Version Control Simplified: Github vs. Bitbucket vs. Beanstalk

Your Version Control System is your software project’s most important level of development. Enabling a collaborative approach for working on your software, version control backs up every level of your code. Many version control utilities, such as Beanstalk, Bitbucket, and Github have been developed. Each version control tool has its nuances, but one should fit your software projects needs best. Let us consider which of these three principal cloud based utilities, Beanstalk, Bitbucket, or Github, works for your software project.


Before we get started, we should mention Sourceforge, the godfather of the Version Control System. In 1999 Sourceforge became the first open source website of its kind. Unfortunately, since 2001 no new versions of Sourceforge have been released for the public, and advertisements have made the Sourceforge website unpleasant to navigate, but Sourceforge does still support all the major Version Control Systems. Since the Millennium came and went, three Version Control Systems have inherited Sourceforge’s mantle. Github, Bitbucket, and beanstalk all offer similar services, each tailored to specific needs.


Github has been the most widely used Version Control System since the flexibility of GIT won over the loyalty of software developers worldwide. With a premium account you can house unlimited private repositories for your projects. The free version is still open source. The reason Github remains the top choice for the majority of software projects is the simple user interface, but Github comes with the bells and whistles too. Github users enjoy great UI, one click forking and starring, automatic code testers (like Jenkins), two click pull request, and issue tracker support. Github was the first version control system to use GIT, and they also support Mercurial. By the way, Github’s premium accounts are free for students.


Bitbucket is the little brother of Github, providing many of the same services. Whereas Github users need a premium account for private repositories, Bitbucket offers up to five users with free private repositories. Bitbucket remains the underdog competitor to Github, but many small companies and startups have flocked to the Bitbucket camp, presumably cutting their overhead in the process. For tracking, Bitbucket supports Bamboo, JIRA, and confluence. Bitbucket also uses hipchat notifications. Like Github, Bitbucket uses both GIT and Mercurial Version Control Systems.


Beanstalk sets itself apart from Github and Bitbucket, its open source competitors, because Beanstalk is private. That does not mean you necessarily have to throw down for Beanstalk–following Bitbucket’s example, Beanstalk offers one free repository for one free user, with a limit of 100 MB. Beanstalk provides FTP support for its repositories, for sharing code and sending code online. However, even Beanstalk’s premium accounts cannot offer as many features as either Github or Beanstalk. One feature that keeps Beanstalk relevant is the Deploy–Beanstalk automates deployment from from Subversion and GIT. Unlike Github and Bitbucket, Beanstalk uses SVN instead of Mercurial, but Beanstalk also uses GIT. Beanstalk is not widely used, but it might be a solid fit if you have specific needs in mind. Beanstock innovates where Bitbucket imitates Github’s model. Then again, as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. 
To recap, all three Version Control Systems will get the job done. If you are like most other companies and users, you should stick with Github, the industry favorite. Companies with limited needs or means might as well go with Bitbucket. Anyone who only needs one user or one repository can try Beanstalk, if their automated deployment is worth more to you than Bitbucket’s additional four free users. Of course, if you have been living under a rock since the early 2000’s you may stick with Sourceforge, but brace yourself to be bombarded by advertisements.