A new Zulip plan for self-hosting without commercial support

Tim Abbott 4 min read

On Friday last week, we announced Zulip 8.0 and some big pricing changes for Zulip’s self-hosted customers.

In response to feedback from our user community, today we are adding a new Basic plan for self-hosted Zulip installations. The Basic plan is priced at $3.50/user/month, and includes unlimited access to mobile push notifications. It does not include commercial support, which still requires purchasing a Business or Enterprise plan.

In addition, we are offering a discount of $20/month for the first year on a Zulip Basic or Zulip Business plan, to make the transition to a paid plan easier for smaller organizations with limited resources. For example, for the first year on the Basic plan, a company would pay $1.83/user/month with 12 users, $2.70/user/month with 25 users, or $3/user/month with 40 users.

The Free (self-managed) and Community plans remain free of charge.

What we heard

First, I’d like to thank our user community for the respectful and thoughtful way folks have responded to the changes announced last week. Almost everyone expressed appreciation for our work and an earnest desire to pitch in financially to help Zulip thrive.

But many longtime fans have told us that while they love Zulip, financial or organizational constraints in their company make it impossible for them to pay $6.67/user/month for Zulip Business.

Others expressed that having to purchase a bundle that includes both push notifications and commercial support just doesn’t feel right to them. They commented that it had always felt like self hosting was treated as a first class citizen in Zulip, and having the pricing match Zulip Cloud Standard undermined that.

They are right: self-hosting is a first-class citizen in Zulip, yet this was not reflected in the plan structure that we announced on Friday.

Our response

Over the weekend and today, we’ve been discussing how to do better. We care deeply about making Zulip as broadly accessible as possible. This is why we have been providing extensive documentation, friendly community support, and free push notifications to self-hosted organizations for many years. We are also offering a free Community plan, and sponsoring hundreds of non-commercial organizations on Zulip Cloud.

But we cannot continue offering the Mobile Push Notification Service for free to everyone — we need the support of businesses that self-host Zulip in order to thrive as an independent, 100% open-source project.

The new Basic plan is designed to offer businesses more affordable access to the Mobile Push Notification Service when they have the time and expertise to maintain their Zulip installation on their own. The Business plan remains available for customers who want commercial support.

I apologize for the stress and disappointment that we caused to many of our advocates by making Friday’s announcement without including the Basic plan option. Ultimately, it’s my error in paying too much attention to what other commercial open-source projects do, and too little to my heart, my vision for Zulip, and my understanding of our user community.

Please keep reaching out

Situations vary widely, and we understand that not every business that is using Zulip will be able to afford the Basic plan.

If you need mobile notifications but purchasing a Zulip Basic subscription would be a burden for your organization for any reason, please contact us at, and we’ll do our very best to help. A guiding principle for us in these conversations is that every organization should be able to use Zulip at a price that it can afford.

On a final note, thank you to everyone who wrote in over the last few days to urge us to make these changes. I can’t express enough gratitude for your efforts.

—Tim Abbott, for the Zulip team