Stack OverflowBest Open Source Project Hosting Site
[+126] [25] Cristian
[2008-08-13 23:43:54]
[ open-source polls project-hosting free-software ]

I want to start an open source project, but the rise in hosting sites leaves me a little paralyzed with choice. I know a little about several:

Does anyone have any experience with these sites or some other cool code host? Any recommendations?

(1) Would be nice if a comparison of features could be listed with the recommended sites. As well as the one you select & your reasons for it. - slashmais
(2) I feel this question is too general and lacks of some anchor to mkae proper comparison. Could you please specify your requirements, important features, what are your priorities? Then it will be easier to give precise answer. - mloskot
(1) From your question, It seems that you are using svn as your Version Control System. Do yourself a favor, and move to a DVCS. At least try it out. The difference is staggering. - Tchalvak
[+110] [2008-09-27 12:26:49] Mnementh

The following list and my criteria are totally subjective and someone else may choose different sites and has different things that are important. But I hope my list gives some help for choosing a good platform for hosting your software. I talk here only about my personal experiences with the platforms, someone else may share other experiences in other answers.

An source-hosting-platform consists for me mostly for three features: Version-Control, Bugtracker and a possibility to provide downloads. All entries listed here match these criteria. But especially the bugtracker is of varying quality in these different platforms. Also many sites offer additional features, that may be useful.

  • simple/good for beginner: Google Code, Github, Bitbucket, Origo (GNA and Savannah are also not too complicated)
  • platform-code is open-source: GNA!, Savannah, launchpad, Berlios, GForge
  • advanced branching-support: Github (git), Bitbucket (Mercurial), launchpad (Bazaar)
  • Mailing-lists: Sourceforge, Berlios, GForge, GNA!, Savannah, Tigris

There are no special support for different operating systems, as wrongly stated by another answer. That shouldn't influence anyones decision.

SourceForge [1]

Sourceforge is the grandmother of open-source hosting platforms. It has many features, like Mailinglists, a Wiki, Forums, support for many version-control-systems, a shell-server, statistics and much more. Sourceforge is one of the few platforms that allows to submit issues anonymously. Since 2001 the software behind Sourceforge became Closed-Source, before it was open-source. In my opinion the main project-site gets fast too crowded. Too much information at once is a little bit confusing. The UI can be used without Javascript for normal users, but project-admins will need Javascript for some functionality, especially for file releases. Sourceforge allows to access all sites via https. Sourceforge has advertisements on the sf-sites (the site it hosts for you is fully under your control and contains no ads, except you put them there). The killer-feature are without a question the hosted apps. If you dislike the (mediocre) issue-tracker from sourceforge - deactivate it and use Trac or Mantis. You can also deactivate the forums and use phpBB. Wordpress, Mediawiki or different project-management-tools are other options. Hosted apps are a great addition.

Sourceforge is no good start for beginners, because it's so complicated and the interface so cluttered. But if you miss certain features, you may be right on Sourceforge. You have a shell, you can setup your own websites for the project, you have access to a vast amount of hosted apps. Mailinglists are also an feature only few sites are offering.

  • free for: open-source software
  • supported version-control-systems: Subversion, Git, Mercurial, Bazaar, CVS
  • Communication: Forum, Mailinglist, as hosted app: Blog, Wiki

Berlios [2], GForge [3]

As Sourceforge put its interface-software under a propietary license, some sites took the older open-source-version and started own hosting services. That means the sites have the older features of Sourceforge, but developed a little itself from that.

  • free for: open-source software
  • supported version-control-systems: CVS, Subversion, Git, Mercurial
  • Communication: Forum, Mailinglist, Wiki

Bitbucket [4], GitHub [5]

These two hosting-sites are build around the features of distributed version-control. That's why the sites can handle different branches for a project. The issue-tracker of GitHub needs Javascript to work, with BitBucket it works without Javascript. If activated the issues look somewhat confusing, but it works. An account is needed to create new issues.

  • free for: projects with up to 5 users, different fees for more
  • supported version-control-systems: Mercurial (BitBucket) / Git (GitHub)
  • Communication: Wiki

GNA! [6], Savannah [7]

GNA! and Savannah both use the same software, I tested GNA some time ago. Both are hosting-platforms of the GNU-project, but also non-gnu-projects are allowed, if they conform to free licenses and can run on a completely free system (for example: Windows-only-program are not allowed, but multiplatform Linux/Windows-programs). Interesting is, that GNA also allows Documentation- and Organization-projects. GNA supports releases, projectsites, issue-tracking, news. Nice feature is, it hosts the GPG-key of project-members. Clean UI, seems a good choice. I would have tested it, but I never got the e-mail for validation of my account, so I wasn't able to use. Hopefully a temporary problem. GNA hosts more than 1000 projects.

  • free for: open-source software, free documentation and organizational projects around free software
  • supported version-control-systems: CVS, Gnu Arch, Subversion
  • Communication: Mailinglist

Google Code [8]

The hosting-platform from Google. It has the nicest and cleanest interface of all contestants. It has a Wiki, Downloads, an issue-tracker and supports subversion and Mercurial. Projects get tags and you can search for the tags. Google restricts the licenses you can choose, but as the accepted licenses are very common Open-Source-Licenses, that seems no big problem. The problem for me was that you need a google-account. So Google can gather much data from the different services they have and can combine all the data for you as a user. Even worse: Every user who wants to submit a bug has to sign on for an Google-account. Google might be not evil, but I don't want to give them the chance to become evil. Besides that the platform looks very good.

  • free for: open-source software
  • supported version-control-systems: Subversion, Mercurial
  • Communication: Wiki

launchpad [9]

Launchpad is the platform of Ubuntu, but it can be used by everyone. It has many function, but the downside of this is, that the usage of the platform can be confusing. Launchpad provides you an OpenID. You can add your GPG- and SSh-keys. It is easy to use external version-control, launchpad can mirror many VCS into an internal bazaar-branch. It has special support for translation. Additional to the bugtrackers users can submit questions for you to answer. Launchpad supports multiple branches for a project.

Launchpad can easily mirror external version-control-system. That's why it can be used additionally to another hosting-site.

  • free for: open-source software
  • supported version-control-systems: Bazaar (but mirrors external repositories from SVN, CVS, Bazaar, Mercurial, Git)
  • Communication: Answers

Origo [10]

Origo is created by the ETHZ, a well-known university in Switzerland. Origo has a clean UI, supports Wiki-sites, Forums, a blog and releases (no mailinglists). The issue-tracker is simple in the usage. The supported version-control is Subversion. Origo support software-and non-software-projects and also Closed-Source-Projects. Origo has some basic social-networking abilities like friends.

  • free for: software and non-software
  • supported version-control-systems: Subversion
  • Communication: Forum, Blog, Wiki

Tigris [11]

Tigris has a nice website, supports Subversion and has also releases and mailinglists. The issue-tracker is overcomplicated in my opinion. Tigris is restricted to only projects, that create tools for software-developers.

  • free for: open-source tools for software-developers
  • supported version-control-systems: Subversion
  • Communication: Forums, Mailing-lists, Wiki

CodePlex [12]

CodePlex is Microsoft's open source project hosting web site. Codeplex has a somewhat crowded User Interface, but it is clearer than Sourceforge. Seems to be used strongly for .Net-Development.

  • free for: open-source software
  • supported version-control-systems: Mercurial, TFS
  • Communication: Forum, Mailing lists, Wiki

(1) Thank you, your answer is really helpful for me. For a beginner like me Code Google is best option. - Sharique
I find Google Code's issue tracker to be rather weak. SourceForge's is a disaster. Kenai is excellent on this front. - Gili
(1) This answer is very out of date now, much of the information has changed in the last year and a half. - jwanagel
You are right, Kenai and will be merged in the near future. All other platforms need a look too, many implement always new features. As I don't have the time at the moment, please wait some days, that will give me some time to reevaluate the different options. And thanks for your hint. - Mnementh
I added github and launchpad. - Mnementh
@jwanagel: Can you please stop to sort this list after popularity (based on a survey you did yourself for Codeplex:… That's why suprisingly CodePlex is for you under most popular, although it is in reality not that popular.). I don't think 'popularity' is a good sort-order, as that is hard to measure independently and the question was about 'best' and not 'most popular'. Stop try pushing CodePlex, you are seemingly involved with. Change your own answer as you wish, instead of the upvoted. - Mnementh
(1) @jwanagel: Please stop to substantially change MY answer. You can edit your own answer in any way you like. - Mnementh
Alexa is an independent way of measuring the popularity of a site. Popularity seems very relevant when looking for hosting site since good sites become popular. - jwanagel
I am involved with CodePlex, which is why I'm an expert in open source project hosting sites. StackOverflow is based on experts sharing their knowledge. All of my edits have been factual and insightful. - jwanagel
It's no longer an "answer", it's a community wiki. It has received additional upvotes based on my edits, so it's not fair for you to revert changes that people have upvoted without any reasonable explanation. - jwanagel
I never set it to community wiki, it was automatically converted. - Mnementh
Besides, the answer got most of the upvotes before your changes. As I said so often: Change your own answer and do the stuff you like, don't take over another answer. Your involvement with CodePlex is important, because you tried to change this answer to put CodePlex as one of the most popular sites, based on a bogus survey you did for CodePlex. - Mnementh
I'll quote the StackOverFlow FAQ: "Other people can edit my stuff?! Like Wikipedia, this site is collaboratively edited, and all edits are tracked. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your questions and answers being edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you." - jwanagel
I am basing popularity on site traffic (i.e. Alexa ranking). How is that not a fair popularity measurement? I don't see how you can say site traffic is a "bogus" way of measuring site popularity. I only included a link to the survey as additional data I thought people would find valuable. - jwanagel
(1) I added CodePlex. - LightWing
[+35] [2008-08-14 00:52:40] James A. Rosen

HUGE GitHub [1] fan. It only takes a day or two of regular use to get used to Git. Of course it takes months to get really good at it, but the basic functionality really isn't that hard.

GitHub [2] (well, Git in general, but GitHub even more so) makes forking and branching so easy that open source becomes truly a social activity. Much more pleasant than all of the bickering back and forth about commits in SVN.


[+24] [2010-08-08 10:31:09] jwanagel

I don't think there's a single "best" site, so I think the two most important things to consider in choosing an open source project hosting site are:

  • What development capabilities you want (such as source control type)

  • Which has a user audience that best matches your software (for example what operating system does your project software run on)

There are dozens of different open source project hosting sites, but the four major ones (in terms of site traffic, users and projects) are: CodePlex [1], Google Code [2], GitHub [3], and SourceForge [4].

While many sites have good development features, I would recommend first considering one of the major ones since they have a much larger user base and so in all likelihood your project will get more downloads and contributions if hosted on one of them. They will also help with things like the search engine rankings of your project since their domains generally have the highest importance with the search engines.

Here's a good "cheat sheet" decision tool for picking among the four major sites:

  • If your software runs on Windows, then CodePlex [5] has the most Windows oriented user base, and also has some Windows only features none of the other sites have (for example, Live Writer and ClickOnce support).

  • If you want to use Git, then GitHub [6] is the obvious choice. SourceForge also offers Git, but very few Git users pick SourceForge over GitHub.

  • If you want to use Mercurial, then CodePlex [7] offers the best Mercurial support among the four. Though BitBucket [8] is another good site for Mercurial support that's more popular among Linux and Mac users.

  • If you want to use Subversion, then Google Code [9] offers the best Subversion support. Though the other three do offer Subversion support as well.

  • If you want to use Team Foundation Server, then CodePlex [10] is the only site which offers it.

  • If you want to use CVS or Bazaar, then SourceForge [11] is the only one of the four that offer them. However Launchpad [12] is a good site for Bazaar support.

Here is more info on each of the four major sites with key comparison information about their development capabilities and audience (alphabetical order):

CodePlex [13]

  • Development Capabilities - CodePlex is the best choice if you want to use Mercurial or Team Foundation Server for source control, although CodePlex also offers support for Subversion clients. CodePlex is the only site that offers Team Foundation Server, and provides better Mercurial support than either Google Code or SourceForge (e.g. only CodePlex runs the latest version of Mercurial while the others are multiple versions behind). CodePlex also has the largest number of .NET developers so if you're project is written in .NET and you're looking for other developers to join your project then it's the best place to find them.

  • Site Audience - CodePlex has the highest concentration of users running Windows, so if your project software runs on Windows then it's the best place for your project to find users. CodePlex also does a good job of promoting projects through things like its project search and directory, RSS feeds, search engine indexing, etc.

GitHub [14]

  • Development Capabilities - GitHub is the best choice if you want to use Git for source control, although it also offers support for Subversion clients. GitHub offers better Git support then SourceForge since Git is really the core of what GitHub is about. GitHub was the first of the four sites to support a DVCS (distributed version control system), although all four now offer a DVCS option. GitHub also has the largest number of Ruby developers, and a large number of JavaScript developers, so if you're project is written in those and you're looking for other developers to join your project then it's the best place to find them.

  • Site Audience - GitHub probably has the largest Mac user base of the four sites, as well as a strong Linux user base. It has the smallest number of Windows users of the four sites. GitHub does a good job of promoting projects with it's project search and repository list, trending repositories, search engine indexing, etc.

Google Code [15]

  • Development Capabilities - Google Code is a good choice if you want to use Subversion for source control, although it also offers support for Mercurial. SourceForge also has good Subversion support, but between the two, developers tend to prefer Google Code over SourceForge. Google Code has a very large number of Java and Python developers, so if you're project is written in one of those and you're looking for other developers to join your project then it's the best place to find them.

  • Site Audience - Google Code has a pretty balanced audience, but does very little to help promote projects. Ironically, their project search is not very good (e.g. search for "blog" and not a single blogging software project shows up in the first page of results). Generally out of the four sites it will offer the least benefits in getting project downloads.

SourceForge [16]

  • Development Capabilities - SourceForge is the best choice of the four if you want to use CVS or Bazaar since it's the only one that offers them, but is also a good choice for Subversion. Although SourceForge is the most criticized by developers of the four sites for site quality and reliability issues.

  • Site Audience - SourceForge has by far the largest user audience with over 20 million visitors a month, and the largest number of Linux users, but generally has a lot of users of all types. However because the site hosts hundreds of thousands of projects the audience is very diluted so can make it difficult for new projects to get downloads. SourceForge does offer good project promotion features such as project search and category browsing, popular and active projects, etc.


Besides the four major sites, Wikipedia offers a good list [17] of various other open source project hosting sites with some information about things like features and popularity.


What you should search if you want to find blogs on Google code is label:blog. - DMan
Why does it matter what version of mercurial the server uses? It doesn't matter much, or at least shouldn't... - alternative
Some new features in Mercurial only work if the server is also running the latest version. There are also bug fixes that apply to the server. - jwanagel
Codeplex is just boringly slow. - rds
I don't understand the "boringly slow" comment. CodePlex is a lot faster than GitHub for example. Both are very fast from the USA, but I used to test both from Germany (using IE 8 & FIOS), and CodePlex was twice as fast on the first page load, and 5x as fast on the second page load. This was for compared to Not sure how long they keep these reports but here they are: and - jwanagel
Since when is CodePlex in the most popular platforms? Seems very subjective statement. Do you have numbers to support this? - Mnementh
CodePlex is in the top five in site traffic ( and also a recent survey on open source developer preferences (…). - jwanagel
The survey is partitioned for users of different platforms. Only for Windows-developers CodePlex is relevant in the results. The blog-entry don't show raw data (raw data should be offered for every survey, as that is important to interpret the results), so you cannot see, how much of the participants even develop on Windows. As this is about Open-Source-development, ou can suspect not much, so CodePlex is overall of minor importance. How the participants were chosen and how they should answer is not detailed, that may skew results also. And - as said there - it is not representative. - Mnementh
You're correct that the survey is not a measurement of the number of open source developers using Windows versus Linux. However given that CodePlex is the 4th most popular open source hosting site in the world, then I think that it is of significant importance, not just "minor importance". - jwanagel
[+8] [2009-02-03 20:41:33] trevorturk

GitHub [1] is the clear winner in my book. Even if you don't know git, it's easy to get the basics down, and they have a good selection of guides available.


A "t" is missing in your link :) - vobject
Thanks - I fixed it. - trevorturk
[+6] [2010-09-12 00:56:55] Abhishek Jha

Notepad++ has moved from to in 2010 because Since January 2010, SourceForge has complied with US law to deny site access from 5 countries (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria).

If you are creating a globally accessible project, then move away from sourceforge to some other code-hosting providers.

You're totally right abuot Sourceforge and access denied to some countries :/ - Oscar Mederos
Although the same happens with Google Code - Oscar Mederos
(1) Yep, the both do it like that, but you always have web proxies and tunnels.... :) - David Conde
[+6] [2008-08-13 23:48:58] Lance Fisher

Codeplex [1] and Google Code [2] are my favorites.

Assembla [3] is another option that seems to be gaining popularity.

EDIT: This answer is pretty out-dated. I'd go with github [4] now for sure.


(1) I used several hosting solutions and so far Google Code is the winner. Do not be afraid about the simplicity - in fact this is a feature and you will find how powerful and the boost of productivity you'll get from it. - Sorin Sbarnea
This is out-dataed. I'd go with github too. - Lance Fisher
[+6] [2008-08-26 14:12:29] skinp

I've tried 2 project hosting sites:

I'm now mostly using BitBucket.


Bitbucket is cool. And mercurial, too :-) I hosted my jQuery syntax highlighter plugin there: But it is not project-oriented, but user-oriented. - Lars Corneliussen
Bitbucket & Mercurial is the best combination. - Denis Golomazov
[+3] [2008-10-24 17:02:56] CalvinTreg

I have used both Sourceforge and Google Code, and would have to say that using Google Code was more intuitive, although I do agree with Mnementh's comments about Google accounts.

There is a good comparison list at ibiblio [1] showing many of the options available.

There is also a page on wikipedia [2] with some information as well. Have a look at the discussion page for comments and experiences.


(3) Note that the ibiblio list hasn't been updated since 2004, but it does give a nice list of the features you might want on your hosting site. - gareth_bowles
[+1] [2009-02-03 20:39:04] Jakub Narębski

A list of software hosting sites that support git [1], with a short description of each site, can be found at Git Hosting [2] page at git wiki. This list can be seen as completion for a well written and descriptive list given by Mnementh

The options for a software hosting site that supports darcs are being collected at Which public hosting sites for darcs projects are there? [3].


[+1] [2008-08-14 04:37:08] Bruce Alderman

I wouldn't necessarily call this the best site, but GNU's Savannah [1] is worth a mention, simply because of the importance of GNU in the history of free software. Savannah hosts non-GNU projects too, as long as they conform to the Free Software Foundation's guidelines.


[+1] [2008-08-14 06:27:58] pbh101

I've used Google Code for small-ish projects and enjoyed the experience: the UI is clean and helpful, and the basic bug-tracking and Wiki elements seem well-implemented, although our team didn't use them extensively. There's a 100mb limit, but we found it only seemed to apply to ASCII/text data; we uploaded more than that in images and there was no complaint.

I've never hosted anything on SourceForge, but many times I've tried finding both code and documentation there and I've found that to be more difficult than it should.

[0] [2008-08-14 00:00:40] lomaxx

I also like Assembla as it has integration with Trac [1] built in out of the box which is pretty nice.


[0] [2008-08-14 00:13:53] UnkwnTech

I've never used Google Code, but I do agree that the SF UI is a bit archaic.

[0] [2008-08-14 00:22:17] Nick Berardi

Google Code is very nice.

[0] [2008-08-15 00:20:51] icco

I've had really good experiences with DevjaVu. They basically give you a full Trac install with SVN. The only issue I've found is that their free account is rather limited, and anything outside of that is expensive.

[0] [2008-08-25 14:25:51] Ravi Chhabra

Google Code prohibits commercialization. Meaning if you plan to latter offer your software in dual license terms, than you can not host it with Google. If you are fine with this, no problem. Do read the ToS of any host you would choose and let us know which one you choose and the reasons for the choice. Thanks.

Where does it say that? I'm not saying you're wrong, I just couldn't find any mention of it in their ToS. - rwallace
(3) I asked them directly and they say this is not the case:… - rwallace
[0] [2008-11-13 22:36:36] community_owned

If you want your project to succeed, it is important to be part of the right community. E.g., for developer tools, for firefox stuff, for general Java development,,, etc. If you don't qualify for one of those, then try SF or Google Code so that people can at least find you. If you don't care about people finding your code, then just keep it on your own harddisk.

[0] [2008-11-29 11:18:19] phaedrus

I would like to add that google code compares much better to sourceforge - google code has a clearer interfaces, and much faster access. Yes, google code is feature complete - does not seem so because of the bias that sourceforge's cluttered face produces. The forum related activities can be handled through google groups - using google groups for software forum is a convention of all google projects.

I have used both sourceforge and google code, and now am heavily inclined towards google code. To me sourceforge seems to be degrading everyday, while google code is improving everyday.

[0] [2008-11-29 11:25:12] Lex Li

Well, personally I use both Google Code and CodePlex.

And so how do they differ? - Thomas Ahle
CodePlex has better usability features I like, while Google Code is simple to start. You can check other comments in this thread or try them out yourself. - Lex Li
[0] [2008-11-29 11:41:57] orip

IMO the problem with SourceForge is the high learning curve for admins and users and the complexity of some features.

I recently moved to Google Code - it takes a few minutes to get up and running, and it's very easy to use for both admins and users. It's also popular enough that people probably passed its learning curve on someone else's project.

I like to use Bazaar, so I host the code on Launchpad, and use use bzr-svn to keep the svn repository on Google Code updated - everyone knows svn, bzr is more niche. It's possible to do the same with Git + GitHub + git-svn or Mercurial + Bitbucket [1]/ freeHG [2] + hgsvn [3] (hgsvn is not near the level of git-svn or bzr-svn, but good enough to keep a read-only svn mirror).


[0] [2011-02-22 10:06:59] onedeadgod

This is a great resource of information. I have been looking for a review on project hosting. Right now, the main ones I use (limited to 2 links...still a newbie): - Not really a host, but a community for XNA devs

[0] [2009-06-21 00:53:54] nairdaen

I've only used Assembla when dealing with Project Hosting Sites, a year ago after using it for a couple months, I decided to host my projects myself. This has many advantages such as:

  • You decide the technologies to use.
  • You have no restrictions in user accounts, databases and disk space. Well, you do but you can also deal with this easily.

On the other hand, this has disadvantages like:

  • Bandwith, determined by your ISP.
  • You may not have a public IP address.
  • You must spend some time configuring your project server, depending on the technologies you need.

It's up to you. Most of the time, I feel comfortable hosting on my own.

Hey, I almost forgot. These days almost any technology has it's "open source" or "free" version, so you would be able to host any kind of project.

[0] [2009-06-21 03:39:30] mnuzzo

Github is free and is where the Linux source is currently managed. It actually has relatively few ads and allows other people to run derivative projects of yours if they choose. They can then request that their modifications be placed into the main project.

[0] [2010-01-29 16:54:02] Rosarch

I have had a good experience hosting a tiny project on CodePlex. The interface, while not the most beautiful in the world, is intuitive to use. The version control with the Subclipse plugin for Eclipse worked flawlessly.

[-1] [2008-08-14 07:05:25] Orion Edwards

I've only used google code, but I am more than happy with it. +1