CircleCI pricing: What it costs + how to get a discount

Secure the best possible price on your CircleCI renewal or purchase

Aimee Manning | APR 11, 2023

7 min read

With a 4.4 star rating on G2 and a customer base that boasts the likes of Cisco, Peloton and HashiCorp, it comes as no surprise that CircleCI has been the tool of choice for millions of developers for more than a decade.

But while you’ll certainly be in good hands if you choose to purchase or renew CircleCI, as with any SaaS tool it’s important that you’re getting the right price — now more than ever thanks to rising SaaS costs, driven by soaring inflation rates.

So the question is, how much will it cost? And is it possible to reduce the price of a CircleCI subscription?

Let’s find out.

How much does CircleCI cost?

While CircleCI does offer some visibility into its pricing by indicating the starting cost of its paid cloud-based plans, the actual price you’ll end up paying will be entirely dependent on certain factors. These include:

  • The number of active monthly users
  • Your required compute time
  • Network and storage use
  • The amount of support you need

This essentially means there’s no one-size-fits-all cost. Instead, these plans have a starting price that include a limited number of users, network, storage and job runs. Any usage that exceeds the threshold is charged on a pay-as-you-go basis, using credits that must be purchased in blocks of 25,000, at a cost of $15.

To put this into context, 25,000 credits would provide you with 2,500 build minutes when using a Docker or Linux “medium” compute at 10 credits per minute, according to the company’s FAQ page. So, while each of the plans come with a credit allocation, you’ll almost certainly need to purchase a significant amount of credits to make effective use of the platform.

But what are the different plan types? And what do they get you?

CircleCI pricing plans

CircleCI pricing

As with many SaaS companies, CircleCI offers a free, albeit limited plan, designed for individual users or small teams that are just getting started.

For companies requiring faster build times and more environments, there are three additional pricing plans to choose from – Performance and Scale which are both cloud-based, as well as self-hosted Server plan.

Question is, how much does each one cost?


Starting at $15 per month for five user seats, 30,000 credits and 6,000 build minutes per month, CircleCI’s Performance plan is ideal for medium-sized companies requiring a slightly higher network limit than is available on the free plan.

While Performance allows for five active users per month, it also gives you the option to purchase additional users for $15 each.


For larger teams and organizations with more complex needs, for example those running multiple projects or requiring additional storage, CircleCI’s Scale plan may be a better fit.

While the exact cost of this plan will depend on your build activity and other requirements, CircleCI has made it clear that it includes 50GB of network capacity and 200 GB of storage, with pricing starting from $2,000 per month.

Self-hosted Server

Unlike the Free, Performance and Scale plans which are all cloud-based, CircleCI Server is the only self-hosted plan, giving you the power of the platform, either on-premise or in your own private cloud.

Unsurprisingly, there is no clear starting pricing for this plan and it will be entirely dependent on the needs of your team. That said, it does indicate that this plan comes with unlimited build minutes and includes 30 user seats.

Is it possible to get a discount on CircleCI pricing?

In short, yes.

According to FAQs on CircleCI’s site, users on the Performance plan or higher can opt for prepaid billing — a payment option that allows you to purchase credits in bulk and pay upfront. With this option, you can also benefit from volume discounts, although it does state that this is only possible with purchases of more than 5 million credits.

While it’s not clear how much of a discount the company will provide, it is worth noting that DevOps companies in general provide average discounts of 23%.

But discounts of this amount aren’t always easy to obtain. In fact, they generally require leverage and an effective negotiation strategy.

How to gain the leverage you need to secure a CircleCI discount

With SaaS costs mounting and finance teams under increasing pressure to keep spend to a minimum, it’s crucial that you’re doing all you can to avoid overpaying not only for CircleCI, but for any software application. Because the reality is that many are overpaying for these tools — by an average of 20-30%.

But while it’s possible to lower your CircleCI spend by purchasing credits in bulk, this alone is unlikely to secure you the best possible savings. For this, you need leverage.

Question is, how do you gain this leverage?

Commit for the long haul

According to the company’s support documentation, the company offers annual billing as an option on its Custom plans.

CircleCI annual pricing

But while it’s not clear whether this year-long commitment will secure you a discount, for the vast majority of SaaS providers — including those in the DevOps space — it does.

In fact, almost all will go one step further and offer additional savings in exchange for you committing to multi-year contract terms. Our data specifically shows that for each additional year a company signs up for, vendors will typically increase the discount by an extra 5%.

Of course, it can’t be ignored that CircleCI largely operates a usage-based payment model, enabling credits to rollover monthly, which is why it’s also important to gain additional leverage in the form of intel.

It is also worth keeping in mind that some SaaS vendors are starting to move away from this type of drawdown contract to a monthly usage model, in a bid to increase prices. While this isn’t the case for CircleCI, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the sneaky ways that vendors are increasing costs.

Find out what other companies are paying

Even the most effective software negotiation techniques will only get you so far. To secure the best possible savings on any SaaS deal, you ultimately need to know what other companies, similar to yours, are paying for their subscription.

At Vertice, we can obtain this intel. Better yet, we can use it to negotiate on your behalf.

Use an intermediary to negotiate the best possible deal on your behalf

With access to the pricing and discounting data for more than 13,000 global software providers, our team of experienced SaaS buyers can secure you the best possible price based on your business’ requirements.

It’s not just the price we’ll negotiate on though. We’ll also ensure you’re getting the most favorable terms on any contract — including, but certainly not limited to, CircleCI.

Through our platform, you’ll also have total oversight of every software application in use across your business, allowing you to maintain control of your spend and renewal schedule, while also understanding software utilization rates and opportunities to rightsize contracts for additional cost-savings.

Ready to start saving on SaaS?

See for yourself how much you could reduce your annual software spend by with a free audit of your software stack, or alternatively browse through our vendor database for exclusive pricing insights for thousands of SaaS providers.

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