In this announcement, we are told that

Now, Stack Overflow for Teams has a free tier for up to 50 users, forever.

Is that current users? Or total users?

I ask because I am associated with an organization with a high turn over. If that's total users, meaning up to fifty people can be given access and the fifty-first triggers a requirement to pay, there's no point in us considering it. We'd end up with forty-eight inactive users, two active users, and about ten people who should have access but wouldn't be able to get it. However, if that's fifty users at one time, then we might be a good fit. I don't think we've ever had as many as twenty simultaneous users.

By simultaneous users, I mean users who currently should have access even if they are not currently connected. So someone who is asleep and has their computer turned off would count against the limit if they were able to wake up and access the team site. But those who have left the organization would not count after we removed their access.

We currently use a project tracking system that supports up to ten users that way and that mostly works (although ten is a bit tight). And we previously used a wiki system that supported fifteen total users, which is why we absolutely won't do that again.

I'm assuming that if the organization ever gets out of the startup phase, it will have reason to move to a paid account. Possibly because it would then need more than fifty users. And possibly because there are other advantages.

I tried looking for documentation of what fifty users actually means, but there doesn't seem to be a definition here nor a link to further documentation.

All other tiers are priced on a per seat basis and can be monthly or annual payment structure.

I can't determine if that means that the free tier is not on a per seat basis or if it is. And again, it's not clear that that is current seats, although I would expect it is. But even so, that still doesn't tell me anything about the free tier. As that statement is only about the non-free tiers.

  • 3
    If you're wondering why I didn't post this as an answer to the announcement (because obviously one should post questions as answers), it is because I do not have the ten site reputation to post on a protected question.
    – mdfst13
    Mar 23, 2021 at 18:08
  • Ahhh. Usually, the advice then is to flag for a moderator to unprotect a question like that :) But this is fine with me too. I've unprotected the question for the next user then :)
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Mar 23, 2021 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


Free Teams do act on a per-seat basis, just like paid Teams. For our purposes, a seat is occupied if their account is "active" - this means that they have permission to access the Team. So, there are 50 seats for activated accounts at any given time. Admins for a Team can always deactivate someone who is no longer participating to free up that slot for someone else. Essentially, inactive people won't be "squatters" on your Team unless you choose to let them retain access. How you handle deactivations due to turnover would be up to you, though.

Considering the limits of the other products you're using, it sounds like the 50 seats should be sufficient for your needs prior to startup but you may have to be somewhat active about deactivating access for users who stop participating in your project. I did ask about how the process works for when a free Team approaches the 50 user limit and it's a pretty friendly process - we don't collect credit card info for free Teams, so we can't automatically charge you for hitting a 51st person.

What we do is send a warning when the Team gets to 50 seats used so that the Admins can review the current usage and see if all the seats are still active and remove any that aren't. As long as a Team stays at 50 members, no additional members can be added to the Team without removing inactive members or upgrading to Basic.

Let me know if there's anything else I can clear up for you.

Sidenote, if someone is deactivated or leaves a team and later asks to return, the Team should automatically re-establish their old contributions to their account if the Admin uses the "reactivate" option on the user control panel. This can mean that removing a team member and re-adding them is somewhat less destructive than might be expected.

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