GitHub ushers in unlimited private repositories

Both personal and organizational accounts on the code-hosting site will get unlimited private repos and a simplified pricing structure

Paid plans on social-coding site GitHub now include unlimited private repositories as part of the deal. 

The change -- which applies whether the plans are for an individual or an organization -- is a response to customers' use of the site over the years, says GitHub. It also encourages organizations to use private repositories more freely.

Previously GitHub charged individuals $7 per month for five private repositories, and organizations paid $25 per month for up to 10 private repos. The disadvantage of this approach, GitHub explained in a phone interview, was that adding even one more private repository forced everyone to move to a higher product tier. Individuals would have to spend $12 per month to get 10 private repos, and organizations would have to shell out $50 per month for 11 to 20 repos.

For individuals, the burden was pricing -- even a few dollars either way can make a difference. For organizations, it was less about money and more about process, since ordering a new service tier from GitHub typically meant going back and forth with one's billing department.

Under the new system, all tiers include unlimited private repos. Personal plans are $7 per month; organizations are charged $9 per user per month, with a $25-per-month plan for the first five users. Individuals will be automatically migrated to new plans, and those who were on a larger plan will receive a prorated credit to their accounts. Organizations can remain on whatever current plan they use and have the option to upgrade plans at any time.

The enterprise-tier pricing plan also appears to have been altered to be more transparent. Earlier this year, enterprise account pricing started at $2,500 per year. The current enterprise plan now costs $21 per user per month in 10-user packs, with annual billing -- meaning that a basic one-year enterprise subscription under the new system is $2,520. (The increase, according to a GitHub spokesperson, is because the $21 a month shown on the site is rounded up from its actual price of approximately $20.83.)

GitHub's changes also seem inspired by competition. Atlassian Bitbucket -- one of GitHub's major rivals -- offers free team accounts on its site for up to five users, with tiers of 10, 25, 50, 100, and unlimited users available for $10, $25, $50, $100, and $200 per month. For enterprises that want to host Bitbucket behind the firewall, prices start at a one-time payment of $10 per user (which is donated to charity) and work their way up to $16,000 per year for 500 users and up.

GitLab -- GitHub's other major competitor -- has two free tiers: its free and open source community edition, which can be run on premises, and an unlimited-repo, unlimited-user plan that runs on its own servers. GitLab's on-premises enterprise offering starts at $39 per user per year, with no minimum users and with various cost-plus enterprise-level add-ons, such as premium support or georeplication.

[Edited to clarify enterprise pricing.]

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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