Secretive type? GitHub unveils free private repositories for all

If you always wanted to keep your tinkering repos private but couldn’t be bothered to either switch to GitLab or pay, you’re in luck: Repository hosting service GitHub just announced unlimited free private repositories for all.

You can even work on your next big thing (in private, for free) with up to three collaborators.

Nothing changes for public repositories, and there always was the option of paying $7 a month to get the GitHub Developer status with private repos, but since alternatives such as GitLab and BitBucket offer this feature for free, the change might lead some to reconsider their choices for new projects. GitLab’s Sid Sijbrandij even grabbed the marketing opportunity to write a whole blog post on how his project might have contributed to the step.

Trying to make sense of it all while looking ahead he predicted that “Microsoft will try to generate more revenue with people using Azure more instead of paying for repos.” Microsoft’s purchase of GitHub in 2018 came as a surprise to many and left developers wondering, whether staying with the, let’s face it, staple product might be the right choice under the new owners.


To switch a project’s status to private, you simply open its repository, click the settings tab, scroll down to the “Danger Zone” and push the “Make private” button (first item on the list). GitHub will warn you about losing stars and watchers in the process, and will even make you consider a plan upgrade so that you’ll still have access to wikis and metrics, but if it’s all the same to you just go ahead and the repo is private.

GitHub Developer by the way isn’t anymore: with the announcement, the individual plans have been renamed to Free and Pro, the difference between the two being the fee (still seven bucks), unlimited collaborators, and the advanced code review tools.

Organisations shouldn’t feel left out amidst all those changes, as there’s something new to get used to for everyone: GitHub Business Cloud is now called Enterprise Cloud, while GitHub Enterprise has become Enterprise Server. Confusingly enough, both are now unified under the GitHub Enterprise banner, but the good thing is, that users can access the cloud and self-hosted configuration once signed up and connect the two via GitHub Connect.

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