We are seeing a significant spike in users across our GitLab accounts at the moment – and with that comes the issue of those costly True-ups. Today I’m going to be giving you as much as you need to know about True-ups: What are they? How much do they cost? What are they good for? How can I check if I owe one? And, most importantly, how can I avoid them?


What are True-ups???

True-ups are GitLab’s way of helping you be autonomous and unhindered by licence limitations. That’s the upside – the downside is they are expensive. Essentially GitLab allow you to go over your pre-purchased licence quota at any time. Let’s say you bought 70 premium licences in November last year and in May, you need to ramp up fast and end up using 85 premium licences. GitLab won’t stop you, and so they shouldn’t – when you need to ramp up, you ramp up. However, when November rolls around and you go to renew your licence – you will be hit with a True-up fee of 15 licences. Which means you have to backpay those licences for the entire year.


How much do True-ups cost???

True-ups are charged as full annual licences. So in the above example, your True-up of 15 licences will be back charged as 15 full 12-month premium licences – NOT 6-month licences which is all you used them for!!! So beware – with freedom comes responsibility! If you go over your pre-purchased amount, you own the full year’s worth.


What are True-ups good for???

True-ups provide you with the freedom to grow when growth happens. If you underestimated your usage forecast at the start of the year, no problem! If you need to ramp up fast, no problem! If you have a procurement process that doesn’t allow you to purchase new licences quickly, no problem! You are in control. Here’s their CEO: “With true-up pricing, the license is never blocking user growth”. But you pay the full year for each of your users whether they started using GitLab on day 1 or day 363.


How can I check if I owe a True-up???

Simply go to the Admin section of your GitLab instance and look for the three boxes titled: “Users In License”, “Maximum Users” and “Users over License”. The last one – “Users Over License” is the number of users who will be charged a True-up at your next renewal.


How can I avoid a True-up and ONLY pay for what I use???

Of course, you can avoid a True-up and proactively increase your user quantity mid licence. GitLab are NOT trying to rip you off – they are simply letting you be in control. If you need to go from 70 premium users to 85 premium users 6 months into your licence term, you can request a quote for an additional 15 users prorated until the end of the licence. Easy peasy. Simply contact your local GitLab reseller, ask to add additional users to your current licence. You will receive a quote for 15 premium users for 6 months and they will co-term with the rest of your licences.


Here are the steps you need to take right now:

  1. Check your “Users In License”, “Maximum Users” and “Users over License”.
  2. If your “Users over License” is anything other than zero, get in touch now and we can see if we can take measures to avoid cost $$$.
  3. If your “Maximum Users” is getting close to “Users In License”, be proactive and talk to the Dev team about usage forecasts.
  4. If you need to add users until the end of your licence – get in touch and we can provide a pro-rated quote for the user increase for the rest of your licence term.


Further reading on the GitLab website:




I hope that helps!