On DVCS hosting

Posted on January 5, 2011

So recently I’ve been looking for a place to host my code. The first place I went was an excellent post written by Eivind Uggedal, which compared hosts based on which DVCSes they support, cost, and number of projects. While I use Subversion every day at work, I have previously used Git and found it to be a really solid offering.

Deciding to use Git narrowed down the options quite a bit. GitHub is far and away the most popular option right now for hosting Git projects, and it’s easy to see why. The interface is minimalistic, easy to use, and very effective. I’ve used GitHub in the past on fairly complex projects and have been pretty happy with it, but what ultimately held me back from GitHub for my personal hosting is its pricing plan, as I’ll explain in a bit.

It seems the one of the main issues with the various hosts is how many active repositories you’re allowed to have. At the low levels, most hosts allow you only one active project at a time, so if you’re building something on your own but also need to support something you’ve written in the past, you’re out of luck. To me this seems an unnecessary hindrance, though I can certainly understand why they’ve done it that way. And to that end, I sort of ruled out hosts that only allow one active project at a time.

Now back to GitHub. As of this writing, the lowest level ($7/mo) gets you five repositories and 600 MB of space. So while it’s great that they give you five active projects, if I find myself with the need for six repositories, I have to jump up to the next level ($12/mo). And that’s kind of a bummer.

In the end, I ended up going with RepositoryHosting. They only have one plan: for $6/mo, you get an unlimited number of active repositories and 2 GB of hosting. Boom, done, problem solved. I find this to be a much better solution, as the only thing restricting me now is the amount of space. Two gigs to do whatever I want with, whether that means one project that’s 2 GB big, or two thousand projects that are 1 MB each.

Though in all honesty, I’m not in love with RepositoryHosting’s choice for project tracking. They chose Trac, which is fine in its own right, but its interface is a little wacky and a bit slow. For example, the “Browse code” button on the main Trac landing page for my project wasn’t really obvious, whereas on GitHub that’s the first page you would see. Still, you do get to modify the view of the landing page, so perhaps the solution is just to have a big BROWSE CODE HERE button or something. I can deal with a slightly less intuitive interface in exchange for more freedom in hosting.

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