What is Redmine Hosting?
Redmine is a flexible and open source web-based project management application written on top of the Ruby on Rails framework. It works on multiple platforms and with multiple databases.
If you're a tech-savvy webmaster looking for an inexpensive yet powerful project management solution, you should take a look at Redmine.
Importance of Project Management Software
Project management software is the organizational heart and soul of any business committed to getting things done on time and under budget.
While a number of excellent subscription services are available, however, you will be committed to paying for the software forever.
It can also be difficult to export your data if you decide to move to another platform.
Moreover, the commercial offerings may not have the features you are looking for.
Why Choose Redmine?
Often, SaaS apps lack critical reporting functionality or other enterprise-level features.
Similarly, in the proprietary project management software market, the enterprise-level features come with heavy-duty, enterprise-level price tags.
Redmine, on the other hand, is totally free and completely customizable, making it a popular choice for businesses with in-house developers.
Redmine, just like anything else has some basic outlines in terms of requirements.
Different Redmine versions are compatible with different versions of the Ruby.
Their official website has all these details, however, we'll break it down for you below.
The compatibility of Ruby's different versions are outlined in the table below:
|Redmine Version||Ruby Versions||Rails Versions|
|3.2||1,9,3, 2.0.0, 2.1, 2.2||Rails 4.2|
|3.3||1,9,3, 2.0.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3||Rails 4.2|
|3.4||1,9,3, 2.0.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4||Rails 4.2|
|4.0||2.2, 2.3, 2.4||Rails 5.1|
It's important to make yourself aware of the above, especially if you'll be handling the technology side of things.
Operating Systems and Database Support
Having said 'most', it's worth reading the official documentation, to ensure your version of the selected OS is fully compatible.
Furthermore, Redmine supports the following database types:
- MySQL 5.0 - 5.5
- PostgreSQL 8.3 or higher
- Microsoft SQL Server 2012 or higher
- MariaDB (although there have been reported issues)
- SQLite 3
Some of the above have separate instructions to ensure a smooth run, so be sure to do your research.
Key Redmine Features
Redmine provides serious project management features with a flexible set of customization options, in an open source software package that you can use for free and modify as needed.
It offers a number of features, including
- Organization through 'Projects'
- Variety of 'users' with different permissions
- Issue tracking system
- Calendar capabilities
- Time tracking capabilities
- Custom fields
- Project-based forums, chats, and wiki
We will look at some of the most popular features in more depth below.
Projects in Redmine
The key organizing principle in Redmine projects. Major endeavors are created as individual projects, which then become a 'container' for the tasks, resources, information, and communication needed to complete that project.
You can also divide large projects up into sub-projects. A sub-project has all the features of a project but is associated with a larger project.
The details of the sub-projects (scheduling, budgeting, etc.), filter up to the main project so that comprehensive reporting and planning can take place.
Users and Permissioning
Users can be allowed to create and contribute to any project, or their access can be restricted to specific projects. Detailed permission restrictions (view but not edit, add but not delete, etc.) can be assigned to any user, or set up as a user type.
Issue Tracking System
Tasks associated with a project or sub-project are called issues, and each project has its own customizable issue-tracking system.
You can create any number of custom statuses, and define who can edit those statuses.
You can also set up triggers that are run when a project enters a new status.
Projects can have multiple Issue Types, which each have their own set of status steps and user permissions.
Redmine supports Gantt charts and calendar views of schedules, making it easy to get a global view of different projects.
Gantt chart support can be an incredibly useful perk for your business.
Time Tracking Capability
Worked hours can be reported at the Issue level or at the Project level, for general work not associated with a specific issue.
Hours logged can be reported on and viewed in several formats, based on users, categories, departments, projects, or issue types.
You can define your own custom data fields for Users, Projects, Issues, and Time reports.
Custom fields can use any of several data field types such as text, boolean, radio buttons, checkboxes, numbers, dates, and select lists. Custom logic can be written to respond to the data entered in these fields.
Project-Based News & Documents
Each project can hold many files organized into an ad-hoc file structure, with descriptive details.
Users can share files, post messages, and chat about the project. This is a good place for project announcements as well.
Project-Based Wiki & Forums
Each project can have its own set of wiki pages so that users can maintain a knowledge base and documentation related to the project.
Projects also have forums, where users can discuss project details and larger objectives that don't fit into the comments of an issue ticket.
Repo Viewer, Diffs & Notifications
Redmine integrates with several versions fo control applications (subversion, git, CVS, and others), and can display the contents of a repository in context to the project. Diff views and diff commenting are also available.
User activity such as a project or issue creation, user registration, status updates, forum messages, and document uploads can all trigger notifications via email or RSS feed.
User Registration & Authentication
Users can be authenticated against multiple LDAP, which allows on-the-fly account creation.
Alternatively, users can be allowed to self-register without authentication, with manual authentication by an admin, or through an email invite process.
Internationalization & Localization
Redmine is currently available in over thirty languages, and string-replacement files are easily available for creating a new translation.
Theme Engine & Database Support
Redmine's theme engine makes it easy to customize the look and feel of your project management interface.
There over 20 themes available currently, and you could develop your own theme if you want to match the software's GUI to match your organization's branding.
Fully Extensible Through Plugins
In addition to the features mentioned above, there's a powerful Redmine plugin architecture that allows developers to add features.
There are over 600 plugins currently available for Redmine, providing a wide array of functionality.
You can also develop your own new plugins, and (if you like) contribute them back to the community.
How to Install Redmine on a Server Yourself
Redmine installation is more complicated than the typical PHP applications you might be used to installing.
On top of installing Redmine, you may also need to install Rails and configure your server, which adds an extra layer of complexity. However, it is very doable for most developers.
Process for Installing Redmine
In general, you'll need root access to your Redmine server, which only certain hosts offer on certain plans.
If it's not offered, you may need to contact support and ask them to install certain parts for you along the way, which will result in significant delays.
While it's a detailed and complex process, the high-level procedure looks like this:
- Install Rails if needed
- Create a Redmine database (A MySQL database is a good default)
- Download Redmine files
- Edit a few Redmine configuration settings
- Transfer the files to your server through SSH (using git throughout this process is recommended)
- Publish/install the site
When you break it down, it's not so bad, but expect it to take you a few hours for your first Redmine install. If the process really scares you, consider hiring a developer to do it for you.
Redmine Web Hosting Considerations
Redmine will run on most web hosting plans as long as they support Ruby. A few hosting providers offer a one-click installer script for Redmine, which is probably the easiest way to be sure that the software is fully supported, but they're pretty rare, and not necessarily the best hosts.
Top 3 Hosts for Redmine
As mentioned above, there are a variety of hosts that are capable of supporting Redmine.
However, a few hosts stand out from the pack. Here are my top three options for hostingRedmine.
InMotion Hosting with Redmine
My top Redmine hosting choice would be InMotion Hosting because they offer a lot of value for a reasonable price.
They support Ruby on all plans, as well as both MySQL and PostgreSQL.
You can install Redmine through SSH on all plans, and you have full root access to VPS or dedicated plans if needed.
All servers have SSD disk space included, as well as free data backups.
Finally, if you get a VPS plan or higher, you get a dedicated IP address (or multiple).
Bluehost with Redmine
Bluehost is known for their cheap web hosting plans, and I think they're a decent Redmine host as well.
The shared hosting plans do not support Ruby on Rails, but the VPS plans and above do.
The cost of Bluehost's VPS plans is still very affordable.
You can manage all your accounts through cPanel or SSH, and there's some decent documentation that shows you how to install Redmine on Bluehost.
LiquidWeb with Redmine
Finally, if you're looking for high-performance web servers, you can't beat Liquid Web, although the plans are expensive.
Almost all Liquid Web plans come with full root access, meaning that you can install Ruby on Rails, Redmine, and whatever else you'd like.
All plans come with free migration, plus 24/7 "heroic" support that is incredibly knowledgeable in my experience.
They will help you as much as possible, even if it's not strictly related to their side of the hosting.
You also get a choice of cPanel or Plesk control panels, which makes installing other software much simpler.
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Other features in Niche Software
Redmine Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Redmine?
Redmine is a project management tool that can be installed on a Linux server. It aids collaboration by keeping track of all the tasks and files for team projects.
- How will Redmine help my team?
Redmine helps your team to stay organized by providing a central repository for data associated with a project. For example, if you have a team working on a new piece of software, they can organize themselves with bug tracking, a release schedule, to-dos, wikis, and more.
- Will Redmine run on any operating system?
Yes, as long as Ruby is available. The Redmine Wiki includes detailed installation guides for a number of operating systems.
- What database does Redmine use?
You can set up Redmine with MySQL 5.0 or higher, PostgreSQL 8.2 or higher, SQLite, or Microsoft SQL Server.
- Can I migrate my project data from another project management platform?
Redmine has a tool that will migrate data from Trac or Mantis. Third-party migration tools available for other project management tools, including Jira, Bugzilla, Scarab, and phpBugTracker.
- Does Redmine keep backups when edits are made?
No. While Redmine allows you to compare two versions of a document side by side and make comments on the revisions, this isn't a true backup system. It's best to backup your database manually to guard against data deletion.
- Is it difficult to keep Redmine up to date?
No. Just back up your files and database(s), then install the latest stable release.
- Is it possible to test Redmine before installing it?
Yes. The Redmine website offers a shared online demo, which allows users to create and manage their own projects and test out all of the project administration features.
- How are Redmine projects organized?
Each project can have one or more child projects in Redmine. These are also called sub-projects.
- What type of markup is supported in Redmine?
By default, Redmine supports Textile markup language, which allows you to format text using basic font and color settings. In the Admin area, you can switch this to Markdown, if you prefer.
- Does Redmine generate Gantt charts?
Yes. It can display issues on a Gantt output, providing they have start and end dates.
- Can Redmine be used for software development?
Yes. It has a Repository area that is designed to track commits.
- Can I request new features?
Yes, Redmine welcomes user suggestions. If you want to integrate a new feature quickly, you can develop your own plugin, and contribute it back to the community.
- Can I get help with making a new plugin?
Yes. The Redmine wiki contains a complete tutorial to guide you through the processes of creating your own plugin. You will need to be familiar with Ruby on Rails.
- What type of support is available?
As Redmine is an open source project, support is primarily provided by its user community via its website.