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GitHub Free expanded to support teams

The free tier of GitHub’s version control platform is now available to entire teams, after previously being limited to individuals and small groups.

GitHub has expanded its GitHub Free tier to include teams, after previously limiting it to individual developers or teams of no more than three collaborators per private repository.

With this move, GitHub makes private repositories with unlimited collaborators available to all GitHub accounts, which in essence makes all core GitHub features available at no charge for every developer. Up to this point, teams larger than three people had to subscribe to one of the GitHub paid plans to do private development on the software version control and collaboration platform.

"Every developer on earth should have access to GitHub," said Nat Friedman, CEO of GitHub, in a blog post. "Price shouldn't be a barrier."

GitHub's decision may reflect both benevolence and commercial pragmatism. GitHub is a Microsoft subsidiary, and its strategy plays into the software giant's goal of owning as much developer mindshare as it can get.

"From my understanding, a free tier for teams was a common ask from GitHub customers," said Chris Condo, an analyst at Forrester Research. "So I think it's a little bit of being responsive to their customers and a little bit about gaining more market share from traditional organizations that are in the middle of a transformation and want to try GitHub for teams."

Meanwhile, GitHub reduced the price of its paid Team plan from $9 per user, per month to $4 per user, per month, effective immediately, and existing customers will have their bills automatically reduced going forward.

Teams using GitHub Free that need advanced features or personalized support can upgrade to one of the GitHub paid plans.

James GovernorJames Governor

"The most important artifact in software development is the team," said James Governor, an analyst at RedMonk in Portland, Maine. "Having clearer on-ramps for teams, and removing some annoyances about how accounts work in GitHub with respect to free individual accounts versus enterprise accounts makes a lot of sense. GitHub should always be about making it easier to collaborate, and this launch would appear to do that."

Expanding GitHub's no-cost options could help the company gain market share against competitors such as GitLab.

Moreover, "If the GitHub Free users also start using [GitHub] Actions, then it becomes real sticky and chances are they will upgrade to the enterprise version," Condo said.

If the GitHub Free users also start using [GitHub] Actions, then it becomes real sticky and chances are they will upgrade to the enterprise version.
Chris CondoAnalyst, Forrester

The GitHub Free plan includes unlimited repositories, unlimited collaborators, 2,000 GitHub Actions minutes per month, 500MB of GitHub Packages storage and automated security updates.

GitHub's paid plans include GitHub Pro, which includes everything included in GitHub Free along with 3,000 GitHub Actions minutes per month, 1GB of GitHub Packages storage and code owners. The paid GitHub Team plan includes everything in GitHub Pro along with team access controls, 10,000 GitHub Actions minutes per month, 2GB of GitHub Packages storage and GitHub Security Advisories.

GitHub Enterprise includes everything in GitHub Team along with SAML single sign-on, 50,000 GitHub Actions minutes per month, 50GB of GitHub Packages storage and advanced auditing. GitHub One -- which features all of the company's most advanced tools, support and services -- includes everything in GitHub Enterprise along with community-powered security, actionable metrics, continuous learning and 24/7 support. Public repositories are free under all plans, including open source projects.

Overall, the move to let teams develop on GitHub for free opens the door for more social coding on the platform.

"This basically makes the different levels based on amount of consumption or specific features," said Thomas Murphy, an analyst with Gartner. "So, free gets GitHub Actions but paid gets you more minutes, you get a certain amount of package storage but you get more for paid. You also get some additional features like wikis, code owners, and some key things that larger teams will need to stay coordinated. It reinforces their message about social coding -- coding is a team sport."

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