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Difference Between Git and GitHub

A beginner may think that Git and GitHub are the same thing and serve the same purpose but this is not the case. Git is a version control system that is used to manage different versions of our project whereas GitHub is a Git repository hosting service. Let's try to understand what Git and GitHub are and what are the key differences between them.

Git Versus GitHub

Git

  • It is very popular version control system that is used to manage projects. A version control system is software that is used to track changes made to our project and it stores these modifications as different versions of our project.
  • Git manages the different versions of our project by maintaining a series of snapshots of the project. Whenever we want to commit or store a change permanently a new snapshot of our current version is taken and stored by Git. Any project managed using Git is called a Git Repository.
  • A major advantage of using Git, or any other version control system, is that we can easily compare the current version of our project with previous versions and rectify errors. We can also roll back to the previous versions.
  • It is a distributed version control system so that anyone who clones our repository will have access to the entire commit history.
  • Git also provides excellent branching support. A branch is just a pointer to a commit. They are used to create an independent working environment for developers where they can experiment with different things without worrying about affecting the project.
  • There are other version control systems out there like Mercurial, SVN, ClearCase but Git is probably the most popular and the most widely used one.

GitHub

  • GitHub is a Git Repository hosting service that is owned by the tech giant Microsoft. We can upload our local Git repository to GitHub and access it anywhere.
  • GitHub is very useful for collaborative purposes. A person can share his code with other developers by uploading the Git Repository to GitHub. We can also authorize other developers to make changes to our remote repository. GitHub can also be used as a backup for our repository.
  • GitHub provides all the features of Git and it is also more user-friendly and intuitive to use.
  • There are other Git hosting services like Bitbucket or GitLab, but GitHub is the most popular and the most widely used one.

Git vs GitHub

Now let's look at some of the key differences between Git and GitHub.

Git GitHub
Git is a version control system. GitHub is a Git repository hosting service.
Git is installed on our local machine and we don't need internet access to use Git. GitHub is completely cloud-based and an internet connection is needed to use GitHub.
Git is maintained by the Linux Foundation. GitHub is maintained by Microsoft.
Git is software and used as a command-line tool. GitHub provides a service and provides a Graphical Interface to its users.
Git is completely free to use. GitHub provides free as well as paid plans.

Summary

Git and GitHub are very closely related to each other. Git is a version control system whereas GitHub is a Git hosting website. When working in a team, we will often have a local repository managed by Git and a central remote repository hosted on GitHub or any other web hosting service. Both Git and GitHub provide us with important functionalities to manage our projects and repositories.