After GitHub hiked its prices last May, many users who were negatively impacted by the changes took a second look at competitors like Bitbucket and GitLab. GitHub switched from per-repository to per-user pricing, requiring organizations to purchase a seat for each user at $9 per user/month. This was a drastic increase when compared to the legacy plans that started at $25/month for 10 repositories and unlimited members.
This week Bitbucket announced new features to help customers scale in the cloud, including Bitbucket Pipeline (build, test, and deploy from Bitbucket) and Git Large Files Storage (stores large files externally to keep Git repositories lightweight). Atlassian, the company behind Bitbucket, tacked a pricing change on at the end of the post under the heading “Pay only for what you need with per user pricing.”
Bitbucket will still offer unlimited private repositories, but it is changing user pricing from a groups model (i.e. 10 for $10, 25 for $25, etc) to a per-user model based on the number of users with access to the private repository. The announcement puts an odd spin on the pricing change, masking the fact that nearly 100% of its customers will be paying more, and in many cases double what they did before:
Most companies use SaaS so they can scale easily in the cloud and pay only for what they use. In our current model, unless you have exactly 10, 25, 50 or 100 users, you can end up paying for seats you don’t use. In the new pricing model (price-per-user) you only pay for the users who are actually part of your team. The Standard plan includes the Bitbucket you love at $2/user/month. The Premium plan at $5/user/month is for teams that require granular admin controls, security and auditing. Bitbucket Cloud will still be free for small teams of up to 5 users.
Customers replied that they expect pricing increases but don’t appreciate the company making it sound like they will be saving money.
I expect price increases at times. Compared to JIRA Bb was a steal. Just don't make it sound like we'll save money.
— Matt Sollars (@ventaur) October 12, 2016
Although Bitbucket’s pricing change amounts to roughly a 100% increase for most customers, it is still significantly more affordable than GitHub’s upcoming pricing structure. Atlassian plans to put the new pricing into effect in early 2017 and promises to give customers at least 30 days notice before rolling out the new model.