Self-hosted Zulip billing

This page describes how to manage your self-hosted plan, and answers some common questions about plans and billing for self-hosted organizations. Please refer to Self-hosted Zulip plans and pricing for plan details.

The topics covered include:

If you have any questions not answered here, please don't hesitate to reach out at sales@zulip.com.

For businesses with up to 10 Zulip users, the Free plan is a good option, and includes free access to Zulip's Mobile Push Notification Service.

For businesses with more than 10 Zulip users, both the Basic and Business plans include unlimited access to Zulip's Mobile Push Notification Service.

The Business plan also includes commercial support for dozens of features and integrations that help businesses take full advantage of their Zulip implementation. The minimum purchase is 25 licenses.

If your organization requires hands-on support, such as real-time assistance during installation and upgrades, help with advanced deployment options, development of custom features or integrations, etc., please contact sales@zulip.com to discuss pricing.

Note: For 8.0+ servers hosting more than one organization, commercial support for any server-wide configurations requires upgrading the organization with the largest number of users.

Paid plan discounts are available in a variety of situations; see below for details.

Log in to billing management

If your server hosts more than one organization, upgrade to Zulip Server 8.0+ to manage billing and plan upgrades separately for each organization. You must purchase the same plan for all users in your organization. Older servers only support server-wide plan management.

This feature is only available to organization owners and billing administrators.

  1. Your Zulip server administrator should register the server with Zulip's Mobile Push Notification Service, following these instructions.

  2. Click on the gear () icon in the upper right corner of the web or desktop app.

  3. Select Plan management.

  4. (first-time log in) Enter the email address you want to use for plan management, and click Continue.

  5. (first-time log in) In your email account, open the email you received (Subject: Confirm email for Zulip plan management), and click Confirm and log in.

  6. (first-time log in) Enter your name, configure your email preferences, and accept the Terms of Service.

  7. Verify your information, and click Continue.

A server administrator is anyone who sets up and manages your Zulip installation. A billing administrator is anyone responsible for managing your Zulip plan.

Server administrator steps:

  1. Register the server with Zulip's Mobile Push Notification Service, following these instructions.

  2. Go to https://selfhosting.zulip.com/serverlogin/.

  3. Fill out the requested server information, and click Continue.

  4. Enter the email address of the billing contact for your organization, and click Confirm email.

Billing administrator steps:

  1. In your email account, open the email you received (Subject: Log in to Zulip plan management), and click Log in.

  2. Verify your information, and click Continue. If you are logging in for the first time, you will need to enter your name and accept the Terms of Service.

Once you are logged in, you can upgrade to a paid plan, manage billing, cancel a paid plan, or apply for a free Community plan or a paid plan discount.

Upgrade to a paid plan

Do I have to upgrade my server first?

While upgrading your Zulip server to version 8.0+ makes it more convenient to manage your plan, you do not have to upgrade your Zulip installation in order to sign up for a plan. The same plans are offered for all Zulip versions.

In addition to hundreds of other improvements, upgrading to Zulip Server 8.0+ lets you:

  • Easily log in to Zulip plan management, without an additional server authentication step.

  • Separately manage plans for all the organizations hosted on your server.

  • Upload only the basic metadata required for the service, without also uploading usage statistics.

If you upgrade your server after signing up for a plan, you will be able to transfer your plan to an organization on your server. If your server only hosts one organization, this will happen automatically. Otherwise, contact support@zulip.com for assistance.

Start a free trial

New customers are eligible for a free 30-day trial of the Basic plan. An organization is considered to be a new customer if:

  • It was not registered for Zulip's Mobile Push Notification Service prior to December 12, 2023, and

  • It has never previously signed up for a self-hosted Zulip plan (Basic, Business, Community or Enterprise).

  1. Log in to billing management.

  2. On the page listing Zulip's self-hosted plans, click the Start 30-day trial button at the bottom of the Basic plan.

  3. Click Add card to enter your payment details.

  4. (optional) Update the billing details included on receipts so that they are different from the information entered for the payment method, e.g. in case you would prefer that the company's name be on receipts instead of the card holder's name.

  5. Click Start 30-day trial to start your free trial.

Once you start the trial, you can switch between monthly and annual billing on your organization's billing page.

Only manual license management is available when paying by invoice.

  1. Log in to billing management.

  2. On the page listing Zulip's self-hosted plans, click the Start 30-day trial button at the bottom of the Basic plan.

  3. Select pay by invoice.

  4. Select your preferred option from the Payment schedule dropdown.

  5. Select the Number of licenses you would like to purchase for your organization. You can adjust this number to update your initial invoice any time during your trial.

  6. Click Update billing information to enter your billing details, which will be included on invoices and receipts.

  7. Click Start 30-day trial to start your free trial.

Upgrade directly to a paid plan

  1. Log in to billing management.

  2. On the page listing Zulip's self-hosted plans, click the button at the bottom of the plan you would like to purchase.

  3. Select your preferred option from the Payment schedule dropdown.

  4. Click Add card to enter your payment details.

  5. (optional) View and update billing information included on receipts so that they are different from the information entered for the payment method, e.g. in case you would prefer that the company's name be on receipts instead of the card holder's name.

  6. Click the Purchase button to complete your purchase.

Only manual license management is available when paying by invoice.

  1. Log in to billing management.

  2. Select pay by invoice.

  3. Select your preferred option from the Payment schedule dropdown.

  4. Select the Number of licenses you would like to purchase for your organization; see details about manual license management.

  5. Click Update billing information to enter your billing details, which will be included on invoices and receipts.

  6. Click the Send invoice button, and an email with an initial invoice will be sent to the email address you used to sign in.

  7. Your plan will be upgraded when the initial invoice is paid.

Until the initial invoice is paid, logging in to manage your billing will show a page with a link to the outstanding invoice. You'll be able to manage your plan once your first invoice is paid.

Manage billing

On the billing page for an active paid plan you can:

  • View your past invoices.

  • View and update the billing details displayed on invoices and receipts for future payments.

  • If you pay for your plan by credit card, update your card's payment details.

  • Change your billing frequency to be monthly or annual.

  • If you opted for manual license management, you can update the number of licenses for the current billing period or the next billing period.

Cancel paid plan

If you cancel your plan, your organization will be downgraded to the Free plan at the end of the current billing period.

  1. Log in to billing management.

  2. At the bottom of the page, click Cancel plan.

  3. Click Downgrade to confirm.

Free Community plan

Zulip sponsors free plans for over 1000 worthy organizations. The following types of organizations are generally eligible for the Community plan.

  • Open-source projects, including projects with a small paid team.
  • Research in an academic setting, such as research groups, cross-institutional collaborations, etc.
  • Organizations operated by individual educators, such as a professor teaching one or more classes.
  • Non-profits with no paid staff.
  • Communities and personal organizations (clubs, groups of friends, volunteer groups, etc.).

Organizations that have up to 10 users, or do not require mobile push notifications, will likely find the Free plan to be the most convenient option. Larger organizations are encouraged to apply for the Community plan, which includes unlimited push notifications and support for many Zulip features.

If you aren't sure whether your organization qualifies, submitting a sponsorship form describing your situation is a great starting point. Many organizations that don't qualify for the Community plan can still receive discounted paid plan pricing.

Apply for Community plan

These instructions describe the Community plan application process for an existing Zulip server. If you would like to inquire about eligibility prior to setting up a self-hosted server, contact sales@zulip.com.

  1. Log in to billing management.

  2. On the page listing Zulip's self-hosted plans, scroll down to the Sponsorship and discounts area, and click Apply here.

  3. Fill out the requested information, and click Submit. Your application will be reviewed for Community plan eligibility.

Organizations that do not qualify for a Community plan may be offered a discount for the Basic plan.

The following types of organizations are generally eligible for significant discounts on paid plans. You can also contact sales@zulip.com to discuss bulk discount pricing for a large organization.

If there are any circumstances that make regular pricing unaffordable for your organization, contact sales@zulip.com to discuss your situation.

Education pricing

Organizations operated by individual educators (for example, a professor teaching one or more classes) are generally eligible for the Community plan.

Departments and other institutions using Zulip with students are eligible for discounted education pricing. Other educational uses (e.g., by teaching staff or university IT) may qualify for non-profit pricing.

  • For-profit education pricing:

    • Basic plan: $0.50 per user per month
    • Business plan: $1 per user per month with annual billing ($1.20/month billed monthly) with a minimum purchase of 100 licenses.
  • Non-profit education pricing: The non-profit discount applies to online purchases only (no additional legal agreements) for use at registered non-profit institutions (e.g., colleges and universities).

    • Basic plan: $0.35 per user per month
    • Business plan: $0.67 per user per month with annual billing ($0.80/month billed monthly) with a minimum purchase of 100 licenses.

Non-profit pricing

Non-profits with no paid staff are eligible for the Community plan.

For non-profits with paid staff, volunteers and other unpaid participants in your community are eligible for free Zulip accounts. Additionally, discounts are available for paid staff accounts. Contact sales@zulip.com to arrange discounted pricing for your organization.

Guest user discounts

There is no automatic discount for guest users. However, organizations with a large number of guest users are very likely to be eligible for a discount. If this is your situation, please apply for a discount or email sales@zulip.com.

Duplicate accounts

Some servers host multiple organizations, with some individuals having accounts in several of these organizations. If you have this setup, the ability to configure whether guests can see other users (introduced in Zulip 8.0) may allow you to consolidate into a single Zulip organization.

If you want to maintain a multi-organization setup with duplicate accounts, you may contact sales@zulip.com to arrange a discounted rate.

Apply for a paid plan discount

These instructions describe the paid plan discount application process for an existing Zulip server. If you would like to inquire about paid plan discount eligibility prior to setting up a self-hosted server, contact sales@zulip.com.

  1. Log in to billing management.

  2. On the page listing Zulip's self-hosted plans, scroll down to the Sponsorship and discounts area, and click Apply here.

  3. Select your preferred option from the Plan dropdown.

  4. Fill out the requested information, and click Submit. Your application will be reviewed for discount eligibility.

Payment methods

What are my payment options?

You can pay by credit card or by invoice. If you choose to pay by invoice, your organization will be upgraded to the plan you selected once the initial invoice is paid.

Note that automatic license management is only available if you pay by credit card. Paying by invoice requires manual license management.

How does automatic license management work?

Automatic license management is recommended unless you have a specific reason to choose manual license management.

With automatic license management, you automatically purchase a Zulip license for each user in your organization at the start of each billing period (month or year), and whenever you need additional licenses.

  • Deactivating a user frees up their license for reuse. No refunds are given for unused licenses you have purchased for the current billing period. For example if you start an annual billing period with 10 users, and deactivate 4 users halfway through the year, then you will receive no refund, even if those licenses are not used in the remaining 6 months of the year.

  • If you have no free licenses when a new user joins or an existing user is reactivated, you will be automatically billed for an additional license. You will be charged only for the remaining part of the billing period. For example, if you are on a $8/user/month monthly plan, you will be billed $4 for a user added halfway through the month.

  • If you have an annual billing period, each month, you will see a single charge for all licenses added the previous month. If you have a monthly billing period, the charge for licenses added during the previous month will be combined with your monthly renewal charge.

How does manual license management work?

With manual license management, you choose and pay for a fixed number of licenses for your organization or server. Deactivating a user frees up their license for reuse.

If the number of active users exceeds the number of licenses you've purchased, any paid services included in your plan will be paused until this is addressed. For example, you will lose access to the Mobile Push Notification Service until you have purchased more licenses or deactivated enough users.

Manually update number of licenses

  1. Log in to billing management.

  2. Modify Number of licenses for current billing period or Number of licenses for next billing period, and click Update.

Modifying the number of licenses for the current billing period also automatically updates the number of licenses for the next billing period.

How paid plans support the Zulip project

Zulip is proudly independent, with no venture capital funding, which means that revenue strongly impacts the pace of Zulip’s development. Paid plans for self-hosted customers help fund improvements in Zulip's self-hosting experience, and overall product development. Zulip needs the support of businesses that self-host Zulip in order to thrive as an independent, 100% open-source project.

You can also learn about other ways to support the Zulip project.

Self-hosting Zulip for free

Zulip is 100% open-source. Organizations that do not require support with their installation can always use Zulip for free with no limitations. Additionally, the Mobile Push Notification Service is provided free of charge for organizations with up to 10 users.

You can self-manage your Zulip installation without signing up for a plan. Get started with the installation guide.