|Free||self-managed and SaaS||open source||unpaid|
|Premium||self-managed and SaaS||source-available||paid|
|Ultimate||self-managed and SaaS||source-available||paid|
In general each of the self-managed tiers match the features in the GitLab SaaS tiers. They have different names for two reasons:
When we need to specify which tier includes a particular feature using only one word (for example on our issue tracker), we reference the self-managed tiers by default because they tend to contain a superset of the GitLab SaaS tier features. Where we can, we highlight both the self-managed and the GitLab SaaS tiers (like in a release post).
When discussing their work, open source communities typically use the words "gratis" and "libre" instead of the word "free" to describe the nature of the software they create. This is because the English word "free" is an ambiguous word that can have several meanings: "no cost" ("free as in beer"), "with few or no restrictions" ("free as in speech"), or both. Open source communities therefore prefer to use the unambiguous term "gratis" when referring to "no cost" software and the term "libre" when refer to software "with few or no restrictions." Open source software is "libre" in that anyone is "free" to inspect, modify, and redistribute it. But open source software may or may not be "gratis."
We call the multi-tenant GitLab SaaS (with the G and L capitalized) since it is unambiguous and common. We don't call it GitLab Cloud since most self-managed instances of GitLab are hosted in the cloud as well, and if we introduce single tenant instances it will be even more confusing.
GitLab SaaS subscriptions are added to either a personal namespace or a group namespace. Personal subscriptions apply to a single user while Group subscriptions apply to all users in the Group.
Historically, GitLab was provided as two different software distributions, each with their own separate source code repository and documentation: Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE). As of GitLab version 12.3, released on 2020-09-22, GitLab moved to a single code base.
The "CE" and "EE" names referred to the actual software packages that were downloaded and installed. Today, the single distribution is referred to as the "Official Linux package".
For a period of time, GitLab pricing tiers also used "CE" and "EE". When the free, self-managed tier was changed from "CE" to "Free", it led to this dynamic:
Free users could use either one of two distributions: Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE). Enterprise Edition can be downloaded, installed, and run without a commercial subscription. In this case it runs using the open source license and only has access to the open source features. In effect, EE without a subscription, and CE, have the exact same functionality.
Premium, and Ultimate users could only use Enterprise Edition.
If a Free user was running CE and wanted to upgrade to a paid tier, they had to re-install and migrate to EE. The advantage of using EE as a Free user is that it is much easier to upgrade to a commercial subscription later on. All that's needed is to install a license key to access more features vs needing to re-install a different distribution. Today, GitLab's single distribution maintains these advantages.
See the Tier Messaging section for how to talk about GitLab, distributions, versions, tiers, pricing, and licenses.
Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE) refer to software distributions of GitLab. We used to encourage customers to use the EE distribution since it provided the least painful upgrade path if/when users discovered they needed commercial features. If you aren't talking specifically about the distribution packages, then don't use these terms, you are probably using them incorrectly.
Users can be on the EE distribution for free. Distribution doesn't imply if a user is a customer or not.
1. Say "users" when you mean all users - paid and unpaid. 1. Say "customers" when you mean paid users. 1. Say "Free users" when you mean unpaid users.
❌ Incorrect: "Let's run a marketing campaign to encourage CE users to upgrade to a paid tier."
✅ Correct: "Let's run a marketing campaign to encourage Free users to upgrade to a paid tier."
GitLab has 3 tiers: Free, Premium, and Ultimate. Distribution doesn't imply which tier a user is on.
1. Say the "Free" when you mean the $0 tier. 1. Say "Open source" when you mean features in the $0 tier. 1. Say "Premium" or "Ultimate" to refer to those tiers. 1. Optionally, say "GitLab Free," "GitLab Premium," or "GitLab Ultimate" when you want to refer to a pricing tier. 1. Say "commercial tier" when you mean any paid tier.
❌ Incorrect: "Let's move this feature to CE."
✅ Correct: "Let's open source this feature."
✅ Correct: "Let's move this feature from Ultimate to Free."
NOTE: Talking about "open sourcing a feature" is highly preferred to saying we want to "move a feature to Free." Open source calls attention to the fact that not only is the feature available for $0 now, it's also available for open community contribution in our MIT licensed codebase. "Free" only calls attention to the $0 price without highlighting our open source community.
The trial allows users to have access to all of the features of GitLab Ultimate. Users on the Free plans (self-managed and SaaS) plans get access to a limited set of features for an unlimited amount of time. Trial users get access to a full set of features for a limited amount of time (30-days).
|License type||Features||Time Period|
|Free||Limited (Open source features only)||unlimited|
|Trial||Unlimited (access to all Ultimate features)||limited (30 days)|
GitLab is an open-core product that contains both open-source and source-available code. The source-available code is proprietary (so not open-source) but you can view the source code. Please don't use CE, EE, or Free to refer to the type of license since:
When talking to customers, always use language that they are familiar with. They will likely not be familiar with terms we use internally as a company, it is important to use the customer’s language when you are talking to the customer to maximize understanding.
The themes hierarchy is designed to communicate the value of GitLab paid features to customers.
GitLab" alone unless you are referring to the company or an attribute that applies to both
GitLab SaaS. If talking about an attribute that only applies to one delivery method but not the other, then specify (e.g. "GitLab SaaS does X" or "GitLab Self-managed does X").
GitLab SaaSwhen you are referencing something that is unique to that delivery method (e.g. a security bug that only affects GitLab SaaS).
GitLabalone to refer to Ultimate. "GitLab does X" means, "GitLab Ultimate does X".
GitLabby itself when you really mean a specific, e.g. specify
GitLab Freeif you are referring to the free self-managed tier.
Distinguish our $0 tiers from our paid tiers, by talking about our "open source" offerings and our "commercial" offerings.
For example, "I see that today you are using GitLab Free, I'd love to set up a call to discuss the value your business can get by upgrading from our open source offering to a commercial tier." (You could write the same sentence and use "paid" instead of "commercial" but that puts the focus on what they have to do, i.e. pay, instead of what they get, i.e. business-grade, commercial software.)
Use the terms "open source" and "source-available" to talk about our different license models.
Don't use CE and EE to refer to a specific code.
MIT Licensed (code is open source) and
Proprietary (code is source-available) refer to code. Both CE and EE distributions include MIT licensing.
Enterprise Premium, or
Enterprise Edition Starter,
Enterprise Edition Premium,
Enterprise Edition Ultimate,
EEU. These have all been deprecated.
GitLab FOSS is neither a tier, nor a distribution. It is a repository.