GitHub is making private repositories free to use for an unlimited number of collaborators, as the Microsoft-owned code-hosting platform looks to broaden its appeal to businesses of all sizes. This is a notable move as it brings GitHub in line with rival GitLab, which has offered unlimited collaborators for private projects since its inception.
A repository is where a project’s files and revision history are stored. Up until last year, GitHub offered a number of paid plans to suit specific use-cases, and these plans offers unlimited public and private repositories. However, the free plan could only be used for public repositories and open source projects — until last January, when GitHub gave non-paying users access to unlimited private repositories, though with an upper limit of three collaborators. Now this restriction is being removed.
So in effect, any business that was previously subscribing to a paid GitHub plan purely for the unlimited private repositories and collaborators can now downgrade to the GitHub free plan. However, GitHub has also said that it’s reducing the monthly price of its Team plan from $9 to $4 per user, so any company that requires team access controls, personalized support, and other advanced features will now pay less than half of what it would previously have paid.
It’s also worth noting here that while the existing Pro plan is no longer being advertised, it is still available as an upgrade option with GitHub. It too has been reduced to $4 per user month, down from $7, and offers slightly different benefits to that of the Team plan at the same price.
Ultimately, this move will make businesses more likely to use GitHub, and as those businesses grow on GitHub they will be more inclined to upgrade to a paid plan over time. GitHub CEO Nat Friedman said that “price shouldn’t be a barrier” in terms of allowing all developers to use the core GitHub feature set.
This move not only aligns GitHub with GitLab, but it also elevates GitHub above Atlassian’s Bitbucket, which has a five-user limit on private repositories under its free plan. So don’t be surprised if Bitbucket makes some changes to its pricing in the future, as GitHub is clearly doubling down on its efforts to appeal to larger teams.