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Build your open source projects on CircleCI.

Linux, Windows, and macOS open source projects build on CircleCI for free. Learn more

Powerful compute options

With usage-based plans, your team can choose the compute type, CPU, and memory you need for each job. Usage is calculated based on build minutes and compute type.

Get Started for Free

Docker (Linux)

vCPU Memory (GB) Credit/Min
Small 1 2 5
Medium 2 4 10
Medium+ 3 6 15
Large 4 8 20
X-large 8 16 40
2 X-large 16 32 80
2 X-large+ 20 40 100

Linux VM

vCPU Memory (GB) Credit/Min
Medium 2 7.5 10
Large 4 15 20
X-large 8 32 100
2 X-large 16 64 200

Arm VM (Linux)

vCPU Memory (GB) Credit/Min
Medium 2 8 10
Large 4 16 20

macOS VM

vCPU Memory (GB) Credit/Min
Medium 4 8 50
Large 8 16 100

Windows VM

vCPU Memory (GB) Credit/Min
Medium 4 15 40
Large 8 30 120
X-large 16 60 210
2 X-large 32 128 500


vCPU Memory (GB) Credit/Min
Small (Nvidia Tesla P4) 4 15 160
Medium (Nvidia Tesla T4) 8 30 240
Large (Nvidia Tesla V100) 8 30 1000

Windows GPU–Nvidia

vCPU Memory (GB) Credit/Min
Medium (Nvidia Tesla T4) 16 60 500

Docker layer caching

200 credits per job run

Build faster on CircleCI

With these changes, a team can go from a

30 minutes
build cycle
6 minutes
build cycle
30 minutes

How can you get your build from 30 minutes to 6 minutes? Here's an example!

Docker layer caching saves 12 minutes of build time.

Concurrency and parallelism take off another 8 minutes.

Using more powerful resources can shave off another 2 minutes.

By controlling what image your build uses, your team can drop another 2 minutes from their build process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Users on our Free plan can build up to 250 minutes per week using their 2,500 credits.

On the Free plan, users can build with the Medium compute option (2 vCPUs with 4 GB of memory) on Linux machines, which uses 10 credits per minute. Users can also build on Windows with the Medium compute option (4 vCPUs with 15 GB of memory), which uses 40 credits per minute.

CircleCI will be offering organizations on our free plan 400,000 credits per month to use on medium Docker compute for open source repositories, but they can only be spent on Linux compute. Orgs building OSS Windows projects can still use the 2,500 free credits per week that all projects have access to on those projects, and orgs building OSS macOS projects can request free macOS access by contacting

If you are building a bigger open source project and would like the flexibility of our new plans, let us know how we can help you!

Concurrent job runs refers to the number of jobs that can run simultaneously without queueing.1 You pay for compute based on the total amount of time you use compute resources, not the number of resources that you have access to. This means you can choose the right plan for your team to maximize concurrent jobs and parallelism for your jobs to minimize queuing.

For example, say you have a workflow with 10 jobs that each take 5 minutes to run. If you are limited to 1x concurrency, each of these jobs runs subsequently, and the workflow completes in 50 minutes. With scaling concurrency, you can run all 10 jobs concurrently (at the same time), and the workflow completes in 5 minutes. In both cases, your total usage time is 50 minutes since you used 10 machines for 5 minutes each. With usage-based pricing, that means you pay the same amount either way, but if you maximize your concurrency, you save 45 minutes of time waiting for your workflow to complete.

1 To ensure our system remains stable and responsive for all users, we set a cap of 80x concurrency for some of our resource classes - most organizations never hit this limit. If you are on a paid Performance plan and you are hitting this limit, reach out to our Customer Success team through a support ticket to discuss adjusting your plan for higher concurrency.

Credits are used to pay for your active users and usage. Usage is based on run time, machine type and size, and premium features like Docker layer caching.

Credits are purchased in blocks of 25,000. At the beginning of each billing month (based on your purchase date), you are charged for your credit package and those credits are added to your account.

If you reach 2% of your remaining credits during your billing month, you will be refilled 25% of your credits. For example, if your monthly package size is 25,000 credits, you will automatically be refilled 6,250 credits when you reach 2,500 remaining credits.

Credits expire one year after purchase. Unused credits will be forfeited when the account subscription is canceled.

To use Docker layer caching, your account must be on the Performance plan. If your team is not yet on the Performance plan, the administrator on your account can upgrade your team on the Plan Overview page within the application. Then you can enable Docker layer caching at the job level within your configuration file. Learn how.

Docker layer caching uses 200 credits per job run in a pipeline. For example, if your configuration specifies a workflow with three parallel Docker build jobs, you will be charged 600 credits each time these jobs are run in addition to the compute credits/minute usage.

Docker layer caching reduces build times on pipelines where Docker images are built by only rebuilding Docker layers that have changed (more in docs here). Docker layer caching (DLC) costs 200 credits per job run.

There are a few things that CircleCI does to ensure DLC is available to customers. We use solid-state drives and replicate the cache across zones to make sure DLC is available. We will also increase the cache as needed in order to manage concurrent requests and make DLC available for your jobs. All of these optimizations incur additional cost for CircleCI with our compute providers, which pass along to customers when they use DLC.

To estimate your DLC cost, look at the jobs in your config file with Docker layer caching enabled, and the number of Docker images you are building in those jobs. Docker layer caching costs 200 credits per job run. There are cases where a job can be written once in a config file but the job runs multiple times in a pipeline, for example, with parallelism.

Note that the benefits of Docker layer caching are only apparent on pipelines that are building Docker images, and reduces image build times by reusing the unchanged layers of the application image built during your job. If your pipeline does not include a job where Docker images are built, Docker layer caching will provide no benefit.

We are looking at ways to optimize Docker layer caching over time in order to improve the experience and reduce the cost.

Once you have a CircleCI account, and if you are the admin on the account, you can pay by logging into the CircleCI application and going to Settings → Plan Overview. From there, you can pay via credit card.

Invoicing billing is available on custom annual plans and requires a spend of $6,000 / year.

Credit usage covers access to compute. We prefer to keep usage costs as low as possible to encourage frequent job runs, which is the foundation of a good CI practice. Per-active-user fees cover access to platform features and job orchestration. This includes features like dependency caching, artifact caching, and workspaces, all of which speed up build times without incurring additional compute cost. Our per-active-user charge also allows us to provide support to all customers and deliver additional features like insights and orbs.

Anyone who triggers a build on CircleCI is an active user, regardless of whether they have a CircleCI account. If a user without a CircleCI account triggers a build, for example via a pull request on a repo, they are counted as an active user. A minimum of 25,000 credits will be charged per billing period, which enables up to 3 users to build on your repository.


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