Paid Private Repos for Hound

Dan Croak

In April, we announced Hound, a hosted service that comments on Ruby style guide violations in your GitHub pull requests. Since then, about 2,000 users have signed up for Hound. We have been hard at work across 127 commits making Hound faster and more reliable. Recently, Hound has been reviewing about 7,000 GitHub pull requests across about 300 GitHub repos each week.

What people are telling us

We have heard from users that their teams are quickly getting on board with Hound. By their nature, formatting issues are quick fixes. By its nature, Hound is in your face. So far, the combination seems effective for actually making positive change in the repo.

Some people are treating Hound as CI in the sense of catching the final 5% of style issues they may have missed locally. These folks may even have RuboCop running locally in their text editor.

Others rely more heavily on a “human memory + Hound” approach, preferring to configure plugins such as Syntastic to focus only on syntax issues, which keeps Vim running fast.

Another group includes style checkers / linters in their test suites. We hope to convince them that style violations should not fail the build, that a system like Hound commenting during code review is the right balance of machine-based feedback and humans making final decisions.


As we promised in the launch announcement, we are now charging for private repos. Private repos are $12 per month.

There are no limits on number of users, pull requests, or Hound comments. Public repos are free.

We believe this pricing strategy is low cost compared to the benefits Hound provides. It is tedious, error-prone, and time-consuming for humans to do the menial work of style-checking. Saving even one developer 15-30 minutes each month during code review would make Hound worth paying for.

Based on feedback from users, though, we think we’re saving teams more time than 15-30 minutes each month. By keeping codebases formatted consistently, Hound lowers the cognitive overhead while we read code and lets us focus on higher-level concerns.

Enable Hound on your private repo

Enable Hound on a private repo by clicking the toggle button next to the repo name. When you submit the credit card form, you will be charged for the first month. We will then charge you once a month from the time it was enabled. When you disable a repo, we will stop charging you for it.

Existing private repos

As a thank you to early users, current Hound-enabled private repos will remain free until September 19, 2014. To keep using Hound after that date, please disable and re-enable Hound on your private repos. If you do nothing, you will not be charged and we will automatically disable Hound on uncharged private repos on September 19, 2014.

What’s next

We are charging for Hound in order to run it sustainably, improve it, make it review other languages such as CoffeeScript, and maintain it. We hope you love it as much as we do.

Thank you for supporting Hound!