Comparing Buildkite and CircleCI

Understand how Buildkite differs to CircleCI, why it’s a popular alternative.

  • Security - Most CircleCI users that come to Buildkite do so because they want control in managing their data and protecting their source code. You are in complete control with Buildkite, because your source code is never shared with us.
  • Scalability - Buildkite’s hybrid model is a natural fit for teams that grow out of CircleCI, but don’t have the time to manage their own CI/CD server. Buildkite combines a SaaS platform for orchestration, authentication, and observability, with an agent you run within your own data center or cloud environment for maximum control.
  • Extensibility - Buildkite makes it easy to create, find, and implement integrations with third-party technologies, with an extensive library of plugins and deep native support for major source control, containers, and dev tool solutions.

Buildkite named a High Performer by G2

Product Type


Buildkite provides a SaaS platform to define and visualize pipelines and an agent to execute jobs on customer-managed infrastructure.


CircleCI Cloud features fully SaaS pipelines and task execution.

Self-Hosted Jobs

Universally Available

By default, Buildkite agents are self-hosted. Open source, no limits.

Premium Customers Only

Self-hosted options are available only in enterprise plans.

Pipeline Creation


Pipelines can be defined via an in-UI step builder, dynamically via CLI utility, or as a YAML file in your source repository.


Define pipelines via a YAML configuration file in your repository.

Job Concurrency


Self-hosted agents give you full control to parallelize your CI tasks at any scale.


Free plans can run one job at a time, with concurrency limits in higher tiers.

Plugin Support


Support for buildkite-hosted, github-hosted, or custom user-defined plugin sources.


CircleCI favors built-in functionality over modular plugins. Additional pipeline automation can be imported from a CircleCI-hosted registry.

Security & Privacy

Full Control

Buildkite’s self-hosted agent lets you keep sensitive data behind your firewall. When you host your runners, your code never leaves your servers!

Vendor Dependent

CircleCI runners check code into isolated ephemeral sandboxes on vender-hosted infrastructure.



Buildkite charges a per-seat price with the option of enterprise support at larger scale.


CircleCI charges a per-seat price bundled with credits used for purchasing time on hosted runners. Additional credits can be purchased as needed. Support is purchasable as an additional add-on

  • Buildkite is built for speed
  • Wherever you are in your CI journey, Buildkite has the capabilities to help you move faster than ever before.

    Need to create a new pipeline? No problem! Our in-browser steps editor will take you from zero to building in just a few clicks. Our support for pipeline configuration in your version control makes migrating existing pipelines a breeze as well!

    Want to turbo charge your builds? Our lightweight agent runs on your servers, VMs, or containers to ensure your builds are optimized for the hardware, software, and architecture needs of your specific applications.

    Need to scale your build capacity in a hurry? Take advantage of cloud capabilities with the Elastic CI Stack, providing a workflow for autoscaling your CI workloads for maximum efficiency.

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