Buf has four subscription tiers (Community, Teams, Pro, and Enterprise) that are designed to make Buf affordable and accessible for organizations of all sizes. Each tier is outlined in detail below, and a comparison of the available features in each tier is available in the Buf Pricing section.
In this article, we will dive into the topic of Buf pricing and explore how it is calculated. We will look at the factors that determine the cost of using Buf and explain how you can manage your usage to avoid unexpected costs. By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of how Buf pricing works and how to use it effectively to manage your Protobuf-based APIs.
The Protocol Buffers IDL (Interface Definition Language) specifies the syntax for Protobuf files. Within these files, there are certain Descriptors that denote different Protobuf Types, including Methods, Messages, Enum.
Buf pricing is based on the number of these 3 Protobuf "Types" contained in the modules your organization has pushed to
the BSR. Explicitly, Types are defined as Methods (
rpc), Messages (
message), and Enums (
Well-Known Types (WKTs) and any of the mirrored modules ( e.g. googleapis) are ignored from the calculation. These modules will not be counted as part of your usage.
So why don't WKTs or mirrored modules count against usage? They are built into the compiler or are the core types that almost all developers use. Charging for these would simply be unfair.
A few example WKTs:
How is usage calculated?
Types are billed in increments of 100 per month. The cost per Type depends on the chosen plan (i.e., Teams or Pro). Usage is calculated as the max number of Types per day over the past month. If the max of Types pushed to your registry exceeds 100, you will be charged at the next tier.
For example, a customer on the Pro plan with an max usage of 123 Protobuf Types per day for the month would be billed $200 USD per month (after the trial period).
Does Buf offer overage protection?
To help protect our customers from unexpected overages, Buf offers the option for billing admins to receive an email alert whenever the usage for their organization has progressed into the next level. These email alerts are enabled by default and are sent when usage exceeds the next increment of 100 Types. Although we will not block uploading of more Types, admins will have the ability to discuss with their organization and adjust if necessary.
If admins wish to receive alert emails but prefer to decrease noise, a higher threshold can be set before messages are sent. Assume a customer is on the Pro plan and has a desired budget of $500 USD. The alert threshold can be set at 500 Types, and no alerts will be sent until they reach that level of usage. An email alert will be sent at each level beyond the chosen threshold.
Additionally, a grace period of 1 billing cycle is automatically applied before you are invoiced for a higher amount. In practice, the grace period means you will be invoiced for the lower number of max types between current and previous billing cycles. To illustrate the grace period, see the table below.
Assume you subscribe to the Pro plan in March.
|Billing Period||Max Types Used||Types Increment||Invoice||Notes|
|March - April||55||100||$0||free trial period|
|April - May||55||100||$100||1st invoice|
|May - June||122||200||$100||grace period, would be $200|
|June - July||144||200||$200|
|July - August||783||800||$200||grace period, would be $800|
|August - September||489||500||$500||lower # of Types between current and previous|
|September - October||511||600||$500||grace period, would be $600|
|October - November||550||600||$600|
|November - December||550||600||$600|
Buf Community, which caters specifically to open-source communities, individual developers, education, and small businesses will maintain the free availability of Buf components including Buf CLI and Buf Schema Registry.
With Buf Community, users can have access to one private repository and an unlimited number of public repositories, along with hosted API documentation and generated client and server libraries, all without any cost per month.
Buf Team is designed to enhance collaboration and productivity within organizations. By providing essential features for team-based management of sensitive APIs on the BSR, Buf Team empowers groups of developers to maximize their potential for collaboration and sharing.
Buf Pro, which includes all the features of Buf Community, goes a step further by offering unlimited private repositories and the ability to push Custom Plugins to the BSR. In addition, it provides email support with 24 hour for subscribers.
Buf Pro gives individual developers complete control over their development environment through a private instance with a dedicated subdomain, providing an integrated and dependable developer experience. This reduces the amount of time spent on tedious and repetitive tasks, freeing up more time for developers to create value for their organization.
Buf Pro encompasses all the features of Buf Team as well as unlimited organizations and advanced collaboration and management tools. These include team and organization management with SSO support for SAML and OIDC for the entire team, comprehensive audit logging, and server admin and bulk resource management, including SCIM.
Buf Enterprise is designed to meet the long-term governance, deployment, and service commitments of organizations that use Buf at scale. It provides centralized management and advanced security to ensure that enterprise-level requirements are met.
Buf Enterprise includes all the features available in Buf Pro and Buf Team, with additional benefits such as full data isolation and dedicated resources, including custom resource and deployment commitments. It also offers a dedicated customer engineer for your account, white-glove support with a dedicated Slack channel to connect you directly with our team, and custom contract terms to accommodate your business's data retention policies and maintenance windows agreements. We ensure that all our services are tailored to meet the unique requirements of your industry and business.
For a list of features available in each tier, see Buf Pricing.
Buf Schema Registry License Agreement