« Blog Home

Coming Soon: Changes to CI/CD in GitLab Cloud Free

gitlab ci runners

Yesterday GitLab announced that effective next month (October 2020) they will reduce the limit of free CI/CD minutes.

As you know, GitLab Cloud (Gitlab.com) provides shared CI/CD runners, i.e. virtual machines on which you can run your build, test and other jobs. For example, we at ALM-Toolbox use them to run programs, which regularly create Excel files with all/new GitLab features (see here).

Until now, users of the Gitlab.com free tier could use shared CI/CD runners for up to 2,000 min. per month. Starting October 1, that number goes down to 400 min.

The monthly CI/CD minutes limit for the paid tiers will not change as you can see from this table:

Tier Free Bronze Silver Gold
CI/CD Minutes 400 2,000 10,000 50,000

GitLab explained the rationale of this change as follows:

After analyzing the usage of the free CI/CD minutes and discovered that 98.5% of users do not exceeded 400 minutes per month. Therefore GitLab wants to save money and resources on account of the 1.5% who intensively use free CI/CD minutes.

Although the service (beyond the first 400 min. a month) will start costing money, the price relative to the added value is not high. Moreover, as a result of the new limit, the total load on the shared runners is expected to go down, which means that the CI/CD jobs will run faster and users will get more value for their minutes.

I need more CI/CD minutes. What shall I do?

There are two options:

  1. Move on to a paid tier which gives you enough minutes (see the table above).
  2. Buy additional minutes. Note that each purchase is per group or a private namespace. The price is $10 per 1,000 min. You can purchase CI/CD minutes through our company (one of the advantages is that you won’t need to provide your credit card details).

Don’t want to pay? Want to save money?

There are many ways to reduce your usage of GitLab CI/CD minutes:

  • You can set up private runners and get freed of the need to count minutes.
  • You might be able to reduce the frequency of CI/CD runs or run different pipelines for different branches. All that can be done using “only/except” and “rules” conditions in your CI/CD configuration file.
  • You can run your CI/CD pipelines manually.
  • You can schedule your CI/CD pipelines to run at less frequent, fixed intervals , for example – once a day or once a week.

And so on…

We at ALM-Toolbox can help you to optimize your pipelines. That may also help you to shorten the CI time and make your feedback loop faster. Contact us for details (see the info below).

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are additionally purchased CI/CD minutes per month or without time limit?

No, it is a one time purchase. The purchased minutes are yours for one year. Since the cost is very low, it is worth estimating in advance how much you will need for a time period (e.g., a year) and buy the minutes accordingly.

Does the use of my private runners have an effect on my GitLab CI minutes?


Is it possible to monitor the number of used and remaining minutes?

Yes, there are suitable API calls. You can also connect to your existing monitoring system, to connect to Prometheus, etc. (If you need additional help, you can contact us, and we can set up monitoring suitable for your needs).

Can I use shared runners provided by GitLab from a self-hosted GitLab server?

Currently no, maybe in the future.

If my network is closed, can I use shared runners provided by GitLab?

No. However in your network you can install private GitLab CI runners and share them between all projects on your self-hosted GitLab server.

ALM-Toolbox company is a GitLab Premier Partner and provides git/GitLab consulting, licenses, training and private hosting.
Contact us for any questions: gitlab@almtoolbox.com or 866-503-1471 (USA / Canada) or +972-7244-405-222 (International)

Related links: