GitHub has announced on April 14th that all of its core features are going to be free for all users, including the ones who are using free accounts. Every user will get to create unlimited repositories with an unlimited number of collaborators this also includes the teams who are using the service for commercial projects along with free access to GitHub actions for 2000 minutes/month and lastly, the automation tool.
GitHub’s New Plan for its Users and Teams
The teams who want more advanced features like code owners or enterprise features like SAML support will have to upgrade for a paid plan, which now starts at $4/month and user for the Teams plans instead of the previous $9, should opt the Enterprise plan which starts at $21 per month.
When a TechCrunch spokesperson talked to him earlier this week, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman emphasized that this motive had long been on the roadmap and this isn’t a limited promotion motivated by the current COVID-19 pandemic. “This is something we planned to do and have wanted to do for a long time — since essentially we did the acquisition — and getting to this point to do it took until now when it became a high priority,” Friedman said. “But it’s definitely something that we wanted to do and, I mean, this is a big flippin’ deal.”
The company has always taken a freemium approach to its pricing model. Since its acquisition by Microsoft, it has started to expand the number of features in for the free accounts. Recently, one of the main reasons to pay for the lowest-tier personal GitHub account was to get access to private repositories. But last January, the company decided to give access to unlimited private projects to all its free users, though that feature was limited to three collaborators at a time only.
“We’re switching GitHub from a pay-for-privacy model to pay-for-features, what’s typically called freemium — you may have heard of it,” Friedman said. “The way I think about it is we want every developer and team on earth to be able to use GitHub for their development, whether it’s private or public development.”
There are more than 40 million developers on GitHub as of now, and the CEO says the team is anticipating that it will get to 100 million by 2025.
“It’s a fundamental change to the business architecture of GitHub. That’s the thing we can think about internally,” said Friedman. “The thing that everyone else can think about is: they can just use GitHub now, for whatever reason. If you’re starting a startup or if you’re a team inside of a big company and you just want to use GitHub — no credit card required, no budget required — you can just set your team up.”
Friedman mentions that the team didn’t make these changes because of competitive pressure from other platforms. For example, we can look at GitLab which offers a competitive free plan along with built-in CI/CD features, but when we turn to Atlassian’s Bitbucket it just has a free offering that looks a bit limited in comparison to the GitHub’s changes.
“This change makes us by far the best-priced and most accessible place for developers to create software,” he argues. “More so than pretty much all our competitors, I think. So, it wasn’t really competitively driven, it was much more informed by just going into more markets and seeing what folks were saying there.”