted for you. It meshes up some of the things I like about hosted services (pipeline definitions in YAML, managed interface and authentication) with things I like about Jenkins (local customizable agent images, secrets only on own instances, custom agent level scripts, sizing instances to your needs).

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Decisions about GitLab and Travis CI
Weverton Timoteo

Do you review your Pull/Merge Request before assigning Reviewers?

If you work in a team opening a Pull Request (or Merge Request) looks appropriate. However, have you ever thought about opening a Pull/Merge Request when working by yourself? Here's a checklist of things you can review in your own:

  • Pick the correct target branch
  • Make Drafts explicit
  • Name things properly
  • Ask help for tools
  • Remove the noise
  • Fetch necessary data
  • Understand Mergeability
  • Pass the message
  • Add screenshots
  • Be found in the future
  • Comment inline in your changes

Read the blog post for more detailed explanation for each item :D

What else do you review before asking for code review?

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Weverton Timoteo

Using an inclusive language is crucial for fostering a diverse culture. Git has changed the naming conventions to be more language-inclusive, and so you should change. Our development tools, like GitHub and GitLab, already supports the change.

SourceLevel deals very nicely with repositories that changed the master branch to a more appropriate word. Besides, you can use the grep linter the look for exclusive terms contained in the source code.

As the inclusive language gap may happen in other aspects of our lives, have you already thought about them?

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Weverton Timoteo

One of the magic tricks git performs is the ability to rewrite log history. You can do it in many ways, but git rebase -i is the one I most use. With this command, It’s possible to switch commits order, remove a commit, squash two or more commits, or edit, for instance.

It’s particularly useful to run it before opening a pull request. It allows developers to “clean up” the mess and organize commits before submitting to review. If you follow the practice 3 and 4, then the list of commits should look very similar to a task list. It should reveal the rationale you had, telling the story of how you end up with that final code.

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Kamaleshwar BN
Senior Software Engineer at Pulley · | 8 upvotes · 479.4K views

Out of most of the VCS solutions out there, we found Gitlab was the most feature complete with a free community edition. Their DevSecops offering is also a very robust solution. Gitlab CI/CD was quite easy to setup and the direct integration with your VCS + CI/CD is also a bonus. Out of the box integration with major cloud providers, alerting through instant messages etc. are all extremely convenient. We push our CI/CD updates to MS Teams.

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Gitlab as A LOT of features that GitHub and Azure DevOps are missing. Even if both GH and Azure are backed by Microsoft, GitLab being open source has a faster upgrade rate and the hosted by gitlab.com solution seems more appealing than anything else! Quick win: the UI is way better and the Pipeline is way easier to setup on GitLab!

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My website is brand new and one of the few requirements of testings I had to implement was code coverage. Never though it was so hard to implement using a #docker container. Given my lack of experience, every attempt I tried on making a simple code coverage test using the 4 combinations of #TravisCI, #CircleCi with #Coveralls, #Codecov I failed. The main problem was I was generating the .coverage file within the docker container and couldn't access it with #TravisCi or #CircleCi, every attempt to solve this problem seems to be very hacky and this was not the kind of complexity I want to introduce to my newborn website. This problem was solved using a specific action for #GitHubActions, it was a 3 line solution I had to put in my github workflow file and I was able to access the .coverage file from my docker container and get the coverage report with #Codecov.

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We were long time users of TravisCI, but switched to CircleCI because of the better user interface and pricing. Version 2.0 has had a couple of trips and hiccups; but overall we've been very happy with the continuous integration it provides. Continuous Integration is a must-have for building software, and CircleCI continues to surprise as they roll out ideas and features. It's leading the industry in terms of innovation and new ideas, and it's exciting to see what new things they keep rolling out.

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Jenkins is a pretty flexible, complete tool. Especially I love the possibility to configure jobs as a code with Jenkins pipelines.

CircleCI is well suited for small projects where the main task is to run continuous integration as quickly as possible. Travis CI is recommended primarily for open-source projects that need to be tested in different environments.

And for something a bit larger I prefer to use Jenkins because it is possible to make serious system configuration thereby different plugins. In Jenkins, I can change almost anything. But if you want to start the CI chain as soon as possible, Jenkins may not be the right choice.

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Nazar Atamaniuk
Shared insights
on
DeployPlaceDeployPlaceGitHubGitHubGitLabGitLab

At DeployPlace we use self-hosted GitLab, we have chosen GitLab as most of us are familiar with it. We are happy with all features GitLab provides, I can’t imagine our life without integrated GitLab CI. Another important feature for us is integrated code review tool, we use it every day, we use merge requests, code reviews, branching. To be honest, most of us have GitHub accounts as well, we like to contribute in open source, and we want to be a part of the tech community, but lack of solutions from GitHub in the area of CI doesn’t let us chose it for our projects.

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Pros of GitLab
Pros of Travis CI
  • 501
    Self hosted
  • 428
    Free
  • 336
    Has community edition
  • 241
    Easy setup
  • 239
    Familiar interface
  • 133
    Includes many features, including ci
  • 109
    Nice UI
  • 82
    Good integration with gitlabci
  • 55
    Simple setup
  • 33
    Has an official mobile app
  • 32
    Free private repository
  • 29
    Continuous Integration
  • 20
    Open source, great ui (like github)
  • 16
    Slack Integration
  • 12
    Full CI flow
  • 10
    Free and unlimited private git repos
  • 8
    User, group, and project access management is simple
  • 7
    Built-in CI
  • 7
    Intuitive UI
  • 7
    All in one (Git, CI, Agile..)
  • 4
    Both public and private Repositories
  • 3
    Integrated Docker Registry
  • 3
    CI
  • 3
    Full DevOps suite with Git
  • 3
    It's powerful source code management tool
  • 3
    Excellent
  • 3
    Build/pipeline definition alongside code
  • 3
    Issue system
  • 3
    Mattermost Chat client
  • 3
    So easy to use
  • 2
    Because is the best remote host for git repositories
  • 2
    Dockerized
  • 2
    Free private repos
  • 2
    Great for team collaboration
  • 2
    Unlimited free repos & collaborators
  • 2
    It's fully integrated
  • 2
    I like the its runners and executors feature
  • 2
    One-click install through DigitalOcean
  • 2
    Security and Stable
  • 2
    Low maintenance cost due omnibus-deployment
  • 2
    On-premises
  • 1
    Kubernetes integration with GitLab CI
  • 1
    Multilingual interface
  • 1
    Review Apps feature
  • 1
    Powerful software planning and maintaining tools
  • 1
    Groups of groups
  • 1
    Built-in Docker Registry
  • 1
    Beautiful
  • 1
    Wounderful
  • 1
    Opensource
  • 1
    Not Microsoft Owned
  • 1
    Many private repo
  • 1
    Published IP list for whitelisting (gl-infra#434)
  • 1
    The dashboard with deployed environments
  • 1
    Powerful Continuous Integration System
  • 1
    Kubernetes Integration
  • 1
    Native CI
  • 1
    HipChat intergration
  • 1
    It includes everything I need, all packaged with docker
  • 0
    Supports Radius/Ldap & Browser Code Edits
  • 506
    Github integration
  • 388
    Free for open source
  • 272
    Easy to get started
  • 191
    Nice interface
  • 163
    Automatic deployment
  • 72
    Tutorials for each programming language
  • 40
    Friendly folks
  • 29
    Support for multiple ruby versions
  • 28
    Osx support
  • 24
    Easy handling of secret keys
  • 6
    Fast builds
  • 4
    Support for students
  • 3
    The best tool for Open Source CI
  • 3
    Hosted
  • 3
    Build Matrices
  • 2
    Github Pull Request build
  • 2
    Straightforward Github/Coveralls integration
  • 2
    Easy of Usage
  • 2
    Integrates with everything
  • 1
    Caching resolved artifacts
  • 1
    Docker support
  • 1
    Great Documentation
  • 1
    Build matrix
  • 1
    No-brainer for CI
  • 1
    Debug build workflow
  • 1
    Ubuntu trusty is not supported
  • 1
    Free for students
  • 1
    Configuration saved with project repository
  • 1
    Multi-threaded run
  • 1
    Hipchat Integration
  • 0
    Perfect

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Cons of GitLab
Cons of Travis CI
  • 27
    Slow ui performance
  • 7
    Introduce breaking bugs every release
  • 5
    Insecure (no published IP list for whitelisting)
  • 1
    Built-in Docker Registry
  • 0
    Review Apps feature
  • 8
    Can't be hosted insternally
  • 3
    Feature lacking
  • 3
    Unstable
  • 2
    Incomplete documentation for all platforms

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

What is GitLab?

GitLab offers git repository management, code reviews, issue tracking, activity feeds and wikis. Enterprises install GitLab on-premise and connect it with LDAP and Active Directory servers for secure authentication and authorization. A single GitLab server can handle more than 25,000 users but it is also possible to create a high availability setup with multiple active servers.

What is Travis CI?

Free for open source projects, our CI environment provides multiple runtimes (e.g. Node.js or PHP versions), data stores and so on. Because of this, hosting your project on travis-ci.com means you can effortlessly test your library or applications against multiple runtimes and data stores without even having all of them installed locally.

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

What companies use GitLab?
What companies use Travis CI?
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What are some alternatives to GitLab and Travis CI?
GitHub
GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over three million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.
Bitbucket
Bitbucket gives teams one place to plan projects, collaborate on code, test and deploy, all with free private Git repositories. Teams choose Bitbucket because it has a superior Jira integration, built-in CI/CD, & is free for up to 5 users.
Jenkins
In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.
Gogs
The goal of this project is to make the easiest, fastest and most painless way to set up a self-hosted Git service. With Go, this can be done in independent binary distribution across ALL platforms that Go supports, including Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.
Git
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
See all alternatives