Blog Company GitHub now offers free private repos for up to three collaborators – here are our thoughts
Published on: January 7, 2019
4 min read

GitHub now offers free private repos for up to three collaborators – here are our thoughts

GitLab's CEO reflects on this move and what it means for the software development space.

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GitHub just launched free private repos with up to three collaborators. I like to think that increased competition from us (GitLab) contributed to this change – as one Hacker News commenter stated, "Thank you GitLab for providing market competition forcing GitHub to consider this!"

Some history

When we originally announced I made the main point that it would have private repos for free. I think it is great for beginner users that private repos on GitHub are now free. If you're starting to program and aren't ready to share your code with the world yet, you don't have to have a paid account to keep it private.

At the time, I was very disappointed to learn that already offered the same. GitLab took off despite that and recently surpassed 10 million projects and in the top dev tools ranking of Axosoft GitLab climbed the ranks 4 spots and overtook GitHub for the first year.

Looking ahead

At GitLab we think that repositories will become a commodity. I think Microsoft will try to generate more revenue with people using Azure more instead of paying for repos. We're focusing on making a single application for the entire DevOps lifecycle that can replace a lot of other tools. Or, as Stavros Korokithakis phrased it: "My move to GitLab was basically 'Come for the free repos, stay for the rest of the amazing features.' I will not be moving off it, and my new repos will keep being on GitLab."

We think the long-term trend is multi-cloud and we'll keep shipping with our 2,200 other contributors to make this a reality.

In the meantime, here are some more details of our current GitLab free private repository offering vs GitHub's:

Free functionality GitLab GitHub
Private repositories Yes Yes
Number of collaborators Unlimited 3
Wiki Yes No (public or paid only)
Pages Yes No (public or paid only)
Capacity 10GB 1GB
Indicates who is paying No Yes
Free CI 2,000 min. Maybe a free tier for Actions on Azure
Entire DevOps lifecycle Yes No
Location of the repo Anywhere Not in groups/orgs
API concurrent rate limit 36000 5000

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