Nitrous Pro Free Tier Time Limit is No More!

Free Hugs Photo Credit: Ben Husmann

It's been two months since we launched Nitrous Pro and we have been very excited about the response so far. Feedback has been very positive, from both existing users of Nitrous Lite and newcomers to the Nitrous experience.

Unfortunately, not all user comments have been rainbows and unicorns...

The time limit on the free tier was something that many people found really frustrating, and we really want to fix that. That's why we are so happy to announce that, starting today, there is no time limit on the free tier

What's changed?

There will no longer be a daily time limit applied to free tier users! Instead, when you first log in for the day you'll see a slight delay (usually 30-60 seconds) before your workspace becomes available.

If you don't use your workspace for a while it will be powered off, but when you come back everything should be (mostly) as you left it.

When will this go live?

It's live now! Just log in or sign up for a free account now!

What happens when my workspace shuts down?

When your workspace powers off it will stop all running processes. Everything you've saved to disk will stay exactly as is, but any programs that were running (including GNU screen and tmux) will be stopped.

This also means that Preview URLs will no longer be available since the web server will no longer be running.

What happens if I lose my internet connection?

It depends on how long your connection is down. The amount of time we wait before powering off an unused workspace is variable, but you can generally assume that if you're back within 10-15 minutes the workspace will still be running. If it's longer than that, you might need to wait for it to be started back up.

Nitrous Pro Free Tier

We recently announced that we will be sunsetting the original Nitrous product in favor of our new Nitrous Pro offering. The original product, Nitrous Lite is a freemium product that allows anyone to create a free cloud development environment.

The new platform refines our free tier in order to provide the best possible development experience for our active users. This required a few small, but important to understand changes.

Orders of Magnitude Better

At Nitrous, we believe that developing in the cloud is the future. Consistent environment templates help your team focus on their code and not their development machines. Cloud infrastructure allows your organization to scale up computing power for developers on demand without waiting to purchase new machines. Developers can also work from anywhere and collaborate in real-time with anyone in the world.

In order for the cloud development movement to succeed, we know that your experience has to be orders of magnitude better than your experience with your own computer. And at the foundation of that improvement is to provide superior stability and performance.

As a public PaaS, Nitrous manages all of the infrastructure required for your projects. Maintaining scalable cloud infrastructure for hundreds of thousands of users comes at a considerable cost, in both dollars and the time it takes our operations and system engineers to ensure things are running smoothly.

(Not our actual data center, but it looks something like this)

Nitrous Pro Free Tier

Providing dedicated cloud virtual machines to hundreds of thousands of developers while maintaining superior performance is a difficult technical problem. A minority of users also unfortunately don’t follow our terms of service, which makes providing an unlimited free tier a difficult task.

The free workspace on Nitrous Pro is limited to 2 hours of usage per day, and then will automatically shut down. We will alert you at set intervals before your workspace is going to shutdown to allow you to wrap up your work for the day.

In addition to limiting the duration of use, we also require users to verify themselves with a mobile phone number, to restrict the amount of abuse on accounts.

Phone verification screen

We’ve found the 2 hour limit is sufficient for a reasonable amount of usage and enables most developers to benefit from the system while still allowing us to provide the best experience possible.

If you are using Nitrous for more than 2 hours per day, we hope you consider a paid subscription with unlimited hours.

Migrating to Nitrous Pro

We recently announced that we will be sunsetting the original Nitrous product in favor of our new Nitrous Pro offering.

We worked hard to ensure that Nitrous Pro has all of the great features you loved in the original Nitrous product, and we’ve added a ton of improvements. Below you’ll find most of the details you need regarding Nitrous Pro and the migration. If there’s something missing, please send us an email.

What are the biggest differences between Nitrous Pro and the original Nitrous (Nitrous Lite)?

Nitrous Pro is a completely new and separate platform that requires a new account login. The biggest difference is that Nitrous Pro runs on your own, dedicated cloud machine. This enables us to provide root access to all users, and also improves stability and performance across the board.

We’ve also made a ton of other improvements to the IDE, collaboration, as well as added first-class Docker integration for advanced users.

How long will I be able to access my old Nitrous account?

Your old Nitrous account will be accessible at until we sunset the old product on July 1st, 2015. If you have files that you would like to move to Nitrous Pro, you can read about migration options here:

If you were using the original Nitrous (Nitrous Lite) for a workshop or class, please contact us and we will discuss migration options for your class and students.

Can I still sign up for a paid plan on the original Nitrous?

As of Wednesday April 22nd, you can only purchase paid plans on Nitrous Pro.

Will my account be converted to Pro automatically?

Your account will not be converted automatically. Nitrous Pro and Nitrous Lite (the original Nitrous) are completely separate products. You will need to create a new account for Nitrous Pro. If you are having trouble creating a new account or you are a paid user on Nitrous Lite, please send us an email.

Do I need to migrate my boxes to Nitrous Pro?

We provide all of the same starter templates on Nitrous Pro that we had on previous versions, so you are not required to migrate boxes. If you have some customizations that you would like to migrate, you can check out this help article with more details:

If you made specific customizations that you’re having difficulty getting up and running on Nitrous Pro, please contact us.

I'm an educator and you just borked my workflow! What do I do now?

We will continue to support educational organizations with Nitrous Pro and do have a free tier available, especially for qualified educational, not-for-profit organizations. Please contact us so we can set up your organization with the appropriate transition plan.

I’m a paid user on the original Nitrous (Nitrous Lite). How do I move to Nitrous Pro?

You will need to create a completely new account on Nitrous Pro, and then you will need to cancel your account on the original Nitrous.

How will pricing change?

Individual pricing plans on Nitrous are currently $15, $30, and $65 for Basic, Standard, and Pro plans respectively.

In what ways did you improve the IDE?

We’ve added split pane editing, a more intuitive collaboration workflow, additional themes, better GitHub integration, and have generally streamlined the design to allow for more focus on your code. More details on Nitrous Pro features can be found here:

How does the free plan work on Nitrous Pro?

Providing dedicated cloud virtual machines to hundreds of thousands of developers while maintaining superior performance is a difficult technical problem. A minority of users also unfortunately don’t follow our terms of service, which makes providing an unlimited free tier a difficult task.

In an effort to maintain the best user experience for all of our users, the free workspace on Nitrous Pro is limited to 2 hours of usage per day, and then will automatically shut down. We also require free users to verify themselves with a mobile phone number, to restrict the amount of abuse on free accounts.

We’ve found the 2 hour limit is sufficient for a reasonable amount of usage and enables most developers to benefit from the system while still allowing us to provide the best experience possible.

If you are using Nitrous for more than 2 hours per day, we hope you consider a paid subscription with unlimited hours.

Introducing Nitrous Pro

We believe the software development process is faster and more enjoyable when developers can easily connect and work together from anywhere in the world. We’ve been hard at work improving the everyday experience on the Nitrous platform. Today, we’re excited to share a new product we’re calling Nitrous Pro.

Claim your Cloud Workspace

Dedicated Resources with Root Access

Each workspace on Nitrous Pro runs on its own dedicated virtual machine. Workspaces are more secure, and top-notch performance is guaranteed. Dedicated resources mean that our workspaces are also safely root-enabled, so you can install anything you need.


One of our early goals with the new product was to get to the point where we could build Nitrous Pro entirely on Nitrous Pro. We’re very proud to announce that the Nitrous team now fully develops Nitrous Pro inside the production website.

We think dogfooding is absolutely the best way to build the best products; so much so that we didn’t have to make it a company requirement -- everyone on our team gravitated to using Nitrous Pro naturally. This means you can expect an already great product to get even better, virtually every day.

A New, Powerful Cloud IDE

The Nitrous Pro IDE is faster, more functional and more beautiful than ever. Our new IDE includes seamless real-time collaboration, split pane editing, file watching, and multiple terminals. It’s incredibly easy to invite teammates to your workspace and start coding together in a fully-loaded development environment. You can give teammates access to your workspace, allowing collaboration whenever is best for them.

Expanded Template Library

We’ve also added support for a number of new stack templates, including the Google Cloud SDK, Discourse, Wordpress, Laravel and more. We’ll be adding support for other popular frameworks and languages in the coming weeks.

The new system is also fully compatible with Docker. This means users on Nitrous Pro can create development environments using thousands of readily available Docker images on Docker Hub. This topic deserves its own blog post -- we’ll be following up with more details about Docker and Nitrous Pro!

Transitioning to the new Nitrous Pro Platform

With the launch of Nitrous Pro, we will be phasing out support for the original Nitrous product on July 1st 2015. We are confident that you will find Nitrous Pro a better fit for your needs, as we’ve improved every aspect of the experience. There is a free tier available on Nitrous Pro that will allow you to utilize the platform up to 2 hours per day without paying or needing to add a credit card. You can read more about migrating your boxes to your new Nitrous Pro workspace here.

If you’re running a class or workshop using the original version of Nitrous, we’re happy to help you transition to the new system and work with you personally to leverage all the new benefits. Please email us at to learn more.

We’re super proud of the new Nitrous Pro platform, and hope that the changes help you work better than ever before. We’d love to hear what you think!

You can send us feedback directly via email at Or tweet us using #nitrouspro and @nitrousio.

Nitrous Pro Press Release


Nitrous Releases Professional Software Development Platform

Pro Cloud-Based IDE Launches with Real-Time Collaboration, Root Access and Docker Integration

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – (April 22, 2015) Nitrous today released Nitrous Pro, a cloud-based software development platform designed for professional software developers. Building on the tremendous success of its free version, the company has designed Nitrous Pro to meet the growing demand for powerful and secure software development environments that streamline sharing and collaboration.

As the only professional-grade cloud-based development environment platform, Nitrous Pro features full support for Docker images, desktop file system synchronization, full Linux shell environment, split pane editing, and real-time collaboration. Dedicated resources with root access make Nitrous Pro the most secure cloud-based development platform. Since 2013, over 200,000 people have registered and built applications using the first free version of Nitrous. Users included everyone from undergraduates learning to code, to professional developers at start-ups and consultancies, government and large enterprises.

Standardization of project environments is a key challenge for software developers working in distributed teams. Nitrous Pro allows developers to use pre-built templates for over 90 programming languages and frameworks including Go, Ruby, Python and Javascript. Developers can save and share their own customized environment as a team template for consistency. Nitrous Pro also launches with full support for Docker container management. With over 300 million downloads and over 33,000 related projects on Github, Docker is becoming hugely popular with developers.

Seamless real-time collaboration is a key feature of Nitrous Pro. Developers can invite anyone to their workspace and start coding together in a full development environment. Developers can also provide teammates temporary or permanent access to a workspace, enabling flexible collaboration.

“Collaboration is so central to the software development experience that developers go to great trouble to do this today. Nitrous Pro’s powerful cloud environments make sharing development environments a breeze. And this isn’t just techno-rhetoric: Every engineer on our team uses Nitrous Pro exclusively to build Nitrous Pro. This ‘dogfooding’ means that you can expect an already great product to get even better, virtually every day.”

— Andrew Solimine, co-founder of Nitrous.

“Highly distributed development teams are a challenge for large enterprises. Project teams with the right skills and access to the right tools and environments will span locations and timezones, complicating collaboration. Nitrous is built from ground up to solve collaborative development challenges, giving all developers access to the powerful tools and environments they need for picking up new skills, developing and testing, and enabling team members to work together real-time in the style of Google Docs or Etherpad. By allowing developers to share common templates for projects and environments, we can ensure teams are working with the same libraries, dependencies, and best practices, reducing integration risk, saving time and money,”

— Richard Tibbetts, former CTO at TIBCO Software (TIBCO Software is an investor in Nitrous).

About Nitrous

Nitrous provides powerful, fast, preconfigured development environments in the cloud. Developers can create and start programming in a brand new PHP, Java, Node.JS, Python, Ruby or Go development environment - in a matter of seconds - from any modern browser or using their favorite desktop editors. Rich collaboration features enable developers worldwide to work together while using the individual tools they love combined with the convenience of cloud. Over 200,000 developers have created, used, and shared Nitrous development environments for professional, open-source, and personal projects. Sign up at Learn about product updates and announcements via Twitter @nitrousio. Read more on our blog at


Conduct Coding Interview using Nitrous.IO and tmux

Hiring decisions are often the hardest ones a software company has to make. A pressure-filled 45-minute interview is often an insufficient assessment of a candidate’s true potential. The hiring process is further encumbered by the pervasive usage of whiteboard interviews for technical assessments. While the whiteboard is excellent for determining candidates’ knowledge on software architecture, it is limited when it comes to assessing their practical ability to write clean and elegant code.

Developers write code on the keyboard, yet they are more often than not denied this during interviews and forced into using the whiteboard - a very different medium from the one they code in. This interview format hasn’t been changed for years -- popular books like ‘Cracking the Coding Interview’ even emphasize to candidates the importance of practising writing code on a whiteboard or on paper. Put in such a foreign environment, there’s often a disparity between candidates’ performance using a whiteboard as compared to a familiar development environment.

Assess your Candidate's Coding Ability in Realtime

Nitrous.IO + tmux makes it possible for candidates to stick to tools they are most comfortable with - a terminal shell and IDE editor. This will result in a more accurate representation of a candidate’s true potential. Typically used for pair programming, Nitrous.IO in Collab Mode extends to interviews since interviewers can upload coding problems and view how the candidates solve them in realtime - Google-Docs style. Terminals can be shared using a tmux session that can be re-attached to and continued where they left off. Code written can be compiled, tested and subsequently saved for review by the relevant team a candidate is hoping to join. Instead of working through hypothetical situations, interviewers can see first-hand the exact workflow and problem-solving process candidates adopt when writing and executing real code.

Discuss Architecture using the Whiteboard

So, should interviewers continue to adopt the whiteboard method? Certainly, there ought to be a reason why leading tech companies have been using it for years. A valuable benefit is that a whiteboard is handy for candidates to conjure diagrams and data structures to simulate the thinking that goes behind it. Software architecture and principles can be better explained on a whiteboard than with a keyboard.

Best of Both

Ideally, interviewers should optimize their hiring process with these two complementary tools that assess different capabilities of a candidate. It makes perfect sense to discuss architecture using a whiteboard instead of a keyboard. At the same time, collaborative IDEs like Nitrous.IO can plug the gap where a whiteboard interview falls short by enabling the actual writing and testing of code.

For starters, hiring managers can begin by using Nitrous.IO’s collaborative editor as a form of live programming screening on top of phone screening. This helps them to decide which candidates to bring in for an in-person whiteboard/coding interview (saving costs), or even base their hiring decisions off that remote coding interview. What sets us apart from products dedicated entirely for coding interviews is our full-fledged web development environment that hobbyists and professionals alike use in their everyday development. Besides, you can already perform unlimited coding interviews with just a free plan on Nitrous.IO.

Experience for yourself

Try it out by creating a free account, you’ll be provisioned with a powerful development box within a minute. Next, follow our Coding Interview Tutorial to get started with using Nitrous.IO in ‘Collab Mode’ and tmux. And if you’re interested to work in Nitrous.IO, you know what tools to practise with.

Coding on iPad - The Possibilities of Nitrous.IO

Nitrous.IO on iPad

Many developers dreamt of turning their iPad into a full-fledged development machine. It’s the promise of freedom to work on the go and not being chained to a primary machine that’s too heavy to carry along. No doubt, coding on iPad has also been a facet of Nitrous.IO’s vision. Pete, our CTO, had always wanted to develop on his iPad before Bluetooth keyboards were even sold on the market.

While the iPad itself is still in its infancy as a dev machine, it is a viable option when coupled with cloud IDE platforms like Nitrous.IO. In a way, we have fast-forwarded into the future as our cloud IDE transforms iPads (and Chromebooks, for that matter) into powerful software development tools. This translates into workspace accessibility, as you can work across devices while using the same, consistent development environment, maintained in the cloud.

Benefits of Coding on iPad

Be that as it may, do note that Nitrous.IO’s support for iPad is still experimental i.e. things might still break. However, it is more than sufficient for small edits and bug fixes. Here are some of the benefits we find coding on iPad provides –


Alright, that’s enough self-plugging. Here comes the trade-offs.

All things considered, if you think you can’t live with these shortcomings, there are great choices out there such as Textastic, Diet Coda, iOS Vim + Firebug Lite. Check out our tutorial post on using Diet Coda with Nitrous.IO. However, these options might be costly and take time to install and set up.

Go Mobile

So, yes, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty great if you’re looking for a simple, fast and free solution to coding on iPad. Sign up for a free account and follow our iPad tutorial to experience the benefits of developing on iPad for yourself. Share with us your experiences, we’ll send you some swag (hoodie & stickers) if your story happens to be published on our blog!

Now the question is, whose iPad are you going to filch if you didn’t even bring that on vacation? And if you have children or teenagers, try not to start a family drama.