« Blog Home

Differences of gitlab.com (SaaS) vs GitLab Self-managed

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In the last two years, many people ask us what the differences are between GitLab Self-managed (your own private server)
and gitlab.com (GitLab’s SaaS solution).
Many are confused about using GitLab in the cloud,
That’s why I decided to publish a comprehensive and up-to-date article on the subject, based on the accumulated knowledge of our company, which will include all aspects and considerations relevant to the subject.

GitLab Self-managed vs gitlab.com

I divided the answer into a short answer and a long answer.

The differences – in brief:

In GitLab Self-managed you will have full control over the server itself and the environment, with everything that implies:
Security, Privacy, Data, Planned downtime, Performance, Latency.
The server is your responsibility and you will have root access, so you will have full control over it.

In contrast – at gitlab.com you will get a private instance of course, but it is still important to remember that you are actually sharing the server with others (other companies or private individuals) that you do not know. This is actually a multi-tenant solution, and this affects performance considerations, information security, privacy, server availability and more.

The differences – in length:

I divided the differences into 3 main aspects:

A. Features:
Certain features do not exist in gitlab.com (there are about 40 of them). This is actually derived from the fact that you do not have control over the server.
partial list:

  1. Active Directory / LDAP integration
  2. DevOps Score
  3. Instance file templates
  4. Plugins
  5. Kerberos integration
  6. Git Server Hooks
  7. Auditor access
  8. and more.

A complete list can be obtained from us by contacting us at gitlab@almtoolbox.com
(The list changes from time to time and is not available on the manufacturer’s website).

B. Limitations:
At gitlab.com there are certain time/place limitations on storage, processing power, etc.
partial list:

  1. Maximum repository size limit
  2. Limit of maximum API calls per hour
  3. Limitation of the storage size of all information in the account
  4. A limit on the maximum running time for CI if using public runners in the cloud
    and more.

A complete list can be obtained from us by contacting the email: gitlab@almtoolbx.com
(The list changes from time to time and is not available on the manufacturer’s website)

Note: At gitlab.com, some of the restrictions can be canceled by paying extra for storage and computing power to run CI (further explanation in the next section)

C. Licensing aspects and financial aspects:
First difference:
At gitlab.com you have to pay for each instance separately.
In Self-managed, you can set up 2 separate environments, and given that the same users will use the 2 environments, you can pay only once for each user – so there is no need to pay a double fee!
For example, you can use this to build a staging environment for tests on a new server before upgrading it.

Second difference:
At gitlab.com there is an additional fee for storage expansion and for receiving additional computing power to receive “CI minutes” (receiving additional computing power) and/or running CI on special processors.
Payment for this is usually not relatively high – but on the other hand – it is an expense whose total cost is difficult to estimate in advance (like any expense in the cloud).

Frequently asked questions (FAQ):

1) Question: We want a GitLab server in the cloud, but don’t want to maintain it ourselves. Is there a solution?

Yes, there is a solution. In this situation, we offer a managed service where we will manage the environment for you.
We offer a variety of options regarding this – from responsibility for server upgrades, to total support including SLA. For details contact us: gitlab@almtoolbox.com or phone 072-240-5222

We also offer a managed service called “Bring your own cloud” – where you will provide us with your infrastructure in the cloud (in your preferred environment), and we will build and maintain your environment there.

It is important to remember that a “Self-managed” solution means that you can also put a private server (single tenant) in a private cloud, and then enjoy all the worlds: the advantages of a private server and a high-quality managed service where you do not have to deal with the maintenance of the server and the environment.

2) Question: The list of functional differences is long and requires a long review. Is there a way to shorten the test?

Yes, the answer is yes. A few years ago we wrote an article that helps to choose a GitLab edition in the opposite way (using the method of elimination).

In addition to that – we can help you do this exam together with you, with the help of our team of experts for GitLab and the cloud. We offer such a service – contact us by email or by phone.

3) Question: We want to try GitLab in the cloud / Self-managed. Is it possible and how?

Yes, it is possible. Contact us and we can give you access to experience. We have environments of all types and with all GitLab capabilities.

4) Question: What are the differences in the editions that are on gitlab.com / Self-managed?

GitLab is divided into 3 editions: Free, Premium, Ultimate. All three are available both self-managed and in the cloud.

The following article contains a complete list of all features in GitLab (over 500), divided by releases.

5) Question: We currently use GitLab Self-managed and want to switch to gitlab.com – is it possible?

Yes – possible. From our experience, the matter requires a certain planning and an action plan, since this is usually a system that is used by many users, and it is important to do it correctly, and safely.
In addition to that – the ease of transition is also related to the version currently installed with you, since it is not possible to switch from any version to gitlab.com, so several version upgrades may be required to be ready to switch to the cloud.
We offer such a migration service, based on our accumulated experience and best practices for quick and safe execution.
Contact us for details.

6) Question: Is switching from one to the other possible? That is, from gitlab.com to GitLab Self-managed, or vice versa from Self-managed to Gitab.com?

Yes, both directions are possible. From our experience, the matter requires a certain planning and an action plan, since this is usually a system that is used by many users, and it is important to do it correctly, quickly and safely.
We offer such a service based on our cumulative experience – feel free to contact us.

A few final notes:

  • The article is correct at the time of writing the article (January 2023). In the future there may be changes, of course, and it is possible that some of the features that are currently not available on gitlab.com will be available in the future.
  • The article was not written by AI. The illustration image was prepared with the help of AI.