If you’re looking for the best AI image generator out there, we don’t think you need to look much further than Midjourney. Even though it isn’t backed by a large company like DALL-E’s creator OpenAI, it can create incredibly lifelike and realistic images. But is Midjourney free to use or will you have to fork over your payment information first? Here’s everything you need to know.

Is Midjourney AI free?

midjourney example prompt

Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

Midjourney is no longer free to use, except for some brief promotional periods. When the service first launched in July 2022, anyone could use it to generate 25 images for free. All you had to do was sign up for a free Discord account and join the Midjourney server. The free trial would activate as soon as you sent your first prompt. Once you reached the 25-image limit, however, you had to upgrade to a paid plan.

All of that changed in April 2023 when Midjourney’s CEO announced a pause on the free trial program. It’s not hard to see why, even though the move has disappointed many would-be users. Over the past year or so, Midjourney has become widely popular and discussed on platforms like Twitter and Reddit. Moreover, the image generator’s latest major release (v5.1) can outperform much of the competition, driving even more new users to it.

Midjourney’s popularity has overloaded servers and put an end to the free trial.

So with a sudden influx of free trial users, Midjourney reportedly could no longer keep up with the demand. AI image generators require specialized hardware to run. More specifically, they use power-hungry GPUs that not only cost a lot of money to run but also only exist in limited numbers. So to preserve the quality of service, the company has effectively discontinued its free trial until further notice.

Luckily, however, free trial access may still return at some point in the future. With the launch of Midjourney 5.1, for example, Midjourney reinstated the free trial for one weekend.

How much does Midjourney cost?

For now, you’ll need to subscribe to one of three subscription plans in order to use Midjourney. With each increasing tier, you get a higher limit that allows you to generate more images in a single month. And if you’re willing to wait a bit between images, you can generate an unlimited number of them with the higher-end plans.

So what are Midjourney’s subscription plans and how much do they cost? Here’s a quick look:

Basic Plan Standard Plan Pro Plan
Monthly cost Basic Plan

$10

Standard Plan

$30

Pro Plan

$60

Annual cost (20% off monthly) Basic Plan

$96

Standard Plan

$288

Pro Plan

$576

Fast GPU allowance Basic Plan

3.3 hours/month

Standard Plan

15 hours/month

Pro Plan

30 hours/month

Relaxed mode allowance Basic Plan

0 minutes

Standard Plan

Unlimited, dynamic queue system

Pro Plan

Unlimited, dynamic queue system

Private generations Basic Plan

No. Images publicly visible at all times

Standard Plan

No. Images publicly visible at all times

Pro Plan

Available via Stealth mode

On average, Midjourney takes one minute to finish generating a new image. However, you might have to spend a bit more time if you want an upscaled image or a non-square aspect ratio output. So with that knowledge, we can extrapolate that the basic plan will net you approximately 200 image generations. However, you can also request a lower-quality image to complete the job quicker.

Midjourney’s Fast vs. Relaxed modes: What’s the difference?

You may have noticed that the higher-end plans get an unlimited number of “Relaxed” hours. That’s on top of the Standard plan’s 15-hour and Pro plan’s 30-hour Fast mode allowances. So what’s the difference?

  • Fast mode: If you choose to use Midjourney’s Fast mode, images will be generated as soon as possible. You won’t have to worry about waiting in line behind others. However, even the most expensive paid plan has a monthly limit on the number of images generated in Fast mode.
  • Relaxed mode: Midjourney’s Standard and Pro plans include unlimited usage of relaxed GPU time. In this mode, your image requests will get sent to a queue. Generation can take anywhere between one and ten minutes to complete. However, your position in the queue will depend on your usage. If you use relaxed mode very frequently, Midjourney will place your requests at a lower priority than others. This is known as Midjourney’s dynamic queue.

If you need additional time in Fast mode, Midjourney also lets you pay $4 per additional hour of GPU compute time.

What are some alternatives to Midjourney AI?

Stock photo of Bing logo with monitor next to it 2

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Midjourney may offer excellent AI-generated images, but those come at a rather hefty price. Even if you do fork over some cash for a paid plan, you will have to carefully balance your allocated hours. Luckily, though, there are plenty of Midjourney alternatives you can use instead. We have a dedicated list of the best AI image generators but if you’re in a hurry, here are a couple of options:

  1. Bing Image Creator: If you need a free alternative to Midjourney, look no further than Bing Image Creator. Thanks to Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI, you can use the DALL-E 2 image generator via Bing for free. You get 100 boost credits to start with and unlimited slower generations thereafter.
  2. DreamStudio: Midjourney works exclusively through the chat app Discord at the moment, which you may not find very intuitive to use. DreamStudio, on the other hand, offers a rich website with lots of buttons and dials you can fine-tune. It uses the open-source Stable Diffusion model under the hood.
  3. Stable Diffusion Online: Like DreamStudio, this option uses the Stable Diffusion model. However, it’s a much simpler interface with no settings or styles to choose from. On the plus side, it’s completely free as long as you’re willing to wait a few minutes for each image to generate.

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