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GitHub Team or Free? How to choose the right plan

Read about all the features you may not have known come on the GitHub Free plan, and how to choose the right plan for you.

GitHub Team or Free? How to choose the right plan

Choosing the right tier on your software plan can be confusing. But the last thing you want is to either overpay for features your team doesn’t need, or mistakenly commit to a plan that breaks a workflow.

I sat down with GitHub’s Senior Director of Product Marketing, Erdem Menges, to discuss all the features you get with GitHub’s Free plan, and when to consider moving to the Team plan.

Kelsey: What is the most compelling feature of GitHub’s Free plan?

Erdem: GitHub’s Free plan provides everything you need for software development and is going to be a great fit for individuals, small teams, or open source projects. With the Free plan, you get access to:

  • Unlimited public and private repositories
  • Automatic security vulnerability updates
  • 2,000 CI/CD monthly minutes (either with GitHub Actions or a CI/CD tool of your choice)
  • Unmatched community-based support (83 million developers and counting)

A little known fact about the GitHub Free plan is that you have access to free public and private repositories with unlimited collaborators (often referred to as users on competing products).

GitHub doesn’t limit the number of users in your organization in your Free plan, so if your team starts to grow you won’t be forced to upgrade purely because of how many developers are using it.

Many medium and even larger teams are able to use the GitHub Free plan for their private and public repositories.

Kelsey: What’s the main difference between the Free plan and the Team plan?

Erdem: If your team is starting to grow or needs more advanced features, in addition to everything you get with the Free plan, the Team plan opens up access to feature like Codespaces, team review request, code owners protected branches, multi-reviewers, and draft pull requests–all for $4/month per seat. You’ll also gain access to web-based support with the Team plan. You can sign up for a free GitHub trial to experiment the GitHub experience for your teams. Compare all of GitHub’s features and plans.

Kelsey: What about GitHub Actions and Packages? Are those available on the Free plan?

Erdem: Yes, and this is certainly one of the most valuable aspects of the Free plan for teams. GitHub Actions are unlimited for public repositories and the Free plan also provides 2,000 minutes of Actions each month for use with your private projects. We find that this is a good amount of Actions minutes for your team to get started with native automation of all your software workflows with CI/CD, so they can keep their focus on the code that will help your team grow. If you need more Actions minutes, you can also easily manage or add minutes in the billing settings page under the payment information tab in your account.

As you grow and move up to the Team plan, you get access to a greater number of build runners. This increased concurrency means your team never has to wait for a free server to run your build on. Don’t forget that all plans have instant, always-on access to our massive pool of Linux, Windows, and Mac servers which means you can build in the cloud instantly and not have to manage any of those machines. Our data centers are 100% carbon neutral as well, meaning your environmental footprint is much lower than we typically see from self-hosted build labs.

All public repositories on the Free plan get access to 500MB of Packages storage. You can host your own software packages or use them to share dependencies with other projects. Both public and private hosting is available. Just like with Actions, you can manage this storage amount directly in your account if you ever need to make changes.

Kelsey: What type of security features are available on the Free plan?

Erdem: The Free plan automatically opens pull requests that update vulnerable dependencies to secure versions, and update out-of-date dependencies. For teams that have higher security requirements, our Enterprise plan offers our most comprehensive security offering, GitHub Advanced Security, as an add-on. If you’re interested in learning more, read our security guide, and try out a free trial of GitHub Enterprise Cloud.

Kelsey: When should a team consider moving to the Enterprise plan?

Erdem: GitHub Enterprise is for organizations that need more granular controls and a complete developer platform covering advanced collaboration, security, CI/CD, and more. Read a full breakdown of GitHub’s enterprise offering.

Ready to get started?

Sign up for a free trial to check out all the features. Or, jump straight to the Free plan and start building now!

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