This document describes the basics of using credits with CircleCI. If you are on the legacy CircleCI container-based plan you may want to consider consulting the document on using containers. If you want to switch from using containers to using credits, please open a support ticket requesting so.
The CircleCI credit-based usage plans enable you to only pay for what you use, while also providing flexibility in customizing and scaling your team’s CI solution. Credits are consumed by the second at varying rates according to what build configuration you use.
The right plan for you and your team will depend on several factors:
- How many users are on your team
- How much support you need (community support, standard support, or premium support)
- If you want access to different machine-types
- If you need features such as Docker Layer Caching, concurrent builds, or build history
Let’s look at how a Performance plan might use credits. With the Performance plan you have:
- At least one credit block (25,000 credits)
- An unlimited number of user seats (at $15 for the first three users and $15 for each additional user.)
- A variety of Docker/Linux machine-types (Small, Medium, Medium+, Large, or X-Large)
- The MacOS machine type
In this example, your team is divided into several groups working on different projects; some projects are larger while others are smaller and need less resources from a CI configuration. With credits it’s possible to specify exactly where and when you need to maximize machine resources. For example, your team might use a
resource_class (with 4 vCPUs and 8gb of memory at a rate of 20 credits/minute) to speed up a build for a bigger project, while only using the
resource_class (1 vCPU, 2gb Memory, 5 credits/minute) for a smaller project that may not ship code as frequently, or where build time is inconsequential.
Consider taking a moment to look at the CircleCI Usage page to learn about what each CircleCI plan offers and how credits are distributed across different machine types.
Configuring Your Credit Plan
To set up your desired plan, go to
Settings > Plan Overview in the CircleCI web application. From there, select the plan that best fits your needs.
As with the CircleCI legacy container plan, CircleCI also supports a free-tier with the usage-based plan. You can still make use of many key features offered by CircleCI:
- Using Orbs
- Dependency Caching
- Windows/Linux builds
The free usage-based plan offers 2,500 build credits across medium-type machines per week (which offers 2 CPUs, 4gb of memory.) With this combination, credits are used at a rate of 10 credits/minute. On the free plan, you are given a maximum of 3 user seats.
Upgrading to a performance plan offers several improvements over the free plan:
- Access to all machine sizes for Docker/Linux based machines.
- Access to medium sized MacOS machines (4 CPUs, 8gb Ram at 50 credits/minute)
- Unlimited user seat count (at $15/seat)
- Access to Docker Layer Caching
- No queuing
Docker Layer Caching
Docker Layer Caching (DLC) is available for 200 credits per job run. Read more about DLC in this document.