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Differences between GitLab versions v. 2019

Radoslaw Kosiec - 18 January 2019 - 0 comments

Gitlab currently offers 8 different system versions, including free, paid, cloud-based and installed on the on-premises servers or hosted. In this article, we aim to explain how all these versions differ from one another to make choosing the right version easier for a specific team.

In terms of its functionalities, Gitlab offers several versions in a way that each next version already contains the functionality included in the lower version, now expanded with additional functionalities.

In terms of place of use or installation method, GitLab products are available in the following versions:

  • Self-Managed – individual instances installed on own servers


  • Cloud – account on the service offered in the public cloud from Gitlab

Free versions

There are two free versions of GitLab on offer. However, remember that both lack support services for clients and some of the functionalities are very limited. However, despite the limitations, these versions are a fairly good option for an individual, very small, open-source and usually non-commercial project.

Self-Managed Core Edition

Perfect for individual projects or small teams.


  • One comprehensive tool for software development (from idea to production)
  • Can be used to manage private repositories (while private GitHub repositories are paid)
  • No limitations on the number of users (e.g., Atlassian’s Bitbucket restricts its free edition to only 5 users)


  • No customer support service. It’s not possible to contact the supplier for help.
  • You need the Linux administrator knowledge about server installation and configuration (knowledge of Docker and containers is also recommended)
  • You need to set up your own server (real or virtual)
  • It doesn’t include many useful functionalities available in the higher versions (described below).

Hosted by GitLab Free Edition

A version in the public cloud provided by

Perfect for individual or small projects where you don’t want to deal with the server configuration on your own.


  • Similar to the free version of the Self-Managed Core Edition above.


  • No customer support service. It’s not possible to contact the supplier for help.
  • Lack of SLA (Service Level Agreement) and availability guarantee.
  • No security guarantee
  • No performance guarantee
  • Space restriction (10 GB)
  • No protection against DDoS and DNS attacks
  • Updates (and corresponding downtimes) are made automatically and users can’t schedule their deployment at a more convenient time or avoid updating.

These cons can be eliminated by using any paid version of GitLab.

Paid versions

Paid versions of GitLab can be installed locally (on your own servers) behind a firewall, or on a secure private cloud.

There are three paid versions available:

Starter Edition

The basic version of the Self-Managed type at a price of USD 48 per user, per year (or USD 4 per month). It also includes customer support with the response time of up to 1 business day and additional functions such as:

  • Full support for user authentication and groups using LDAP, Active Directory, Kerberos and Atlassian Crowd,
  • Full analytics (called Contribution Analytics),
  • Global code search (it’s like “googling” code – it allows quickly detecting code snippets),
  • Code analysis in terms of quality (Code Quality),
  • A powerful search engine using Elasticsearch,
  • Full integration with Jenkins CI,
  • Integration with JIRA – if users prefer to work on applications in JIRA, you can easily disable Gitlab issue management and enable JIRA entries for this place directly in Gitlab,
  • Branch privileges assigned to users (to prevent unwanted calls to the git push/merge commands),
  • Managing large binary files with git annex,
  • Importing a project from the version to a private GitLab instance,
  • New user type for read-only (auditor),

(Note: The list above is only part of the Gitlab Starter Edition function, the full list is available on the website)

Premium Edition

The extended version of Premium Edition currently costs USD 228 per user, per year (or USD 19 per month)> the edition offers faster response times for customer support and provides support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It includes all of the Starter Edition Starter features mentioned above and additionally:

  • GitLabGeo, a solution for replication that applies to situations where we our teams are dispersed geografically and we need to provide better performance.
  • A file locking mechanism (blocks files being used to avoid merging problems).
  • Support for high availability, including active/active and active/passive solutions.
  • Support for updating a GitLab server (by sharing screens).

The Premium version can be installed on private servers (behind a firewall) or in a hosted private cloud. The installation can take place on a virtual or real machine, as well as a Docker container.

Ultimate Edition

The highest version of GitLab, the Ultimate Edition, currently costs USD 1,188 per user, per year (or USD 99 per month). The edition offers a wide range of support and security audits in the software development process. It includes all of the Premium Edition features mentioned above and additionally:

  • Application performance alerts,
  • Support in the context of container security scanning,
  • Dynamic testing of applications in terms of security,
  • Monitoring mechanism of the Kubernetes cluster,
  • Analysis of logs of individual Kubernetes pods,
  • Management of licenses used in the project,
  • Free user accounts for “Guest”.

The Ultimate version, like previous versions, can be installed on private servers (behind a firewall) or in a hosted private cloud.

Do you have any questions about which version is the best match for your team? Contact us.

Deviniti is an authorized GitLab Partner.

Our experts can help you with the following issues:

  • Planning the entire system implementation,
  • Setting up environments,
  • Implementation of integration with Jira, Jenkins, Slack and other tools,
  • Individual adjustment and management of add-ons,
  • GitLab and Git training,
  • Data migration from Git, GitHub, BitBucket, ClearCase, RTC, SVN, Jira, Jenkins, and other repositories.
  • We will help you purchase at producer prices and manage licenses.