Credit Card Required for Free Account


This is tragic. I am teaching minors to code and collaborate, and I can no longer use C9. Is this seriously the best solution you could come up with?



I’m about to teach a 2-week camp to high schoolers on how to program and develop websites and applications, and this has forced me to look elsewhere.

To prevent all of those bad things, why not:

  • Use a captcha
  • Require email verification
  • Require phone verification
  • Automatically delete free tier accounts after a certain period of being unused
  • Automatically lock accounts that show signs of malicious activity (nmap, email spamming, hosting malware, etc.)
  • Automatically lock accounts that break any of the user agreement policies

There are other options, and most people are able to realize that asking for credit card info is simply a way to hold user information hostage. Why even offer the free plan in this case? Why not give a 7 or 14 day trial of the free account and then require a credit card afterwards? Even that would be more acceptable.

All of this being said, I understand that C9 is a business and businesses need to make money. The fact that C9 offered a free plan in the first place is great; this is just an unfortunate turn of events.


Tried To Create University; Was Forced To Create Team And Charged Way More

Requiring a CC completely kills the possibility of c9 being used in k12 education, as students don’t have credit cards and teachers won’t be willing to put down their own for every student. Unless there is some kind of workaround for minors, come September my fellow teachers and I will be forced to use another service. It’s a shame - because we really like c9.



Great way to Prevent bots

Thanks for adding this its Great way to prevent bots but there are still a lot of accounts that can use bots can you please clean up and ask every account for CreaditCard and C9 will be clean of spammer and bots users&makers



So, I’ve found a decent way around this.

I, for example, am teaching a class to 10 high school students. So, I bought a cheap $25 Visa gift card from a local grocery store and used it to sign up for 10 student accounts so they can use the free plan.



Hi all,

Thank you again for the feedback and all the updates (including your workaround @Nezteb :thumbsup:). I just wanted to keep you posted and let you know that we have a proposed solution for this for educational users. It’s probably a couple weeks out so it should be good by the time most schools start back up for the school year. I will post all updates I hear about right here but feel free to continue to post feedback and experiences here.





We are really sad with this change that require credit card to have a free account.

We are a small startup here in São Paulo (Brazil) that is using C9 to help students prepare themselves to internships in software development. We are creating a video course with many exercises. Those exercises are meant to be done by the students using C9. We already have 7 students testing our course and everything is (or was :frowning: ) going very well.

We have already made a bunch of videos using C9 to show on practice the concepts being taught in order to make the students comfortable to use C9. We will launch our course in 1 week and a half and requiring a CC completely kills what we are creating because the majority of our students don’t have a CC.

As software developers know, having the same development environment for every developer is much more productive and easier to work. We believe this also happen in a learning environment. We have given the same course not using online tools like C9 and we always had problems with university computers, students notebooks, even trying to run VirtualBox VMs in different and old machines results in trouble. Furthermore, this allow students to use a tablet, mac, windows, linux or whatever to learn. They just need the browser to watch the videos and do the exercises.

The university account is not possible for us, it is too much expensive after converting USD to BRL considering the amount we intend to charge for our course.

I really hope to hear good news from C9 in the next days about this.

In the meantime, we will try to find a pre paid credit card like @Nezteb suggested.



Hi Brady, thanks for engaging the community and reassuring us. Is there a guarantee that the solution for educational users will remain free?

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Good day,

I came across cloud9 IDE and started using it because of how easy it was to register and get started, I work at a university and sometimes do part-time lecturing & tutoring, because of the great personal experience I had with it I started telling students about it and had intentions of using it in the upcoming semester in a class that usually contains 30+ students, however most students don’t usually have credit cards. I understand the thing you are saying about abusers however you are loosing potential customers and growth of use of your IDE which I believe is one of the very best. I think that you all should have some other means of registration for students and Academics. Because universities would usually listen to the demands of the students before purchasing any external products, but students would only demand after they have experienced c9 for themselves. Through students and academics using the tool, you have a better chance of getting Universities of actually becoming potential customers, however the less students and academics using your IDE because of not having credit cards, then the less likely it is for a university to be willing to purchase something that they aren’t sure there students want.



Hi Brady,

Thank you for your struggling for attacks to Cloud9 and considering about educators and students.
I wish you Cloud9 had a free or cheaper plan for academic school or educational institutions.

On the other hand, I really know it’s a business for you. Sustainability and safety of Cloud9 is more important than charities in this situation.

But, in my idea, it’s not bad idea for your to give some resources from you to students because they might become great business and paid customers of Cloud9.
In the long term…for an immeasurable time, it would be good marketing and advertisement in the future.




Hey Brady,

I run a group for anyone who wants to learn about JavaScript in the Salt Lake City area [0].

This group is predominately adults who are looking to change jobs, i.e. the successful ones will hopefully have web dev jobs in the not too distant future.

We have hands-on presentations once a month, where we’ve got just under an hour to cover whatever topic it is that we’re covering for the month. The ease of having them log in with their github account (which most have already) was seamless, fast, and didn’t drastically distract from our very short time to cover an actual coding topic.

While I suspect most of our attendees have credit cards, the new registration process, which would require users to pull out their credit card in a very public environment (literally seated should-to-shoulder) is a deal-breaker!

As you consider alternatives for K12 students, please also consider groups like ours. Something as simple as providing a trial account that is fast to sign-up for and limited to a single project, would meet our needs and expose these future developers to C9.


Education Plan FAQs

It is really repulsive that we need to provide a credit card. I am a student, and I don’t have a credit card. Having cloud9 would really benefit in my programming classes, which I often have to do on university computers.

I really hope you make it possible again to use Cloud 9 without credit cards.



Dont forget:

prevent people form countrys where credit cards are not so widely spread from signing up

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Hi Brady,

I work at a non-profit that has LOVED Cloud 9 for several years and serves over 600 High School Students.

I just want to echo a lot of the talk here by saying this CC verification completely blocks us from using it in our classrooms. I am excited to see which work-around your team decides to go with. I think all of the suggestions from @neztab are reasonable. Phone verification could cause some challenges as many schools do not allow cell phones in the classroom but if that is what is needed we can work with that particular solution.

It looks like you are hoping to have a solution before the school year begins which is great! I must comment however, if a solution is not proposed by that deadline we will be forced to find a different IDE for our students to work in.

We have our fingers crossed that we can use Cloud 9 :slight_smile:



I’d like add a lone voice of understanding and approval for this change. Cloud9 offers an amazing and powerful resource: unlimited free workspaces. A lot of damage can be done with that. All major cloud providers end up going this route for the same reason. It’s effective, and I’m glad they did it. Though I am very surprised they didn’t provide a recourse for education. They must have been desperate to stop the abuse quickly.



@justincy - I can’t speak for everyone in this thread, but based on my own perspective and how I read the other posts, it appears that yours is not the “lone voice of understanding” of the problem that the C9 crew is trying to address. In fact, several posters made explicit statements of understanding, including:

Several posters, including myself, are suggesting alternative methods that can help C9 address the problems they are experiencing - while retaining support for communities that have been negatively impacted by the current method. (Which I take as implicit understanding of the challenge they are addressing.)

One of the reasons so many of us are taking the time to post to this thread is that we want C9 to be able to continue providing service to these groups. In fact, the current policy may actually hinder C9’s growth.

For example, at my group I changed the cloud IDE provider that I used for this week’s presentation. I mentioned that one of the reasons we were using non-C9 service, was because of C9’s credit card requirement. I also asked people to let me know afterwards whether they would have been willing to sign-up for C9.

I had three people come up to me after the presentation. All three said they absolutely would not sign-up with a credit card in a classroom setting. One of them already has a paid C9 account, but said if I have to switch my presentations over to an alternative service, she’ll switch her support to that service. The other two were new and said that the alternative was clearly good enough, and it wasn’t worth trying another cloud IDE anytime in the near future. In other words, C9 has already lost two potential customers and if the policy doesn’t change they will likely lose some paying customers.

Everyone on this thread wants C9 to be able to service the wide range of communities that it previously supported. To do that C9 has to be a sustainable business.

Preventing misuse (e.g. spambots) and providing credit card-free registration are not mutually exclusive goals. In fact, finding a solution that achieves both goals is in C9’s best interest because it will increase sustainability of the business.



I like your idea of limiting non-verified accounts to one workspace.

Do you think SMS verification would be a better alternative to credit card validation?

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It would be for my folks, but several other posters mentioned that phones are problematic (e.g. not allowed in classrooms or students who simply don’t have phones).

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I don’t think phone or credit card verification is really looking at the issue, which is: people using c9 workspaces for malicious reasons - bots, DDOSing, phishing, etc. Phone verification can be easily circumvented through temporary online phone numbers, and as another user mentioned, anyone can buy a Visa/Amex gift card and use that without revealing their actual identity.

Netzeb came up with a few suggestions that I think would actually be effective:

  • Automatically lock accounts that show signs of malicious activity (nmap, email spamming, hosting malware, etc.)
  • Automatically lock accounts that break any of the user agreement policies

Maybe it’s possible to monitor outbound traffic on workspaces? Or possibly have a quick splash screen for first-time visitors to combat phishing? Just some ideas.



Just thought I’d put my two bits here.

Was adding CC verification really the last resort? I’m fairly certain that this will cost Cloud9 many new potential customers. After all, I was really satisfied with Cloud9 on day one, referred it to friends and got really hyped about all of this. Part of the reason for this was the ease of the set-up - you chose an account name and an e-mail address and everything was up and running. If I had to verify a credit card, I definitely would’ve been scared - it’s just something I do not want to enter into a website that all I want to do with is try out. Obviously, if you already know that you’re going to use Cloud9 professionally, then a CC verification is not a problem for you, but if you only want to attract these users, why don’t you just completely remove the Free plan? I’m already searching for alternatives, because I know that potential collaborators will not be ready to enter their CC info for a product they can’t even try out.

I just don’t see how any of the reasons you gave should result in a CC verification. For bots and DDOSers, how about simply adding Captchas to the log-in progress and whenever one sends too many requests to the service? I don’t see how Phishing ever was a problem with Cloud9.

The only problem that CC verification really solves is the non-malicious part: signing up for 5 accounts in order to get the same 5 private workspaces that premium users get. Why don’t you just make the user verify his credit card (or phone number) as soon as he tries to create a private workspace? While that would make it impossible for abusers to make 5 free accounts, it wouldn’t scare away potential new customers - they could still try Cloud9 with all of its features and once they know it’s good they’ll enter their CC info with no fear.

For me, this seems more like a move to separate those who would potentially pay for a plan from those who wouldn’t.

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