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Good News! GitLab’s Paid Plans Are Now Free For Open-Source Projects


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A lot has happened in the open-source community recently. First, Microsoft acquired GitHub and then people started to look for GitHub alternatives without even taking a second to think about it while Linus Torvalds released the Linux Kernel 4.17. Well, if you’ve been following us, I assume that you know all that.



GitLab’s premium plans are now free for open source projects and educational institutes


In a blog post , GitLab announced that the Ultimate and Gold plans are now free for educational institutes and open-source projects. While we already know why GitLab made this move (a darn perfect timing!), they did explain their motive to make it free:




We make GitLab free for education because we want students to use our most advanced features. Many universities already run GitLab. If the students use the advanced features of GitLab Ultimate and Gold they will take their experiences with these advanced features to their workplaces.

We would love to have more open source projects use GitLab. Public projects on GitLab.com already have all the features of GitLab Ultimate. And projects like Gnome and Debian already run their own server with the open source version of GitLab. With today’s announcement, open source projects that are comfortable running on proprietary software can use all the features GitLab has to offer while allowing us to have a sustainable business model by charging non-open-source organizations.


What are these ‘free’ plans offered by GitLab?

GitLab has two categories of offerings. One is the software that you could host on your own cloud hosting service like Digital Ocean. The other is providing GitLab software as a service where the hosting is managed by GitLab itself and you get an account on GitLab.com.

Gold is the highest offering in the hosted category while Ultimate is the highest offering in the self-hosted category.

You can get more details about their features on GitLab pricing page. Do note that the support is not included in this offer. You have to purchase it separately.

You have to match certain criteria to avail this offer

GitLab also mentioned – to whom the offer will be valid for. Here’s what they wrote in their blog post:

  1. Educational institutions: any institution whose purposes directly relate to learning, teaching, and/or training by a qualified educational institution, faculty, or student. Educational purposes do not include commercial, professional, or any other for-profit purposes. 

  2. Open source projects: any project that uses a standard open source license and is non-commercial. It should not have paid support or paid contributors. 

Although the free plan does not include support, you can still pay an additional fee of 4.95 USD per user per month – which is a very fair price, when you are in the dire need of an expert to help resolve an issue.


GitLab also added a note for the students:

To reduce the administrative burden for GitLab, only educational institutions can apply on behalf of their students. If you’re a student and your educational institution does not apply, you can use public projects on GitLab.com with all functionality, use private projects with the free functionality, or pay yourself. 

Wrapping Up

Now that GitLab is stepping up its game, what do you think about it?

Do you have a project hosted on GitHub? Will you be switching over? Or, luckily, you already happen to use GitLab from the start?



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