To create a private GitHub repository, you either have to pay for a subscription or (if you are a student) get a free student developer pack.

Will your private GitHub repositories remain private after the end of a GitHub subscription / education pack?

In other words, will their status not change to public unless you explicitly request so?

2 Answers 2


Private repositories on your account are locked when you downgrade your paid account to a free one, or if your paid account is seriously past due because of billing problems.

When your account is locked, your private repositories cannot be accessed until paid status is resumed. They won't ever be made public, nor will they be automatically deleted.

Source: https://help.github.com/articles/unlocking-a-locked-personal-account/


In 2019, the accepted answer isn't the case.

As per Github docs,

On GitHub Free, your unlimited private repositories will have a limited feature set and a limit of three collaborators. For more information, see "GitHub's products."

If you have added more than three other users as repository collaborators, before you downgrade from GitHub Pro to GitHub Free, you must reduce the number of collaborators on each of your private repositories to three or fewer. For more information, see "Removing a collaborator from a personal repository"

More from docs,

With GitHub Free, your personal account gets:

  • Unlimited free public repositories with a full feature set

  • Unlimited free private repositories with a limited feature set

  • Up to three other people as collaborators on each private repository

  • 1
    Github indeed has private repositories, but the question was whether these repositories are guaranteed to stay private. Although the quote has aged, the link in the accepted answer is still valid and continues to affirmatively answer the question: "We won't delete your locked private repositories or make them public. After a period of nonpayment, GitHub reserves the right to delete content from locked repositories." (but this is about organization accounts, not personal ones).
    – Rob W
    May 2, 2019 at 9:16
  • 1
    I don't think OP asked specifically about organization accounts. Answer is simply "NO" as the policies doesn't specifies anything of that sort. You mention words like "locked" which is confusing and github never mentions anything about it.
    – HalfWebDev
    May 2, 2019 at 9:38
  • 1
    I am the OP. I was interested in whether repositories are private forever. The answer seems YES, as explained in the accepted answer. "locked repositories" are linked from the accepted answer, and used to apply to both personal and organizations. Now private repositories are free for personal accounts, so that probably means that private repos stay private forever, as before. The page at the "locked repositories" link has since been reworded to be specific to organizations only, and also in this case, the repos continue to be private.
    – Rob W
    May 2, 2019 at 14:45
  • 2
    Oh! The idea is to answer as per wordings of question. I tried to clarify the same via docs what they say right now. I landed up searching myself for help and it clearly isn't the answer I was searching. Maybe you should read question again and then read my answer. If it makes sense, fine. If it doesn't, then too, it's OK. I answered for future readers clarification to avoid ambiguity of the old answer which you also agree that wordings have been modified for some xyz page.
    – HalfWebDev
    May 2, 2019 at 15:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.