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Free user limit

DETAILS: Tier: Free, Premium, Ultimate Offering: SaaS

A five-user limit applies to newly created top-level namespaces with private visibility on GitLab SaaS. For existing namespaces created before December 28, 2022, the limit was applied on June 13, 2023.

When the five-user limit is applied, top-level private namespaces exceeding the user limit are placed in a read-only state. These namespaces cannot write new data to repositories, Git Large File Storage (LFS), packages, or registries. For the full list of restricted actions, see Read-only namespaces.

In the Free tier of GitLab SaaS, user limits do not apply to users in:

  • Public top-level groups
  • Paid tiers
  • Self-managed Free tier
  • Community programs:
    • GitLab for Open Source
    • GitLab for Education
    • GitLab for Startups users

NOTE: Personal namespaces are public by default and are excluded from the user limit.

Determining namespace user counts

Every unique user of a top-level namespace with private visibility counts towards the five-user limit. This includes every user of a group, subgroup, and project within a namespace.

For example:

The group example-1 has:

  • One group owner, A.
  • One subgroup called subgroup-1 with one member, B.
    • subgroup-1 inherits A as a member from example-1.
  • One project in subgroup-1 called project-1 with two members, C and D.
    • project-1 inherits A and B as members from subgroup-1.

The namespace example-1 has four unique members: A, B, C, and D. Because example-1 has only four unique members, it is not impacted by the five-user limit.

The group example-2 has:

  • One group owner, A.
  • One subgroup called subgroup-2 with one member, B.
    • subgroup-2 inherits A as a member from example-2.
  • One project in subgroup-2 called project-2a with two members, C and D.
    • project-2a inherits A and B as members from subgroup-2.
  • One project in subgroup-2 called project-2b with two members, E and F.
    • project-2b inherits A and B as members from subgroup-2.

The namespace example-2 has six unique members: A, B, C, D, E, and F. Because example-2 has six unique users, it is impacted by the five-user limit.

Manage members in your group namespace

To help manage your Free user limit, you can view and manage the total number of members across all projects and groups in your namespace.


  • You must have the Owner role for the group.
  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your group.
  2. Select Settings > Usage Quotas.
  3. To view all members, select the Seats tab.
  4. To remove a member, select Remove user.

If you need more time to manage your members, or to try GitLab features with a team of more than five members, you can start a trial. A trial lasts for 30 days and includes an unlimited number of members.

Include a group in an organization's subscription

If there are multiple groups in your organization, they might have a combination of Paid and Free subscriptions. When a group with a Free subscription exceeds the user limit, their namespace becomes read-only.

To avoid user limits on groups with Free subscriptions, you can include them in your organization's subscription. To check if a group is included in the subscription, view the group's subscription details. If the group is on the Free tier, it is not included in your organization's subscription.

To include the group in your Paid subscription, transfer the group to your organization's top-level namespace.

NOTE: If you previously purchased a subscription and the 5-user limit was applied to a group, ensure that your subscription is linked to the correct top-level namespace, or that it has been linked to your Customers Portal account.

Impact on seat count by transferred groups

When you transfer a group, there might be an increase in your seat count, which could incur additional costs for your subscription.

For example, a company has Group A and Group B:

  • Group A is on a Paid tier and has five users.
  • Group B is on the Free tier and has eight users, four of which are members of Group A.
  • Group B is placed in a read-only state when it exceeds the user limit.
  • Group B is transferred to the company's subscription to remove the read-only state.
  • The company incurs an additional cost of four seats for the four members of Group B that are not members of Group A.

Users that are not part of the top-level namespace require additional seats to remain active. For more information, see Add seats to your subscription.

Increase the five-user limit

On the Free tier on GitLab SaaS, you cannot increase the limit of five users on top-level groups with private visibility.

For larger teams, you should upgrade to the Premium or Ultimate tier, which has no user limits and offers more features to increase team productivity. To experience the value of Paid features and unlimited users, you should start a free trial for GitLab Ultimate.

Manage members in personal projects outside a group namespace

Personal projects are not located in top-level group namespaces. You can manage the users in each of your personal projects, but you cannot have more than five users in all of your personal projects.

You should move your personal project to a group so that you can:

  • Increase the amount of users to more than five.
  • Purchase a paid tier subscription, additional compute minutes, or storage.
  • Use GitLab features in the group.
  • Start a trial.