Distributed vs Centralized Version Control Difference | ArkIT

We are going to see the difference between a Distributed vs Centralized Version Control system. How does it make a difference and do we need to understand it in deep? Let’s see here the pictorial view of it.



If you see a centralized repository will save the code in the centralized repository and sync it to the co-workers when they do updates from the local system. Here all the code files are located in a centralized server.  

Scenario: If the centralized server is down for a few minutes or a few hours employees can’t work with the code and they can’t collaborate with other team members, it’s a single point of failure.


Distributed Version Control System

The distributed version control system will have a local copy in all the developers ‘ laptops/Desktops as well as a repository at a central place.

Here if a central server is down for a few minutes or a few hours developers can still work offline using their local copy of the repository.


See the Comparision table of Distributed vs Centralized Version control system

Aspect Centralized Source Control Distributed Source Control
1. Repository Location Single central repository Each user has their own repo
2. Network Dependency Requires constant network connection to the central server Less dependent on network, can work offline
3. Access Control Permissions are set at the central server level Users can set permissions at both local and remote repositories
4. Branching and Merging Limited branching and merging capabilities Supports extensive branching and merging, making it more flexible
5. Speed and Performance Slower performance as operations depend on the central server Faster operations as most tasks are local
6. Data Backup and Recovery Central server failure can lead to data loss if not backed up properly Each user has a complete copy of the repository, reducing the risk of data loss
7. Collaboration Requires constant coordination with the central server, leading to potential bottlenecks Enables parallel development and collaboration with less centralized control
8. History and Versioning Central server maintains version history Each local repository maintains its history
9. Scalability Scalability can be limited due to the central server’s load Highly scalable, as the workload is distributed among users
10. Adaptability More rigid, suited for traditional development workflows Adaptable to various development workflows and more suitable for modern, agile practices


Centralized source control systems like Subversion (SVN) and Perforce have been the traditional choice, while distributed source control systems like Git and Mercurial have gained popularity for their flexibility and performance. Your choice between the two depends on your team’s specific needs and development processes.

That’s all about this article, i hope enjoyed the reading.

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