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Jenkins Vs. Gitlab Vs. CircleCI

If you have been following the tech industry long enough, you know the constant advancements and growing demands of the software industry. To streamline Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), improved continuous integration and delivery tools emerged. Presently, there are variety of solutions and more tools that evolved that even competed against Jenkins. These tools are the innovative features that make it harder for DevOps teams to create a viable choice.

Depending on your business goals, the company’s size, or your product, there are different CI/CD tools for your needs. This article compares the renowned CI/CD tools of today: Jenkins, Gitlab, and CircleCI.


Jenkins is one of the oldest players in the game. Being the pioneering CI/CD tool, it is also the most popular in the market.

Like any other tool, Jenkins automates the deployment of code production. From building and testing to deploying tasks, Jenkins aims to streamline the process. Jenkins supports a wide range of OS, including Windows, Mac OSX, and various Unix systems. Teams can install this tool with native system packages, Docker, or even separately on any machine. It is as long as you have integrated a Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

Most people in the software industry prefer this tool to tailor the tasks according to their requirements. Anyone from the team can push their code for deployment and acquire immediate feedback. Jenkins also gained its reputation for its versatile ecosystem. You can opt for the extended version to take advantage of over 1,000 plugins. These plugins can be flexible for almost any tool or service out there.

Jenkins is known for being an open-source CI tool allowing teams to customize the tool based on their objectives. They can address their concerns and develop a home-grown solution with the provided freedom.

The only problem is that it takes significant time and effort to find a suitable solution for your business needs.

Since Jenkins is an open-source tool, it is entirely free. This tool is ideal for people who prefer a customizable environment but willing to put in the work to make it happen.


The Gitlab CI tool emerged following the launch of Gitlab. Shortly after the Gitlab launch, the Gitlab team developed a continuous integration service to streamline testing and building projects. On top of that, this tool allows its users to automate their builds to the corresponding infrastructure. With this added future, users can monitor various deployments performed. They become informed regarding the locations of every piece of code.

If you work with Gitlab, their CI tool is more beneficial to you. It is free and relatively easy to install. You only need to include a .gitlab-ci.yml file into the root directory of your repository. Then, you need to configure your Gitlab project so you can use it as a Runner. You can expect every push to trigger the CI pipeline throughout building, testing, and deployment.

Gitlab provides immediate feedback about the outcome of the build. If it fails, it notifies the users which part went wrong to help them fix it. They will also keep you informed in case the failure resulted from a broken code during the process. Similar to Jenkins, Gitlab is mostly open-source, with several add-ons for Gitlab software development tools. In conclusion, Gitlab is ideal for Gitlab repositories as part of the pack.


Circle CI is a cloud-based tool that automates the continuous integration and deployment process. The main focus of this tool is to monitor the changes made to the code before deployment. This tool is ideal for those just starting with Continuous Integration and projects involving containerization (Docker). It utilizes different tests like unit tests, integrations tests, and functional tests.

Tech giants like Facebook, Spotify, and Lift run their development process using CircleCI. This tool has been deemed helpful in accelerating product delivery and enhancing its quality. CircleCI supports OSX, Linux, and even any private cloud. Plus, this tool can run within your own data center like Github. It runs several steps for every modification made.

For every change made within the code, a build gets created. This tool runs several tests, depending on your initial configurations and requirements. You can decide where you want to deploy your build. Successful builds can deploy through AWS CodeDeploy, Google Container Engine, Heroku, or SSH.

Circle CI promotes scalability and allows directing the status of your build to Slack, HipChat, IRC, or several other integrations. This feature keeps the team well-informed of specific errors on the builds and tests in question. Additionally, Circle CI can automatically cancel repeated builds on GitHub. Builds deployed on the same branch can easily be identified by Circle CI. As a result, the tool cancels the redundant build, whether they are running or in a queue. It automatically aborts the older build even if it has not finished.

Circle CI is perfect for people looking for open-source tools that are GitHub-friendly and can run within a private cloud.

Jenkins, Gitlab and CircleCI Compared

Below is a comprehensive comparison table for Jenkins, Gitlab, and CircleCI comparing their market shares, costs, scaling, features, geographical division, and builders.

In conclusion, all three CI/CD tools effectively fulfill their core functions with the main differences being their specific features. There are many different solutions, but these features set them apart making each tool excel in specific use-cases depending on your own needs.

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