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The ReleaseTEAM Blog: Here's what you need to know...

Choosing a Git Hosting Solution: Is GitHub Right for You?

This is part three in a series: read parts one and two. As each of the top three Git hosting providers seeks to carve out market share and offer additional customer value, they’ve expanded their services.

A little GitHub history

GitHub is a Git repository hosting service that started in 2007. GitHub hosts millions of open source projects and offers enterprise-grade solutions for organizations’ private repositories. By the time Microsoft acquired GitHub in 2018, 25 million developers were contributing to over 85 million GitHub repositories. Although some developers initially jumped to BitBucket or GitLab immediately following the Microsoft acquisition, GitHub has continued to grow its customer base and invest in the product. Corporate customers include Shopify, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, ZenDesk, Seagate, and Twilio. Today, GitHub is focusing on the Developer experience. Let’s take a quick look at a couple of their unique features:

GitHub Codespaces

GitHub Codespaces are dev environments with compute and preconfigured containers. Customers are billed for what they use, with compute fees of $0.18/hr and storage fees of $0.07/GB per month. Customers can configure their own image or use the base Linux image which comes configured with languages and runtimes like Python, Node.js, JavaScript, TypeScript, C++, Java, .NET, PHP, PowerShell, Go, Ruby, and Rust. For more information on configuring your own Codespaces environment, see this help article.

GitHub Copilot

Positioned as an “AI pair programmer,” GitHub Copilot suggests new lines of code or functions based on the code you’re working on. It’s available for Visual Studio Code, Jetbrains IDEs, and Neovim. As of this writing, it also requires an application to the Technical Preview program, which is waitlisted. As a code prediction tool, it’s better than autocomplete. However, according to reviews, the code it generates is not always optimized or even runnable. Enjoy the help, but definitely review Copilot code closely.

GitHub Plans

GitHub offers a free plan that is suitable for open source developers, ISVs, and small teams, but we are going to focus on the two paid plans. You can find a full plan comparison here.

GitHub Team on Cloud

GitHub Team offers GitHub CodeSpaces and supports more features for private repositories than the free account, including required reviews, status checks, and automatic code review assignment. Pricing for the cloud-hosted option starts at $40/user/month for the first year, then increases to $48/user/month. If your team is larger than 100 users, you should contact GitHub sales for pricing specific to your team.

GitHub Enterprise on Cloud or Enterprise Server

The Enterprise tier is suitable for companies who need additional security features or are interested in self-hosting. GitHub Enterprise customers can choose to host their repositories in the cloud or self-host on Enterprise Server. Compared to GitHub Team, the Enterprise tier adds more GitHub Actions minutes (50,000 per month versus 3,000) and more storage for packages (50GB versus 2GB). These limits apply only to private repositories; both Actions and Packages are free for public repositories. GitHub Enterprise provides additional security features, including the Audit Log API, SAML single sign-on, and LDAP. The cloud-hosted option allows customers to restrict access to known IP addresses via the IP Allow List. Other features unique to the cloud-hosted option are automated pull requests for out-of-date and vulnerable dependencies to update them to the latest, secure versions. Pricing for the Enterprise tier on the cloud-hosted option starts at $210/user/month for the first year. If your team is larger than 100 users, you should contact GitHub sales for pricing specific to your team. Premium support is an add-on service.

How to try GitHub

GitHub has a comprehensive learning center at https://lab.github.com, that covers beginners and more advanced users. Setting up a free account is the fastest way to get started evaluating GitHub. If you want to test the features available in the Enterprise tier, you have some options:
  • You can set up a 30-day trial to evaluate GitHub Enterprise Cloud for 50 users.
  • You can request a 45-day trial to evaluate GitHub Enterprise Server. Your trial will be installed as a virtual appliance.

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