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Will ChatGPT always be free?

Will the free-forever version of ChatGPT be available forever?

Reviewed By: Steve Hook

Last Updated on December 22, 2023
Will ChatGPT always be free
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In February 2023, OpenAI launched a premium subscription plan for ChatGPT called ChatGPT Plus. This paid tier costs $20 a month, and with CEO Sam Altman planning another paid tier, users of the free version are asking “Will Chat GPT always be free?” OpenAI even released a statement confirming they will “continue to offer free access” to the AI chatbot. But, will it always be free?

Is ChatGPT free?

Yes, ChatGPT is free. The free version uses the GPT 3.5 AI model and is accessible via web browser (desktop and mobile) as well as via the free app for iOS and Android.

Is ChatGPT free to use forever?

This is very tough to predict. OpenAI originally started as a non-profit company, offering its products and code for free to the public.

Non-profit OpenAI, Inc. and the for-profit subsidiary corporation OpenAI, L.P. now co-exist as separate entities. The latter enables the firm to take profits, which diverges from its original mission, calling ChatGPT’s ‘free forever’ status into question. Thankfully, we now have our answer.

Will ChatGPT always be free?

Yes, based on all statements from the AI research firm, we conclude that ChatGPT will always be free to use. There will be caveats, of course, because the paid tiers need to offer something that the free version doesn’t.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman took to Twitter in December 2022 to confirm early on that ChatGPT would need to be monetised. The AI firm co-founder has in more recent interviews reassured that there will always be a free plan alongside the premium subscriptions.

we will have to monetize it somehow at some point; the compute costs are eye-watering

Sam Altman, OpenAI CEO
Will ChatGPT be free forever?
Will ChatGPT always be free?

How much does Chat GPT cost?

Alongside the original free service, OpenAI has recently released a paid subscription plan called Chat GPT Plus.

The new subscription service grants you general access to Chat GPT, even during busy times. According to OpenAI, you will also gain other exclusive benefits, including “faster response” times and “priority access to new features and improvements”.

Will you ever have to pay for ChatGPT?

No, you will never have to pay for ChatGPT. However, you can choose to pay for a more premium version, called ChatGPT Plus.

If you are interested, the plan starts at $20 a month (in the US) or £16 a month (in the UK). OpenAI is looking to expand the service to other regions and countries around the world. However, it is currently unclear which regions these will be.

How much does Chat GPT compute cost?

It is not entirely certain how much Chat GPT costs to run, however, many people online have speculated. Goldstein, a Professor at Maryland, took to Twitter to share his predictions. He suggests the model could cost a whopping $3 million a month (or $100k a day) to run!

This is the speculative cost of running servers alone. If you were to consider the added costs from training AI models, building leases, staff wages, and other expenses, the real figure may be double this.

Due to the popularity of the tool, these running costs have been increasing. As a result, we now have ChatGPT Plus and ChatGPT Enterprise.

Final Thoughts

There’s no guarantee, but we expect OpenAI to maintain a free version of ChatGPT forever. This would be consistent with their mission of openness and is a useful onboarding strategy to bring new users to the platform, some of whom upgrade to a paid subscription.

If you found this article useful, why not read Chat GPT chrome extension – how it works next?

Funmi joined PC Guide in November 2022, and was a driving force for the site's ChatGPT coverage. She has a wide knowledge of AI apps, gaming and consumer technology.