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No, really: Invite anyone to your tailnet

3 minsJanuary 26 2024
Parker Higgins
Parker Higgins

Right around the turn of the new year, we rolled out a little update to our user invite system. The change: you can now invite people who don't authenticate through GitHub to join a tailnet owned by a user who does.

For users who have built out tailnets based on a GitHub login and had run into this issue, it's a small headache relieved. But it also reflects a bigger milestone — we were finally able to remove the “limitations” section from our “Invite any user” documentation. The prevailing mood was 🥳.

It represents the culmination of a lot of work that’s gone into making multi-user personal tailnets a reality. To recap: Last April we allowed tailnets to have up to three users free. In practice though, many users couldn’t take advantage of it immediately. The door opened much wider in June with the introduction of “Invite any user,” but it still had a few pesky asterisks, including that limitation on GitHub tailnets and non-GitHub users.

Now, we’ve cleared those out of the way. When we say you can “invite any user” to your tailnet, we really mean it — invite any user to your tailnet, no matter what they use to authenticate.

The reason that’s important, and the reason we’re writing this blog post instead of just a line in our changelog, is because we really do think tailnets are more fun with friends. Alongside features like node sharing, multi-user tailnets are a great way to share a small personal slice of the internet with a roommate, a family member, a significant other, or a creative collaborator.

Tailscale has an unusual (and great!) blend of users that make up our install base. Currently, somewhere north of 4,000 businesses pay to use us “at work,” and many many more individuals use our free plan “at home.” There's plenty of overlap, too, which is our bread and butter: lots of individuals see how Tailscale simplifies networking their homelab or personal devices, and they bring it to their work teams. We’ve discussed this dynamic before, for example in “How our free plan stays free.”

Teams of coworkers usually “get” multi-user tailnets intuitively. They may use Tailscale to access shared private resources, or to connect to machines with well-defined access rules that map neatly to org charts. But we’re excited to see more and more personal users get value out of multi-user tailnets, too.

We’ve heard from people that share a Pi-hole for shared DNS rules, and couples that share access to media servers and backup storage, and lots of gamers who have granted server access to a friend. (We love hearing about these, by the way. If you’ve got a fun application for Tailscale in your life, send us a tweet or a toot about it.)

So, we’ve hit a little milestone and we wanted to celebrate. And if you want to join the celebration, what better way than inviting another user to your tailnet?

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