If you don't want to worry about downloading, installing, and managing GitLab yourself, then you'll want to use GitLab SaaS, where there is no technical setup required. If you want full control of your GitLab environment, then you can choose to download and install GitLab self-managed, on your own infrastructure or in the public cloud environment.
Choose the version of GitLab that is best for you — let us host it for you, or host GitLab on your servers:
GitLab SaaS is hosted, managed, and administered by GitLab, Inc., with free and paid options for individuals and teams: Free, Premium and Ultimate.
To support the open source community and encourage the development of open source projects, GitLab grants access to Ultimate features for all GitLab SaaS public projects, regardless of the subscription.
With GitLab self-managed, you deploy your own GitLab instance on-premises or in the cloud. From bare metal to Kubernetes, you can run GitLab almost anywhere, with free and paid options: Core, Premium, and Ultimate.
Feature by feature, GitLab SaaS and self-managed are mostly the same.
Features that are not available to .com customers are primarily configuration or administration tasks that GitLab, Inc. necessarily manages for GitLab SaaS, with a few exceptions as detailed below.
Your subscription determines which tier of features you can access. There are some differences in how a subscription applies, between use of GitLab SaaS or a self-managed instance.
On GitLab SaaS, you can apply a subscription to either a group or a personal namespace. On a self-managed instance, a GitLab subscription provides the same set of features for all users.
While there are several dozen minor functional differences, they amount to a few key considerations:
Key differences between GitLab SaaS & self-managed
|type of difference||GitLab SaaS||GitLab self-managed|
|Infrastructure||GitLab manages HA Architecture, and instance-level backups, recovery, and upgrades||manage your own, anywhere|
|Instance wide settings||same for all users||custom|
|Access controls||customer is group owner||customer is admin|
|Features availability, such as:||SAML SSO is Premium||SAML or LDAP is Core|
|Log information and auditing
||no access, but Support or Security can answer questions||unrestricted access|
We should work on removing as many difference between GitLab SaaS and self-managed as possible. Please contribute relevant issues to this epic for the Product team to consider and prioritize.
The GitLab Pricing page includes a "Frequently asked questions" section which answers "What features do not apply to GitLab SaaS?" Some of the bullets below require clarification, here and on the web site. That list includes: