CircleCI Vs Travis CI: Which is the Best CI/CD Tool?
Today, CI/CD tools have become an inherent aspect of DevOps testing. There are various CI/CD tools available in the market, and finding the right one could be tedious. However, only a few CI/CD tools offer the entire continuous integration and deployment system. Leading among those few are CircleCI and Travis CI. To assist you in selecting the best CI/CD solutions, we present an in-depth CircleCI vs Travis CI comparison.
To pick the right tools for your project, consider aspects such as ease of use, learning curve, open source code, compatibility with multiple languages & environments, administration cost, etc.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What is CircleCI?
- 2 What is Travis CI?
- 3 A Top-Level view of CircleCI
- 4 A Top-Level view of Travis CI
- 5 Using CI/CD: Why and When?
- 6 CircleCI Vs Travis CI – An in-depth comparison
- 7 Travis CI Vs CircleCI: Differences
- 8 CircleCI Vs Travis CI: Which CI/CD Tool should you choose?
- 9 Integrating CI/CD Tools with Test Automation Platform
- 10 Travis CI Enterprise Pricing Plan And Cost
- 11 CircleCI Enterprise Pricing Plan And Cost
- 12 Conclusion
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
What is CI/CD?
Continuous Integration (CI) is an approach that aids developers in integrating new blocks of code with the primary code branch without messing up the entire software. CI tools automate integration and verify that new changes don’t disrupt the software. The code is then delivered to the Continuous Deployment (CD) platform. CI/CD lets companies deliver software quickly and efficiently. They help launch the products to market faster than before. The top CI/CD tools include CircleCI, Tavis CI, GitLab, Bamboo, and more.
What is CircleCI?
CircleCI is a cloud-based continuous integration and continuous deployment tool that aids in the automation of integration and deployment tasks. You can use it to automate software project development, testing, and deployment.
You can choose from two CircleCI configurations: Server & Cloud, where Server is the on-premise (or self-hosted) version and Cloud is the hosted (or SaaS) solution.
Clients can simply log in and execute their builds, tests, and pipelines on the hosted platform with the CircleCI Cloud. On the other hand, the CircleCI Server requires the installation of CircleCI on the client’s own infrastructure.CircleCI is considered a good starter tool for continuous integration and continuous development in DevOps testing.
What is Travis CI?
Travis CI is the first ever continuous integration as a Service application. It was originally created for open-source projects but later expanded to include closed-source applications as well.
Travis CI optimizes your software build process through automated testing and an alert system. It provides both on-premise and private cloud solutions.
Simply log in with GitHub, link your repository, and instruct Travis CI to build your projects. Additionally, the automated CI options enable you to test across various environments, machines, and OS. Travis CI will also monitor the entire workflow and issue alerts in the event of a problem.
Travis CI, like CircleCI, is ideal for taking your first steps toward continuous integration.
A Top-Level view of CircleCI
Moreover, both self-hosted and cloud solutions support Linux, Android, Windows, and Docker builds. However, the CircleCI Cloud supports macOS builds.
Features of CircleCI
- Insights Dashboard allows users to track test status, cache & parallelization, optimize consumption, and monitor entire CI/CD pipelines.
- Clean Environment allows you to run clean images & provision them.
- Fast execution with Orbs – A reusable CircleCI configuration that helps automate repetitive procedures and speeds up the project.
- Easy to setup & configure
- Offers both self-hosted & cloud solutions
- You can run both Linux & macOS tests in parallel
- Docker support for conducting tests
- Language-inclusive support
- Highly efficient & fast parallel testing
- Supports multiple Version Control Systems (VCS) like GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitHub Enterprise.
- Offers detailed workflow documentation
- It is FedRamp & SOC2 compliant
A Top-Level view of Travis CI
Travis CI, founded in 2011, is a trustworthy CI/CD platform that allows developers to rapidly and effectively build, test, & deploy software.
Initially, Travis CI was available exclusively for GitHub projects. However, now it includes Bitbucket projects too. It supports various languages, including Python, Java, Node.js, PHP, C#, Julia, Objective C, Perl, and others. Travis CI offers an on-premise version for effortless GitHub integration called Travis CI Enterprise. The Enterprise plan enables organizations to execute their CI builds smoothly on their private cloud.
Moreover, enjoy container builds support and runtimes for Windows, Linux, and macOS with this CI tool. Simply sign up for Travis CI and add a project using your GitHub or Bitbucket credentials.
The Build matrix is a unique feature in Travis CI. It allows parallel build execution across several languages, environments, packages, and runtimes.
Features of Travis CI
- Supports over 30 programming language
- Build matrices for parallel testing
- Deployment on several cloud platforms
- Automatic sync with GitHub and Bitbucket
- SSH troubleshooting for build & deployment issues
- Supports third-party tools for ensuring code coverage
- Highly scalable solution
- Free for open Git projects
- Seamless GitHub integration
- Easy to learn & maintain
- Excellent documentation
- Test execution in real-world environments
Using CI/CD: Why and When?
Continuous Integration (CI) automates the integration of code modifications from different developers. CI eliminates the need for developers to integrate and deploy code blocks manually. Continuous Delivery or Continuous Deployment (CD) automates the testing to verify that modifications to the main code are accurate and that the codebase is stable enough for prompt deployment to the production environment.
CI/CD tools ensure fewer defects reach the production stage because automated tests constantly discover and resolve bugs. Additionally, any integration problems are resolved at the initial stages, making the development and release process easier.
Also, CI/CD solutions significantly reduce testing expenses because they may run hundreds of tests in seconds.
As integration, delivery, and deployment procedures are automated, these solutions relieve pressure on your developers and testers. Thus, these tools help achieve shorter test cycles and higher code quality.
Automated pipelines result in faster development and deployment. Therefore, your organization can adapt to market changes more quickly and outrun the competitors.
To keep up with your competitors in the DevOps market, you should definitely use CI/CD tools. When your company is continuously developing projects that need frequent updates, you must use CI/CD approach. This is a must for larger companies with several running projects in parallel.
However, if your team is smaller and so are the products you are developing, you might not need CI/CD tools. These tools are expensive and small companies might not prefer them. Also, if your clients do not appreciate frequent changes or prefer stability over new features each week, you should skip these tools.
CircleCI Vs Travis CI – An in-depth comparison
Since you have a basic understanding of both CI tools now, let’s compare CircleCI Vs Travis CI in detail. To understand which tool will suit your project needs better, it is critical to examine the key features of each tool.
Setup & Installation
CircleCI and Travis CI do not require any installation process. To use CircleCI, you can simply signup to CircleCI using your GitHub or Bitbucket credentials. Once your GitHub registration is authorized, begin adding projects, developing them, and testing them from the CircleCI dashboard.
CircleCI will handle all setup, security, and maintenance if you choose a cloud-based solution. However, in the case of a private server solution, these obligations fall entirely on the in-house staff.
Similarly, to begin using Travis CI/CD, create an account with Travis CI and add your Git or Bitbucket repositories to begin testing them.
CircleCI integrates with many tools from categories such as code analysis, monitoring, testing, deployment, reporting, and more. The CircleCI Orbs allows integration with third-party tools. Based on your company’s needs, you can also connect CircleCI to software like Azure, Jira, Fastlane, Slack, and others.
Travis CI works with Bitbucket and GitHub. It also incorporates a variety of tools for mobile & desktop apps, websites, and different plugins & libraries. It can also work with tools such as Testsigma, Coveralls, and others.
Both CI/CD solutions perform admirably in terms of plugins and third-party integrations.
CircleCI and Travis CI offer different ways to create and maintain CI/CD pipelines. CircleCI provides a sample YAML configuration file based on your responses to a brief questionnaire. The newly created YAML file (config.yml) will meet all your required configurations. So you do not have to create one manually.
But with Travis CI, you must manually create the YAML file (.travis.yml) following their documentation. And this can be quite complex for people not well-versed in YAML.
As a result, in terms of pipeline experience, CircleCI has an advantage over Travis CI due to the YAML configuration generator, which allows you to create CI/CD pipelines easily.
Extensibility & Customization
As your application grows larger and includes complex features, the CI/CD pipeline will become more complicated too. Having extensibility and customization is essential to save the pipeline from becoming impenetrable. Hence, it’s crucial to inspect the customization features when comparing CircleCI Vs Travis CI.
Both tools allow you to remotely control the pipeline using command line interfaces for efficiently managing the larger pipelines.
To reduce complexity & enhance reusability, CircleCI provides custom Orbs. You can store separate tasks in these reusable Orbs or code snippets. As these Orbs are shareable, you can use them across builds. This helps reduce the complexity.
On the other hand, Travis CI allows you to split complex scripts and store them as easily maintainable scripts.
Both these tools offer RESTful APIs for extensibility. This lets you access the pipeline programmatically. The most recent CircleCI API is API v2, which includes nine new endpoints. The latest Travis CI API is API v3. You can read and alter parts of the pipeline using the Travis CI APIs. However, CircleCI APIs only support Retrieve (Read/GET) operations on a pipeline’s workflow.
CircleCI and Travis CI offer cloud-based and on-premise solutions. CircleCI Server, the on-premise version of CircleCI, is deployed using cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Windows Cloud.
Travis CI offers a free version for open-source projects. However, companies looking for private server usage should get the Travis CI Enterprise plan.
The Travis CI Enterprise supports many popular cloud environments, including Google Compute Engine, OpenStack, AWS, VMware, Heroku, Kubernetes, Azure, and others.CircleCI Server is significantly superior to Travis CI Enterprise because the CircleCI Orbs offers easier interaction with popular third-party applications.
CircelCI and Travis CI offer parallel testing. CircleCI splits the tests among different executors using timing data. Splitting using timing data guarantees that the tests are split optimally, minimizing the overall time required for test execution. Moreover, you will also need to declare the environment variable & CLIs while splitting tests for parallel execution.
Travis CI uses the build matrix feature to split up unit and integration tests into two separate builds. This allows the tests to run in parallel while also maximizing the use of the current build capacity.
Community support plays a major role in shaping open-source projects. Though they offer support for open-source and enterprise projects, they do not have dedicated community support.CircleCI provides community support in the form of feature requests, discussion topic submissions, and more. The Travis CI community also has separate support sections for languages, enterprise, deployment, discussion, feedback, and more.
If you are currently using an open-source tool like Jenkins, you will undoubtedly miss the welcoming environment of the open-source community.
Scalability & User Management
CircleCI and Travis CI are excellent tools for DevOps testing, especially for companies with GitHub Enterprise for software development and version control.
The CircleCI Server, CircleCI Cloud, and Travis CI Enterprise support integration with GitHub Enterprise, so if you already have a Git account, you don’t need to create a new account. CircleCI and Travis CI offer a per-user pricing model. Both free and paid plans are available. You will need to pick the right one that satisfies your business needs.
Migration & Vendor Lock-in
If you are currently using other open-source CI/CD tools like Jenkins, you can easily migrate to CircleCI or Travis CI. Both solutions provide thorough documentation on migrating from other platforms to their own.CircleCI includes a built-in tool called Jenkinsfile Converter that allows Jenkins users to immediately begin building on CircleCI by converting their existing Jenkinsfiles to CircleCI files.
In terms of vendor lock-in, you can use GitHub CircleCI and Travis CI for free as long as you use them on open-source projects. But large companies prefer enterprise variants (CircleCI Server and Travis CI Enterprise) as you can deploy them on a self-hosted platform. The on-premise is the most preferred plan as it provides more control over pipelines, technology, and security.
Travis CI Vs CircleCI: Differences
In the preceding sections, we examined all the critical factors that can help you pick the most suitable CI/CD tools when comparing CircleCI Vs Travis CI. We have listed the differences between these two tools in the table below.
|Configurations||Offers YAML file generator (config.yml)||Manual YAML file creation (travis.yml)|
|Supported Platforms||Linux, macOS||Windows, Linux, macOS|
|Self-hosted Solution||CircleCI Server||Travis CI Enterprise|
|Free Plans||Free plan for open-source projects and Free trial plan for CircleCI Cloud||Free plan for open-source projects|
|Cloud Integrations||AWS, Heroku, Google Cloud, Azure, Kubernetes, and more.||AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, Heroku, Kubernetes, and more.|
|REST API||Version API v2||Version API v3|
|Integration Process||CircleCI Orbs speed up the process & offer integration with third-party tools.||By default works with GitHub. Supports integration with third-party tools.|
|Queuing Problem||Yes, in case of container shortage||No queuing problem|
|Unique Feature||CircleCI Orbs, Premium support||Build Matrix, Easy to use|
CircleCI Vs Travis CI: Which CI/CD Tool should you choose?
Now that you know which tool offers what features and lacks which criteria, making a decision will be easier for you.
As Travis CI offers free builds and tests for open-source projects in GitHub, smaller teams can prefer it to run small to moderate projects. Additionally, this tool offers plans based on concurrent builds required, which is highly user-friendly too. Moreover, the pricing of Travis CI is more affordable to smaller companies too.
On the other hand, CircleCI costs more than Travis CI. Even though it has a Free plan, you will have to pay thousands of dollars to access self-hosted plans. Hence, it is considered better for larger enterprises and corporations.
Also, as CircleCI offers a more efficient management system for larger pipelines, it will work excellently for bigger projects. Travis CI has a steeper learning curve, so you may want to consider that if you are a beginner in pipelines.
No matter which tool you choose, make sure it matches the needs of your team. Otherwise, you’ll be paying hundreds of dollars without getting any benefits.
Integrating CI/CD Tools with Test Automation Platform
Every CI/CD pipeline should have multiple tests to test the build. It includes unit tests, integration tests, regression tests, and performance and load tests. As the product grows, the test cases also grow exponentially, so the testing process has to be automated to increase speed and accuracy. You can automate the testing process using a powerful test automation platform like Testsigma.
Testsigma can easily integrate with CircleCI and Travis CI. When integrated, you can trigger automated test executions whenever a successful build is created. It helps speed up the software delivery and makes the continuous integration process smooth.
Travis CI Enterprise Pricing Plan And Cost
Travis CI Enterprise lets companies use Travis CI for DevOps testing on a private cloud platform. It offers customized pricing based on the organization’s requirements, so the cost may vary accordingly. Travis CI pricing plans are as follows,
- Bootstrap – $64 per month, is ideal for individual projects
- Startup – $119/per month, suitable for small teams
- Small Business – $229/month, great for growing startups
- Premium – $449/month if billed annually, is ideal for large organizations
- Enterprise – Custom pricing
If you are to use Travis CI for open-source projects, the free plan offers you unlimited builds with five concurrent jobs for free.
CircleCI Enterprise Pricing Plan And Cost
CircleCI offers pricing plans based on the type of solution you choose, such as Cloud or Server. The cloud plan has three packages: Free, Performance, and Scale. The server plan is completely customizable, and the cost will depend on which features you are availing of.
The pricing plan is as follows,
- Free – You can use it for free
- Performance – Starts at $15 per month
- Scale – Starts at $2000 per month
- The CircleCI Server plan is customizable and offers custom pricing for its users.
We have given a detailed comparison of CircleCI Vs Travis CI to help you make your decision. However, the choice depends on your specific project requirements and how you intend to use these continuous integration features. So, carefully assess which features are most important to you and select a tool accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is CircleCI free for Open Source?
Yes, CircleCI is free for open-source projects. You can access up to 30,000 credits per month with the free plan.
However, the CircleCI tool itself is not open source. Although, some of its components, like Circle Orbs, are open source.
Is CircleCI better than GitHub Actions?
In the case of private repository projects, CircleCI is better than GitHub Actions. However, GitHub Action will be more suitable for users who solely use the GitHub repository and are looking for a cost-effective solution.
What is Travis CI used for?
Travis CI is a continuous integration tool to support your software development cycle. It performs automatic builds and tests on modified code blocks and alerts you in case of build failure or success. You also use it to automate the delivery and deployment of your software.
Can I use Travis CI for free?
Yes, you can use Travis CI for free if you use it for open-source Git projects only. If you want to use it on private projects, you’ll have to buy one of the Core or Enterprise plans.
How do I set up Travis CI?
To set up Travis CI, you need to signup into Travis CI with your GitHub credentials. Now, from the settings page, enable your project repository for testing.
Next, you’ll have to create the YAML file with the required configurations. Once the file is ready, move it to the root folder of your project. Now you can build and test your project automatically using the features of the Travis CI pipeline.