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:

  • I never really liked SourceForge's UI but it still feels like the site I think of when I think "open source project hosting".
  • Google Code Project Hosting looks clean and useful but doesn't seem as feature complete as SourceForge.
  • I've heard good things about Launchpad but don't know much about it nor do I know Bazaar (though I'd be interested in learning it).
  • I know almost nothing about GitHub and, like Bazaar, I don't know Git.

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

Recommended Sites:

+7  A: 

Codeplex and Google Code are my favorites. A lesser known one that I also like is DevjaVu. It's a subversion and trac hosting site.

Assembla is another option that seems to be gaining popularity.

Lance Fisher
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
+1  A: 

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

+1  A: 

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


Google Code is very nice.

Nick Berardi
+25  A: 

HUGE GitHub 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 (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.

James A. Rosen
+2  A: 

I wouldn't necessarily call this the best site, but GNU's Savannah 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.

Bruce Alderman
+2  A: 

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.


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

Orion Edwards

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.


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.

Ravi Chhabra
Where does it say that? I'm not saying you're wrong, I just couldn't find any mention of it in their ToS.
I asked them directly and they say this is not the case:
+4  A: 

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: it is not project-oriented, but user-oriented.
Lars Corneliussen
+70  A: 

As I switched with my projects recently from Sourceforge, I had a look at some project-hosting-platforms. This list is sorted alphabetically.


Berlios has taken the old Open-Source-Software from Sourceforge and developed it some further. Now it looks uglier than Sourceforge itself. ;-) It has most of the older features of Sourceforge (That does not include hosted apps). Berlios hosts more than 5000 projects.

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


GNA! is a hosting-platform 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


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: CVS, Subversion, Git, Mercurial
  • Communication: Wiki is a project-hosting-site for only Java-projects and Java-related communities. It has the same overcomplicated issue-tracker, that tigris also have. Other than that, the typical support, releases, website etc. Note: Kenai and will be merged in the near future.

  • free for: open-source software in Java or Java-related
  • supported version-control-systems: ?
  • Communication: ?


Kenai from Sun is a new contender and Beta at the moment. It has Forums, Mailinglists, Wiki, an issue-tracker, allows sub-projects, and supports hosting of Subversion or Mercurial. The UI of Kenai looks good, projects can be tagged and it has a tag-cloud. Note: Kenai and will be merged in the near future.

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

Microsoft Codeplex

Codeplex has a nice, but not very simple interface. It features releases, website, issue-tracker, statistics and Subversion/Team Foundation Server or Mercurial for source-code-control. The issue-tracker allows to vote on issues, very nice. Projects can be tagged and CodePlex shows a tag-cloud. CodePlex supports continuous-integration with - great feature.

  • free for: active open-source software
  • supported version-control-systems: Subversion/Team Foundation Server, Mercurial
  • Communication: Forums?


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


Sourceforge is the classic and the most projects will use it. It has many features, as an Issue-Tracker, Mailinglists, a Wiki, Forums, support for many version-control-systems, a shell-server, statistics, file-releases and much more. It hosts thousand of projects and is well-known. Sourceforge seems to be the only platform that allows to submit issues anonymously. Since 2001 the software behind Sourceforge became Closed-Source, before it was open-source. The subversion-server is somewhat slow. The UI looks nice, but 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.

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


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

Good, I hope this list gives some key-features of some typical sites. I hope I forgot no important site. I myself transferred my projects to origo, but decide for yourself. I will try to update this answer, as I get new information.

Thank you, your answer is really helpful for me. For a beginner like me Code Google is best option.
I find Google Code's issue tracker to be rather weak. SourceForge's is a disaster. Kenai is excellent on this front.
This answer is very out of date now, much of the information has changed in the last year and a half.
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.
+2  A: 

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 showing many of the options available.

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

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.

Anyone could share experience ? Formerly known as


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.


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.

Amit Kumar
+1  A: 

Well, personally I use both Google Code and CodePlex.

Lex Li
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
+1  A: 

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/freeHG + hgsvn (hgsvn is not near the level of git-svn or bzr-svn, but good enough to keep a read-only svn mirror).


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

Jakub Narębski
+8  A: 

GitHub 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 :)
Thanks - I fixed it.

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.


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.

+1  A: 

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.


If you need Continuous Integration, Viewtier provides a free hosted version of Parabuild.

Slava Imeshev


It's a great way to post your project with ease!

+13  A: 

(Given how outdated the other answers are, I decided to give a new updated answer. For example, the top voted answer doesn't mention GitHub)

I don't think there's a single "best" site, but 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 the best user audience that would download your software (e.g. 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 number of users and projects) are: CodePlex, Google Code, GitHub, and SourceForge.

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 so in all likelihood your project will get more downloads 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 is info on each of the four major sites with key comparison information about their development capabilities and audience (alphabetical order):


  • 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.


  • 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

  • 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.


  • 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 of open source project hosting sites with some information about things like features and size.

What you should search if you want to find blogs on Google code is `label:blog`.
Searching for "label:blog" on Google Code is a little better, though half the first page is still non-blog related, so not great. Needing to search for "label:blog" versus just "blog" to get anywhere near decent results is still messed up.
Why does it matter what version of mercurial the server uses? It doesn't matter much, or at least shouldn't...
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.
+2  A: 

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.

Abhishek Jha