Last Updated on March 8, 2024

GitHub has been standing as a model of a software development platform for years. As the market leader in version control systems, it has over 73 million developers, four million organizations, and over 200 million repositories. Exactly, but where are the projects in all of this, and what is the difference between repository and project? What do these differences arise from and why knowledge about them is so necessary.

Where do these mistakes come from?

GitHub has been on the market since 2008, and from the very beginning, the main emphasis was on repositories and the entire ecosystem based on the Git version control system. We have to remember that the IT world in 2008 was completely different. It is worth mentioning here that the now-so-liked StackOverflow was also created this year. GitLab however, which is sometimes called its main competitor, was established just in 2012. I took these dates out from bits and bytes of the digital world to pay attention to what that reality looked like. Adding to this the fact that the DevOps methodology was first proposed to a broader audience in 2009, and it only entered the mainstream as a concept a few years later, we have to realize that there were programmers and the rest of them at that time. The software was not produced in the way it is today, where a project is supervised by an entire well-organized organism operating according to Agile principles and consisting of owners, pods, etc.

It’s from that time, from 2008, that many entries and documentation called repositories projects and vice versa originated. Of course, this was not a mistake in that time frame, but the world is moving forward, much less the IT world. Applications or small programs have become larger and larger, and now they are entire projects that not only have to connect with others and cooperate on different platforms but also be safe and constantly updated. This meant that not only programmers and graphic designers but also product owners, test teams, etc. work on such projects. A great example here is GitLab, which is based on a version control system but is something more. A comprehensive approach and the entire platform for planning, managing, testing, and automating a given project.

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GitHub repository

From the very beginning of GitHub, it has been the main and most basic fundamental element in which we upload all files of a given project—starting from the codes themselves to additional files such as pdf or readme files. This folder also contains the entire history of changes and comments of files in it. Each of our new projects is in a new folder, and this is our repository. Such a repository can be made available to all selected people, or it can also be completely private. Additionally, many programmers can share and develop such a repository simultaneously. Such a repo can be located locally, on the server, or the GitHub portal. In each case, the most critical issue for the managers of such a repository should be to ensure a reliable backup. will help us here, thanks to which we will be able to take care of our valuable repos.

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What is GitHub Project?

Here it becomes a bit more complicated, but only at first glance. Because nowadays we have DevOps, even the most minor projects require planning, continuous improvement, and taking care of security. For these reasons, many companies that previously only offered a version control system have evolved into a set of tools that enable such a holistic approach to projects. It is no different in the case of GitHub, which already created a new API for a new service called projects before 2016. The GitHub Project itself has grown significantly over the last two years and is now a set of flexible tools that will help us not only write the code of a given application but also manage such a project. Currently, GitHub Project is available as a public beta, and you can see that the GitHub team is heavily developing this toolkit.

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So what’s the difference between GitHub repository and project? The answer depends on the time the question was asked. Currently, i.e., in 2021/22, these are two different offers from GitHub, where the repository is a folder that contains all the project files and the history of changes for these files. On the other hand, GitHub Project is an entirely new offering, which is a set of flexible tools for planning, tracking, and automating entire projects. In the case of the GitHub Project, you should also mention the possibility of managing many projects at once, a very extensive and filter-rich dashboard, as well as a tool for addressing issues. One of the most important and visible changes is the dashboard mentioned above, which in the case of GitHub Project will allow you to manage the workflow of a given project, as well as present visualizations and reports on the progress made.


They say nothing is lost on the Internet and that every time something gets there, it will stay there forever. There is a lot of truth to this sentence, and this has both pros and cons. Undoubtedly, one of such disadvantages is the state of documentation and entries on technology portals and forums. Adding to this the high-speed development in the IT world mentioned in the text, we can often encounter outdated data. A perfect example of this is precisely GitHub and the differences between the repository and the project. A few years ago, these words were synonymous with the same, i.e., shared or private folder, in which we created our projects. However, we have different times, and GitHub to meet them made the GitHub Project from the Project Board. Thanks to these new tools, we get not only a folder in which we have the files of our project but also tools for management, automation, testing, etc., of our application. However, the most essential and first task of each project should be to choose an appropriate and reliable GitHub backup. How to meet this necessary security requirement? You can start with the 30-day free GitProtect trial. A month is enough time to figure out if the maintenance-free GitHub data protection works for you – and believe me, you won’t be disappointed.

Before you go:

🔎 Check out the top 5 reasons to start backing up GitHub as soon as possible

🐙 Do you think you don’t need a backup if you use GitHub/GitLab/Bitbucket? We’ve busted this myth in our DevSecOps MythBuster blog post! Check it out!

👀 Find out about the most infamous GitHub-related incidents in 2023, don’t stay in the dark!

📚 Read our blog post – Your own Git backup script vs. repository backup software, –  and see which backup option better meets your requirements

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