back to article GitLab removes its 'starter' tier: Users must either pay 5x more or lose features

Cloudy DevOps company GitLab has removed its $4.00 user/month Bronze/Starter tier, giving users the choice between paying for Premium at $19.00 or downgrading to the free tier and losing some features. GitLab CEO and co-founder Sid Sijbrandij said yesterday: "The Bronze/Starter tier does not meet the hurdle rate that GitLab …

  1. heyrick Silver badge

    Everybody is doing it

    Not making enough cash? Bump up the price.

    I recently read that Netflix is upping its price too, and you'd have thought that with the many various lockdowns they'd be having their "best year ever".

    Can't help but think it's short term greed because nobody is interested in the long game these days.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Everybody is doing it

      But at least Netflix is rolling out new movies and shows (it's now one the largest production companies in the world,)

      And remember this is not a price rise. It's an symbiotic enhancement of converging yet parallel synergies.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Netflix

        "But at least Netflix is rolling out new movies and shows"

        But I don't care, not one shiate, about series television or Netflix' (equivalent of) Made for TV movies.

        I want mainstream movie releases.

        And ever since they insisted (from my perspective) of forcing their own productions down everyone throat, their theatre movie selection sucks bawls.

        I've stopped watching. The only reason I've maintained my Netflix subscription is that my SO watches...but oh boy, do I want to tell them to go stuff themselves with their price increases and cancel my service. And if I can (finish) talking my SO into it...they're gone. So very, very gone.

        1. just_some_dude

          Re: Netflix

          What do you mean by "mainstream"? I'd say Nextflix productions are thouroughly mainstream at this point given all Oscars they are winning.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: mainstream

            NO. When I joined Netflix the ONLY products they offered were streamed mainstream, from-the-theatre Hollywood releases.

            NOW they offer almost NO new Hollywood releases, doing their own productions, yet expect me to not only maintain my membership but to pay MORE for them.

            That. Is. NOT. What. I. Signed. Up. For.

            THEY have fundamentally changed the nature of the service, actually reducing the products that I initially agreed to, yet charge me more whilst offering me less than the original agreement.

            I discontinued cable TV for a reason: I do not WANT to watch series television. I consider it utter shiate, with writing utterly compromised by the desire to maintain an ongoing paycheck regardless of what they do to the plot or the characters in order to continue the gravy train of ongoing production. I signed up for streaming to get MOVIES. NOT MORE TV UNDER A DIFFERENT NAMEPLATE.

            1. just_some_dude

              Re: mainstream

              As I understand it, a lot of that has to do with major studios (as in traditional Hollywood ones, Netflix is a major itself now) refusing to license to Nexflix. Lots of people have come to prefer at home streaming over the theater experience, which doesn't really fit in to the major studios' desired business models. Now the studios want to you either go to a theater, purchase/rent streaming rights for movies individually, or subscribe to their own services.

              Anyways, the outcome is the same: Netflix doesn't offer the titles you want. So, sure, by all means cancel them, but I don't expect you'll ever again see a reasonable priced streaming service that will allow all-you-can-watch content across a wide range of major studio productions. A large reason for that is the Hollywood studios themselves don't want you to have that.

              1. cyberdemon Silver badge

                Re: mainstream

                I know somewhere that DOES offer all the titles you want in one place, no tracking every millisecond you spend looking at each title before it autoplays in your face, no surreptitiously nudging you to watch what someone wants you to watch, no bullshit.

                I wish that studios could just have a bitcoin address or something, so that I could get what I want AND pay for it.

            2. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: mainstream

              It sounds like you've forgotten what happened last year.

              There aren't any new "mainstream Hollywood" releases. It doesn't matter whether Netflix want them or not!

              Blockbuster movies that are ready for release are being held back until cinemas reopen, and those that weren't fully shot by end of August 2020 (or so) are paused, and won't restart shooting until sometime in 2021.

              The exception is Disney, who are clearly not going to let Netflix have anything when they can put it on Disney+.

              This is the way.

            3. JDX Gold badge

              Re: mainstream

              >That. Is. NOT. What. I. Signed. Up. For.

              Then. Leave. You. Self-entitled. Idiot.

              You can cancel or pause your subscription at any time. You're telling us you've been paying year after year for something you don't want, based on some "agreement" that is entirely in your head. What a chump.

        2. Kane Silver badge

          Re: Netflix

          "The only reason I've maintained my Netflix subscription is that my SO watches"

          So, tell your SO to pay for their own subscription? Problem solved?

    2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Everybody is doing it

      > Can't help but think it's short term greed because nobody is interested in the long game these days.

      It's the Internet - there is no long game. Your lunch can eaten at any time.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Everybody is doing it

      Netflix has for years had negative cashflow: it has borrowed massively to produce content and build out the network. 2020 looks like being the first year with positive cashflow and share buybacks have already been mentioned.

    4. TVU

      Re: Everybody is doing it

      'Can't help but think it's short term greed because nobody is interested in the long game these days'

      Indeed, and this was both a surprising and unfortunate move by GitLab. I could understand raising the price of the Bronze starter tier by a couple of dollars a month but to axe it entire comes across as excessive profiteering, presumably to make it more profitable and valuable in advance of an open public share offering.

      Apparently, 'alternatives to gitlab' is a popular search term right now on Google.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Everybody is doing it

        >"Indeed, and this was both a surprising and unfortunate move by GitLab. I could understand raising the price of the Bronze starter tier"

        What is surprising is they are keeping the free tier and seem to want more people to use it. Don't see how this (maintaining the free tier) is going to make GitLab appear to be more profitable...

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Everybody is doing it

          They are keeping the free tier for now.

  2. Trollslayer

    At least with Netflix it is easy to cancel.

    Yes Amazon, you.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Never tried cancelling Netflix (my current "stuff to watch" list is likely longer than my remaining lifespan), but at least Netflix don't bug you to subscribe to them every time you look for a video in Google... Which is sort of the equivalent of how much Amazon bugs you to join Prime (I have, and from time to time they still bug me about the benefits of Prime membership...dunces).

    2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      The main thing I like about Netflix compared to, say, Amazon is that once you paid, everything you see is available without extra pay.

      1. The Boojum
        Paris Hilton

        Agreed. I would need to be paid far more than £4.99 a month to watch The Kardashians on Prime.

        Oh! You mean...

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Um, how is it hard to cancel Amazon?

      1. nematoad Silver badge

        Judging by my personal experience. Bloody difficult.

        In the end it took me several calls to their user centre to ask them to flag my account so that I never, ever get enrolled in Prime again. Personally I will not use Amazon for anything but I do from time to time get stuff for my sister and getting stuck with Prime each time I did was beginning to irritate.

        I have no idea if I have freed myself from their grasp as I have not had to make any purchases from them since my last request.

        Good luck.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          I think I just clicked the button.

  3. alain williams Silver badge

    Self host git

    It isn't really that hard and if you have more than a few users then the sysadmin/hosting costs will be quickly repaid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Self host git

      Definitely - it's a shame that people seem to be reverting to their old "ignore the OpenSource solutions" ways and falling for Freemium scams...

      Free as in Freedom, not as in Beer.

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Self host git

      I think you're underestimating this significantly, and oversimplifying.

      Yes it's fairly trivial to host git yourself, but if you're using Gitlab it _probably_ isn't just about the repos themselves.

      Just like on Github, you've got

      - Issue tracking

      - Release management

      - Merge/Pull request tracking (and/or approval)

      - Continuous Integration pipelines

      - Integrated per-project wiki

      - The ability for non-techie managers to add a user (so they can edit a wiki, report issues, whatever)

      - A bunch of other things

      Sure, you can find solutions to stand each of those up - even running something like Gerrit if you want, but it's a lot less trivial than

      - Download gitlab

      - Run gitlab

      And switching to alternatives is even harder once you're in and established on Gitlab, because you're going to have to migrate that data somewhere.

      Gitlab as a product is actually quite nice, but the approach of Gitlab (the company) has always left a bit to be desired. It's also a bit too locky-in for my tastes too.

      1. RLWatkins

        Re: Self host git

        Most of us don't *need* most of that.

        And for those who do, there are a host of free solutions which can run, self-hosted, right alongside a self-hosted instance of git.

      2. sitta_europea Silver badge

        Just like on Github

        "...Just like on Github, you've got..."

        Yeah, and you've got the little greyed-out button that you want to click, but you can't because it's greyed out, and you have to run a 200 MByte download to make a ten-character edit in a text file.

        Thanks, but no thanks.

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Self host git

      If all you want from Gitlab is hosting git repositories, you could self host, use the free tier, or run the open source version on prem. Gitlab is not about hosting git repos, its about the SDLC (software development life cycle). It's a docker registry, a terraform state storage system, a package registry, it runs CI/CD pipelines, and measures and monitors code quality, test results and security scanning. It does project management, managing bugs, epics, deadlines, project planning..

      FWIW, we're affected - we're a 300 seat bronze level subscriber. It won't be fun to either pay an extra $4500 a month, nor re-implement all of that stuff..

      1. tekHedd

        Re: Self host git

        And that's just the thing. $4500/mo will pay for an awful lot of DIY.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Self host git

          Really doesn't, that's like half an engineer's wage. Add in the capex/opex on the equipment you'll need to run all these services yourself, it's probably more like 20-25%. Spread that across the software developers making things and SRE/infrastructure team keeping things running, it gives you maybe 25 developer days of getting things setup and integrated, and 20 engineer days of making operational changes.

          1. Mark 65

            Re: Self host git

            and for that 300 seat subscriber the price hike is designed to be painful (and profitable) without being so painful they disappear elsewhere. You'd hope they'd have done the calculations to work out what they could and couldn't charge based on the data they have access to regarding how captive you are - number of seats, number of active seats, frequency of use, data volumes etc. If you're priced out and leave my guess is that they've calculated you're not the sort of customer they want.

  4. Julz Silver badge



  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kind of a shame

    I have a lowest paid tier account paid through my company. I neither need nor use the paid features, it was just a way to show support.

    For that I could justify £50 a year but hardly £250.

    Even if it's with less features, I reckon they really want a €5 tier.

    1. mahan

      Re: Kind of a shame

      I registered to support this motion: My company only paid GitLab bronze as a kind of 'thank you for providing this service', not using any features above free tier.

      We didn't even register at their support site until yesterday, so basically giving them free money.

      Anyways we have already migrated (to an own-hosted Gitea repo) during this Friday.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kind of a shame

        This is very weird. I had posted a comment mentioning Gitea (and, a non-profit Gitea host) in reply to someone's post a few days ago but my comment was censored. I have no idea why.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge


          It's because your comment was HTML-gore. Our publishing system escaped all the code so it looked like a horrendous mess. If you want to link to something, just paste the URL as is, ta.


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Rejected

            Thanks. I had tested it using the preview button and it came out as intended so I assumed that was the way to link to stuff.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Putting the Git into Gitlab

    (see title)

  7. wolfetone Silver badge

    As a Free tier user, I'd like to thank those of you paying for GitLab so I don't have to.

    Have a free picture of a beer as a token of my appreciation.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Well played.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Existing customers with up to 25 users can renew for one more year at the existing $4.00 rate, or get a free upgrade to Premium along with a staggered discount at the next renewal: $6.00 on year 1, $9.00 year 2 and $15.00 for year 3. Larger customers get the mystery "contact your sales rep" treatment.

    This looks like an MBA had a lot of fun coming up with it. Not very useful for customers.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      This looks like an MBA had a lot of fun coming up with it. Not very useful for customers.

      MBA just wants this on their resume. Next stop Oracle

  9. Tom Chiverton 1

    Is there a simple list anywhere of what is going away to the higher cost tiers?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Cloud...

    Other peoples computers you have no control over.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: The Cloud...

      Other peoples business (and pricing) models you have no control over.

  11. Norman Nescio

    Github --> Gitlab --> ?

    It's a shame, especially as there is a vocal group within the FLOSS ecosystem that have a visceral hatred of anything to do with Microsoft and have been migrating (and campaigning to migrate) projects off GitHub to somewhere not tainted by Microsoft. I don't know what the next best choice from that point of view is.

    As pointed out by other commentators in this thread, once you move things into 'the cloud' (i.e. using other people's services on other people's computers), you have a tendency to lose control over your fate. Sometimes, it can be the right decision: the services available to small businesses can seem almost magical when compared to trying to do the same yourself - but if your business is dependant on somebody else's profit margin, you are in a vulnerable position.

    It is an MBA's dream to lock in customers so that they find it very difficult to move elsewhere. A lot of services are deliberately designed to do just that: once the transition costs of moving get significantly painful, people choose the lesser pain of staying and enduring 'reasonable' price increases.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge

      Re: Github --> Gitlab --> ?

      It seems sacrilegious to say it but Gitlab is making Github look better and better.

    2. Andy Denton

      Re: Github --> Gitlab --> ?

      If you make a business or strategic decision based out of some irrational hatred of a related company, then quite frankly, you deserve all you get.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Github --> Gitlab --> ?

        You are assuming that the caution (not "hatred") is irrational. Why is that?

        1. Andy Denton

          Re: Github --> Gitlab --> ?

          OP mentioned "visceral hatred". Such hatred is irrational.

          The irony is rich here. MS acquires GitHub, some people then (at a fair amount of disruption) jump ship to GitLab who then decide to indulge in the practices that these people feared Microsoft would employ at GitHub which has actually increased the benefits of its free offering under Microsoft's stewardship.

  12. anothercynic Silver badge

    Oh well...

    ... bye bye Gitlab.

    And here people thought fleeing to them from Github was a good idea. Dunno about that.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GitLab is full of hack leaders and managers

    GitLab is a complete joke of a company. VCs have Sid on a leash, and he'll jump any direction they tell him to and drag the company along with it. They went on this huge hiring spree, on a race to break 1000 employees because... well because. Some VC told them they needed 1000 employees. Their product roadmap is made up as they go along under the guise of Minimum Viable Product which amounts to throwing half-baked shit at the wall, praying it sticks, then moving on to the next half-baked project. I'd say a majority of the people in the company add no value, meaning you have to pull shenanigans like jacking your price up for loyal customers by 5x because you have no idea how to use cash to maximize return. Somehow there's this mythology inside of the company that they're on a rocket ship, with leadership clueless to the idea that burning money is a metaphor and not a business plan. Don't get me started at how much shit they make women in that company eat. They have some real talent that has to duck and weave around all the dick waving that goes on around there. Well, they did have real talent. All the people I thought were great wound up being driven away. I got the email telling women on the sales team to wear skirts to the sales retreat and I started planning my exit. If I were a betting person, I'd wager massive layoffs in the company mid-2021. Even the DELL/HP/IBM-sourced dipshits in the group I worked for saw the writing on the wall and have started jumping ship.

    1. jgard

      Re: GitLab is full of hack leaders and managers

      .... 'and he'll jump any direction they tell him'. Surely you meant to say hurdle?

      1. jgard

        Re: GitLab is full of hack leaders and managers

        Oh, and if genuine, that email about skirt wearing is utterly fucking appaling! That's reason enough to stop paying them, the creepy, paternalistic twats. Is that actually legal? Surely - unless you live in Mauritania, or the 1840s - that would contavene equalities legislation?

        What's next, mandatory high heels and lipstick? Thongs on Friday? Birth control banned on company health insurance?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GitLab is full of hack leaders and managers

      > GitLab is a complete joke of a company. VCs have Sid on a leash, and he'll jump any direction they tell him to and drag the company along with it

      Isn't that precisely how all ventured capital funded IT companies work? In the one case I know first hand, the founder and (unusually, though this is in Europe) majority owner of one such company refuses to even go anywhere near their offices. He just doesn't understand why they have so many important-looking people in suits buzzing around. As far as he is concerned, if you are neither a developer nor a hardware engineer, your serve no purpose in an IT company. Well, he tolerates salesmen, as long as they're kept on a short leash.

      I am convinced that this is why Brin and Page have disappeared off the map.

      In any case, thank you for an interesting comment.

  14. JDX Gold badge

    Maybe GitLAb is only interested in commercial users not tiny little companies. Maybe they actively WANT you to leave for another provider, and are not expecting you to pay 5X more. Like when a builder doesn't want to take a job and quotes an outrageous fee so you will not accept.

  15. eldakka Silver badge

    GitLab seem to be channeling AT&T's cable pricing strategy. Look how well it's turnd out for them...

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