GitHub Free plan now includes unlimited private repositories

Ruben Fields
January 8, 2019

GitHub will kick off the new year by allowing free users of the code repository service to maintain private projects, which should encourage smaller developers wary of its new corporate parent to stick around. Private repositories are free so long as the repository has three collaborators or fewer.

GitHub is expected to roll out a change to its free service tomorrow, introducing the ability to create private repositories without actually paying anything.

Microsoft is simplifying GitHub's business options as well. Private repositories were previously only available on GitHub's paid plans, which start at $7 per month.

As such, GitHub represented a trade-off: you could use GitHub's services for free, but you had to share. Even after landing your first developer job, when it comes time to move on or work on a side project, you might not want to have your work out in the open for your current employer to see.

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Public repositories are also still free and include unlimited collaborators, the company said. Notably, free private repositories are a hallmark feature of GitHub rivals like Gitlab or Atlassian BitBucket. Those products include GitHub Enterprise Cloud, which gives businesses a private GitHub portal for their own use, and GitHub Enterprise Server, which lets customers run GitHub's software in their own servers for maximum control over their data.

If the limit on collaborators gets in the way, you can upgrade to a "Pro" account to invite an unlimited number of collaborators and get access to advanced code review tools.

Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub was a major play for the hearts and minds of software developers, everywhere.

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