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GitHub passed 100 million repositories in November, but that number could be set to explode as the popular code-hosting platform today announced that it’s opening up private repositories to free users for the first time.

As things stand, GitHub offers a number of paid plans to suit specific use-cases. Each of these plans offers unlimited public and private repositories — a repository is basically where all your project files and revision history are stored. Up until now, GitHub has been free only for use on public repositories and open source projects, but moving forward non-paying users can access unlimited private repositories — though with an upper restriction of three collaborators.

Despite the collaborator restriction, this move should go some way toward raising GitHub’s appeal for individual users, small developer teams, or anyone working on personal side projects. It’s also the first major update since Microsoft completed its $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub in October.

It’s worth noting here that this brings GitHub in line with other code-hosting services such as Bitbucket, which offers private repositories to free users with up to five collaborators, and GitLab, which offers private repos with unlimited collaborators.


In related news, GitHub also revealed a number of updates to its various paid plans. Up until now, the company has offered GitHub Enterprise and GitHub Business Cloud, both costing $21 per user per month. GitHub Enterprise offers more advanced features and is self-hosted by companies, while the Business Cloud incarnation is similar except it’s hosted by GitHub itself. Moving forward, there will be a new unified GitHub Enterprise plan that offers companies the flexibility to use both setups as part of a single monthly plan, rather than two separate subscriptions that cost $42.

Additionally, GitHub Developer, its entry-level $7 monthly plan, has been rebranded as GitHub Pro.

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