Project hosting, a common question

Ok, you’ve finished your project, you’ve taken great notes along the way and photographed every step. Now you want to share. Where will you post it? There are a lot of options out there, private hosting, Hackaday,  instructables, and tons of others. How can you decide? Here are some handy break downs to help you figure it out at a glance.

Each has its own pros and cons. Take a peek at our list after the break and share your own as well.


1. Send it to Hackaday.com
What? Hackaday will host my project? Yes, possibly. We won’t host everything, but we really do like to host cool stuff. As far as we’re concerned, it isn’t much different from linking to your project on another site.  We still write an article, we still give you full credit, you just don’t have to put it up elsewhere.

Pros: Tons of readers. Free.
Cons: Not a system where you can log in and edit. You send to us, if it is cool, we post it.


2. Instructables.com
This is a very common option. It is easy to set up, quite popular, well promoted. However, we see complaints about it daily due to the cons.

Pros: Huge reader base already there. Tools to make documenting easier. Free.
Cons: The advertisements are overpowering sometimes. People have to log in to view all of your photos.

 


3.Your own private site.
Absolute control.

Pros: You have full control of the look, feel, and behavior.
Cons: This can cost a little money for hosting and be time-consuming. It isn’t that fun if you hate web design either.

 


4. A forum.

This is a pretty common one. It can be nice to follow along as a project develops but popular ones can string out over many pages. It can get tiring trying to dig the important information out of a popular forum thread.

Pros: You have full control of the content.
Cons: not a great layout for following a project. People might need to log in to see it.

Our Suggestion:

Your own personal site. Sure, it can be a pain to set one up and get hosting. Ultimately though, you have the most control of your content. With Fantastico becoming more common on hosts, you may not even have to learn any html. Just pay your hosting fee, log in and push a button and you have wordress or joomla or drupal installed.

Tell us what other places you host your projects and why you would choose them. Would anyone like a basic tutorial on setting up a simple site to host your own project?

Comments

  1. Daid says:

    And how about just hosting it on wordpress.com instead of setting up your own wordpress(.org)

  2. Kevin Gunn says:

    Don’t forget http://makeprojects.com/

    It’s still getting off the ground, but is promising in terms of eventually having the same pros as Instructables, but it doesn’t seem to have the same drawbacks (ads ads ads).

  3. stuckatwork says:

    Anything but instructables!

  4. Mike Szczys says:

    If you want a quick and easy way to document your projects without learning anything new go get an account at Posterous. Just write an email about your project and it takes care of the rest.

    Here’s what mine looks like: http://szczys.posterous.com/

  5. I offer hosting for the asking, pretty much — just email me.

  6. rob says:

    what about something like blogger? googlepages?

  7. godi says:

    Although I don’t ride along on the current of (very) negative sentiments in recent discussions on HaD regarding Instructables, it certainly is not my preferred or favorite site. Thank you for lining out the available options, hopefully thereby once and for all making any negative comments here towards Instructables moot.

  8. WHAZUUUUP says:

    Get a free Google account and create a Google wsite! Everything free and enough space to upload stuff. No worries to use HTML.

  9. Brian says:

    Squarespace! I hate to be a fanboy but they are great at hosting. The support is fast and skilled. I can’t say enough good things about this service.

    And no, they don’t pay me. :) Just a satisfied customer.

  10. Grovenstien says:

    Forums can sometimes lose your thread or delete it if it becomes old!

  11. djrussell says:

    when using forums your posts can be spread over multiple pages. one way around this is to reserve the first few posts if they allow you to edit later on.

  12. Chris Muncy says:

    One thing about a user forum is that if you do post up a project that’s complete, great, as all of the info could be in one link.

    If you are working on a project and want active feedback or your project is slow to develop and still want to show your progress then a forum can be used for that as well.

    ( I really would like to see HaD get a forum up :p )

    WordPress would be a great spot to host a project as well. Minimal advertising, the ability to post comments, free.

    A lot of good ideas as well listed above. But I really would love to see HaD host this idea.

    For example: http://www.jeepforums.com
    Great site for the jeepers in us. Tech support, build pages, classifieds, news. All inclusive. I think there are enough daily readers of HaD that adding a forum type structure would boost the sites activity.

  13. techyguru says:

    Host it yourself!

    I was worried about the load from all the readers. But altimatly my 6 year old desktop/server handled it easily. It was actually quite fun to watch the traffic come from all over the world. For tracking I use sitemeter.com and so does HaD.

    You don’t need to pay for a static IP just get dynamic DNS setup, I use freedns.afraid.org

    And now I have a website for anything else I need, like running a web proxy to get around my work’s bluecoat filter. The try to keep me off HaD, but it doesn’t work.

  14. nah! says:

    how about dropbox?
    as long as there is no interactive content it pretty does the job

  15. JC says:

    Worpress is pretty good. Or I’ll host your project on my site, just ask.

  16. Hackius says:

    Blogger is free an perfect for such needs.

  17. dude42 says:

    I have my own host, with a TB a month bandwidth and 50 gigs of storage that I use for all sorts of crap

    that being said the last time I had a project page I did not stay on top of it daily and it was hacked giving users one of those stupid XP virus warning things, I just dont do enough projects to babysit it

    I post on instructables because of the large user base and the other perks that come along with being a decently rated author, from a silly Halloween card to swag (wearing a instructables T-shirt right now) to being able to enter awesome contest’s

    and honestly if everything I posted on instructables was on a home site, it may not be there tomorrow and it sure as hell would not get the amount of eyeballs (my jog wheel is already up to 30,000 views)

  18. osgeld says:

    oops that last post was from me, I just hadnt changed the user name from one of the times I was banned lol

    Osgeld

  19. Kevin says:

    Github, Launchpad, Google Code, Assembla, Sourceforge, etc. are all great VERSION CONTROLLED free repository hosts.

    Everyone should use version control.

    There are other ways to publish a project (and a forum or blog might be perfect for that), but hosting is an entirely different thing.

    As a side note, I missed the past discussions, but I wanted to add my voice that I’m totally anti-Instructables. It’s unfortunate that so many good projects violate the hacker ethic by being posted on a site with overwhelming advertisements which is crippled until you “Go pro”. Log out of your account, and try to browse your projects. It’s pretty gross.

    • N0LKK says:

      Being totally anti-Instructables is your right, but I find it odd that many of us non “pro” visitors aren’t experiencing an instructables site that’s overwhelmed by advertising. In the event anyone posting a project is violating some hacker ethic, can only mean there are some nonsense hacker ethics.

      Yes Google docs works well for sharing information without creating a full blown web page somewhere. Perhaps I don’t fully understand the capabilities of repositories, and I thought them an adjunct to the primary project page.

  20. nooooo says:

    http://www.wordpress.com
    http://www.blogger.com

    both are free blogging platforms and would work great for hosting projects. not to mention them as viable options in this article is ridiculous. they are a perfect happy medium between instructables/forum and hosting your own site. there are probably other free options available too… google around.

    in my opinion instructables really really sucks. the ads are horrendous and have just gotten worse. they are just profiting off of the community and its gross. i wish people would abandon it altogether. why do the work for someone else to benefit from it?

    forums are good places for questions/answers but lousy for documentation. see reasons noted in the comments above.

    best: start your own site. if you are reading HAD often chances are you can handle it. hosting costs are super-duper cheap and lots of places allow for one click installs of apps like wordpress, or drupal.

  21. sp00nix says:

    if anyone wants to make a site for projects thats free to access im willing to host it. I hate the current sites, real PITA.

  22. nes says:

    They’re all valid suggestions. I’ve used them all (including Instructables a few years ago when it didn’t stink as bad). If you’re not too camera shy Youtube/Vimeo/Flickr are an option too.

  23. orvtech says:

    You could host it at home in a NSLU2.

  24. Will says:

    I host my projects in worklog form at http://www.thebestcasescenario.com :)

  25. fartface says:

    Let’s miss the one that was designed for this….

    Create a PDF and upload it to torrent sites. Bittorrent is a GREAT use for this.

  26. monkeyslayer56 says:

    am i the only one who noticed wordress linking to wordpress? two different things or one and the same? typo?

  27. If you go with WordPress be sure to get your own domain, so when you eventually move to your own hosted site (for control or monetization reasons) it is an easy switch without creating broken links

  28. Japala says:

    http://allthemods.com/ might interest someone. I created the site mainly for computer modders but we have received several non-computer related projects too. Images are hosted in-house but one can also link to external images if need arises.

  29. r_d says:

    Free blogs are, in my opinion, one of the best options.

    It’s as simple as logging into Blogger with your existing Google account and selecting “create a blog”. You plenty of control over formatting and such without all the tedium of building a site from scratch. You don’t pay anything and you don’t have to deal with advertisements unless you want them (in which case you get paid by adsense).

    A lot of the options listed really aren’t very good at all. Instructables loves to shove the “Buy pro membership now!” page in your face every two seconds and requires viewers to log in for even the most basic stuff. Forums _really_ aren’t an option because old posts get archived or deleted. I personally don’t like the idea that so many potentially awesome resources for hobbyists like myself are lost in that manner.

    It actually would’ve been nice if HaD had suggested something that we don’t already know about instead of just listing a bunch of popular (and mostly pretty crappy) choices.

  30. svofski says:

    I agree with Kevin. Use hostings with version control. You do not need fancy page layouts, but more often than not, version control is necessary. Not only for the source code: it also works for all your drawings, CAD files, photos and what not.

    It is also often possible to use stuff hosted in a repository in other pages, like in a blog. For example, a drawing of your contraption may be stored in googlecode repo and embedded in a webpage somewhere else. You update the drawing, the webpage gets the current version. A better choice: keep the html in the repository too!

    Most free project hosting sites also allow for a description page and even a full-featured wiki. Google documents can be shared for public viewing too.

    Oh yes, and instructables is already in hell. No need to reiterate that it needs to go there.

  31. tubaguy50035 says:

    I too am willing to work on and host a project website. I have 5 TB of free storage currently. Email me if interested.

  32. peter says:

    +1 for wordpress

  33. Pilotgeek says:

    Just upload it to your webserver, duh.

    /Wait, everyone DOESN’T have their own webserver?

  34. tantris says:

    putting your stuff on wordpress or hosting it yourself would, if nothing else, at least increase the importance of had ;)

  35. firestorm_v1 says:

    Honestly, hosting is very cheap right now. I had my site hosted on a shared plan for $10/mo and offered unlimited domains, disk and bandwidth provided your traffic didn’t cause an issue with the server’s operations for the other customers on the server. Some plans will even host single-domain accounts for $5/mo so it’s very inexpensive to get a site.

    Even when some articles made Hack-A-Day, I never got any warning of suspension or any corrective action against my sites. Granted I’m not “high-traffic” by any stretch of the imagination, but my sites would hit ~5k visits when an article was hit and would then taper off down to “normal” traffic.

    The servers performed well and I never had a problem with it. I generally moved to a VPS because I want more control over my sites than a shared plan could offer but still for a site starting out, a cheap shared plan is best.

  36. ENKI-][ says:

    Why isn’t ‘486 in your mother’s basement’ on this list? Given the number of projects floating around that involve running a webserver off of an AVR or some other two-dollar microcontroller (and given how many people don’t actually have an always-on connection, compared with ten years ago), unless you are hosting slashdot-article-of-the-week, paying real money for professional hosting is kind of unnecessary.

  37. Necromant says:

    My choice is – “The toilet hosting solution”. I just keep my own server up and running in my toilet.
    Running debian, fully autonomous, on an intel atom based motherboard.

  38. Martin says:

    +1 for your own webspace with WordPress. It costs me about 80 Eurocent for 1 gig of webspace and one .de domain every month.
    Bonus: get your own email adress that no one can take away.

  39. Justblair says:

    Here are a couple of suggestions….

    If you think that you are going to want to dedicate some time to it, running your own website can be very rewarding. I would stay clear though of free services and instead pay an annual cost for a site with your own domain.

    If you put some effort in, and use some online advertising (Google Adsense for example) there is no reason why you should not be able to break even with even a modest site. Don’t expect to become a millionaire though!

    Another option is to find someone else who will add your articles to their site. At http://www.justblair.co.uk I have several articles written by others and am delighted to host projects if they are similar to my own.

    A lot of website owners will be more than happy to help out this way… A big advantage is that you will reach an existing readership straight away.

    I would look for similar projects to your own and then contact the owner of the site.

  40. Tweeks says:

    Shamless plug..
    A lot of hacker geeks at my company host their own blogs and CMSs here at Rackspace using our Xen based cloud offering:
    http://www.rackspacecloud.com/cloud_hosting_products/servers
    (starts at $11/month)

    Pretty cheap.. and you get full root.

    Tweeks

  41. Tweeks says:

    Hey @ENKI..

    Speaking of hosting on a 486.. I used to run a couple web sites and mail lists on my “lunchbox” server here in the Rackspace SAT1 data center:
    http://theweeks.org/toms-stuff/PSI-WEB.html

    Ahh.. The early years at Rackspace.
    Those were the days.. :)

    Tweeks

  42. Dan Fruzzetti says:

    Hackaday is a decent place, but they get to decide whether your hack is ‘cool.’ And seriously, I don’t want a bunch of late teen and early twenties deciding whether my stuff is cool; they’re all childless and don’t get it :P

    Another complaint I have about hackaday is that it tends so heavily toward electronics hacking; there are lots of cool non-electronic hacks out there, some of which fit with the hackaday.com ethos. In fact, some of the best hacks ever are free and use no electricity!

    I’m dismayed that you didn’t mention the hassle of owning your own server. When you make the decision to splurge, either you choose simplicity or feature set. When you choose simplicity, it’s great because security is a relative breeze but you get no features. When you choose features, it’s great because you can do all that PHP and other junk, but it’s a hassle because you’re always updating for security purposes.

  43. Jay says:

    Squarespace. That’s where I keep my site/projects. Almost 0 cording required and they take care of everything. Currently I post my projects in a blog, but I think I might need to make dedicated pages for bigger or more popular projects.

  44. zool says:

    if your hack is hacky enough you can send it to thereifixedit.com

  45. Derrick says:

    I can offer free, managed hosting for many non-profit hacks, just click my nickname.

  46. tehgringe says:

    I see hosting as I stand up quite a few web based experiments that can’t be facilitated by wordpress or other pre-fabbed blogging services. It worked out easier for me to sign up for a reseller account, and along the way I’ve been dishing out accounts to folks that need some dedicated project space for the last 12 months.

    £30 + cost of domain for a decent hosting package.

    end of plug.

  47. FaultyWarrior says:

    I self-host my site, which is nice since the server is also connected to my local DMZ – meaning uploaded 4GB of high-res. photos and 720P videos doesn’t take a century. Learning HTML is easy, and if you really suck at coding – DreamWeaver exists. I find self-hosting far cheaper than paid hosting, especially given that I host several sub-sites and a private discussion board, which totals close to 250GB of stuff.

  48. CH says:

    You can get a free GitHub page. Not only is github good for code, but it offers GitHub-Pages; Version Controlled website!

  49. Hi there im Vincent from Loophole Studios and avid followers, were happy to provide free hosting on our dedicated servers located in California, Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam. We love community and open work and would love to give back to the community. Email us for free project needs at: projecthosting (at) loopholestudios (dot) co (dot) uk

    Thanks Guys!

  50. WolfPack says:

    Im going to jump on the squarespace band wagon. It is a great site, really easy to use. I can code html, install wordpress and have done so for other sites but for my business and personal site i just wanted something straightforward and easy to use. focus on what im doing rather than how im going to display and host it.

    Having said that the fees are rather high for hosting but you need to consider the fact that it really is a no brainer setup.

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