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The limitations of Zapier's free plan

The limitations of Zapier's free plan
June 21, 2020

Zapier has a free plan - which is great - but it comes with some restrictions.

In the quest to automate some of your business processes, you've probably come across Zapier. The best part; Zapier offers a free plan to help you get set up. You can build and run some basic workflows to see if Zapier is right for you. However, the free plan offered by Zapier does not allow you to experience its full power.

Today, we look at some of the limitations on Zapier’s free plan and what you get access to when upgrading to a paid plan.

1. Limited number of zaps

Zapier allows users on their free plan to run only a limited number of Zaps. At the time of writing this article, there is a limit of 5 zaps on the free plan. Zaps are another word for “automated workflows” on Zapier.

Only switched on zaps count towards this limit. This means that if you wanted to run more than 5 automated workflows at once, you'll need to upgrade.

2. Limited to Single-step zaps

A single-step zap has one trigger and one action. For instance, the trigger is a form filled in on your website the action is adding the person's details into your CRM.

A multi-step zap allows a single trigger to perform a series of actions. For example you might extend the zap above to then send a followup SMS to your potential customer.

The multi-step zap above has more than 4 steps allowing you to achieve several tasks after the trigger happens. It's not possible to build an automation like this on Zapier's free plan.

3. Limited access to apps

There are 61 premium apps that are only available to Zapier users on the paid plans. However, Zapier still has thousands of other apps available on connect, even on the free plan.

However, some of the premium apps that are not available on the free plan can be quite essential for many businesses. Examples include Shopify, Salesforce, Zendesk, PayPal and Facebook Lead Ads among others.

4. No filters & formatting

The free plan on Zapier does not give you the ability to set up filters for your zaps. Filters are steps that allow you to stop the zap from running based on certain criteria. This is because filters count as steps and adding one to your zap makes it a multi-step zap.

For example if you have a zap that triggers when someone fills in a form on your website, and you only want to send followup emails to people using a company email address, then you could add a filter to check if the email address ends in @google.com or @yahoo.com and stop the zap running if so.

A zap like this can't be run on a free plan.

Formatter steps, as well, let you transform or reformat input data for use in other steps in your zap. You'll need to be on a paid plan if you want to use them.

5. No custom integrations

There are thousands of apps available on Zapier, and unless they are marked premium, you can use them on a free plan. From time to time, however, you might want to use an app that doesn't exist on Zapier.

If this happens, you've got two options. You can connect to the app via their API using webhooks, or you can build a custom integration. But, both these options require you to be on a paid plan.

6. No auto-replay

It is common for errors to occur in Zapier. They happen for various reasons, and sometimes it's just because of random, temporary downtime in the app you're connecting to.

On Zapier’s free plan, this error will be recorded and reported to you but that is all. Beginning from the Professional paid plan and up, there is the auto-replay option, meaning Zapier will wait a few moments and try to run the zap again, starting from where it left off before. After several retries, if it's still failing, it will report the error to you.

7. Paths

One of the great features of Zapier is the ability to build advanced workflows using branch logic running several actions dependent on filters. This feature is known as Zapier Paths and is one of their more popular. To use it, you'll need to be on the Professional plan or above.

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