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How to attract contributors and users to your open source project

Learn how to attract contributors to your open source project - tips from a 42K Github star project.

The open-source community is a remarkable space. In this unique corner of the Internet, developers come together to collaborate, help out, and build solutions without expecting anything in return. This generosity makes it an excellent environment for developers trying to build the next big thing with limited resources.

The community around Appwrite is one of a kind, having won awards for its openness and welcoming nature. While this community naturally formed around the Appwrite project, there are steps you can take to help foster and support its growth.

How it happened

Appwrite began as a side project, a labor of love by our Founder and CEO, Eldad, to solve his own challenges as a software engineer. The launch exceeded his expectations, going viral on Hacker News and reaching 1,500 GitHub stars in the first month alone.

Fast forward to today, and Appwrite has over 42K stars, 800 contributors, and 120K Cloud users. Our team is made up of some of the top contributors who have been with us from the start. Our Discord server has grown to over 17K members who support each other, promote Appwrite, and inspire developers to create amazing things.

120K Appwrite Cloud users

We're incredibly grateful and proud of the Appwrite community. The success of Appwrite is fueled by the dedication and enthusiasm of developers in the open source space.

But how did we go from a viral project to the vibrant community we are today?

How to foster your open source community

Focus on quality

  • Build for your audience

Your solution should solve a real problem that developers face. If you're struggling with something, chances are other developers are too. Developers love to streamline their processes and will do whatever it takes to improve their workflows and help others do the same.

For example, Appwrite’s easy-to-use backend addressed the issue of wasting time on repetitive and complex backend tasks, which quickly attracted a community of eager-to-help engineers.

Coby Fayock quote

  • Create clear documentation

Focus on lowering the barrier to entry and making it easier for others to contribute. Clear documentation is the first thing potential contributors and users will look at. If your documentation is well-organized and easy to understand, they’ll be more likely to dive in and get involved.

Eddie Jaode quote

  • Offer tutorials and getting-started guides

A developer will spend an average of 3.14 seconds testing your solution before looking for help. That’s why providing user-friendly getting-started guides is a fantastic way to engage new users quickly.

These resources help users get up to speed without wasting time. They offer various formats to cater to different learning styles — like video tutorials and building use cases with code snippets or quick-starts. For example, here at Appwrite we have an extensive getting-started section on docs, or comprehensive video tutorials on YouTube — there’s something for everyone!

Offer tutorials and getting started guides

Engage with your community

  • Provide support

The best way to attract and keep an open source audience is to make sure your users are happy. Provide support, fix bugs, and educate the community.

Our Discord server has a dedicated support channel where our support team, together with experienced community members called Appwrite Heroes, helps address questions and resolve issues quickly.

Discord support at Appwrite

  • Ask for help and feedback

Want your users to contribute? Just ask! Most developers are more than happy to help improve an open-source solution they use. Pro tip: create a code of conduct and contribution guidelines to help users provide quality contributions.

You can also invite feature requests and gather feedback from your community. This goes back to our first point: build for your community. By asking for their input, you make them feel valued and ensure your project evolves in a way that benefits everyone.

  • Encourage discussion

Community engagement happens through conversation. Meet your community where they are, whether it's on X, Reddit, or Discord. Join the discussions and share your insights on industry trends.

Or better yet, create public events and invite your users. For example, we host regular Office Hours on Discord to assist users with any issues, discuss current events, and generally geek out about tech. It’s great fun and helps the user base put faces behind the product.

Appwrite Office Hours on Discord

  • Show appreciation

Give some love back to the community. At Appwrite, we do this in various ways. We love swag, and guess what? Developers love swag too. Do you see where this is going?

Appwrite swag

As a token of our appreciation, we send swag to the most prominent contributors and supporters and host regular community giveaways. Every shirt, hoodie, bag, or pair of socks sold from the Appwrite store contributes to the open source community.

Have no resources for swag? No worries! Another way we show appreciation is through community recognition. Give your contributors public shouts on social media and thank them for their support. A little recognition goes a long way.

Colby Fayock quote 2

Build in public

  • Use social media to your advantage

Developers are allergic to marketing, but if you want people to use your project, you have to tell them about it. The creator of Snowpack Fred K. Schott suggests finding your storytelling style. Get creative on social media, tell your story in your own words, and speak to the audience on your blog. Creative and unique content will help promote your work and build user relationships.

Appwrite Twitter

  • Network with other devs

Collaboration and cross-promotion is the name of the game. Participate in conferences, meetups, and webinars to showcase your project and its capabilities. Connect with other open-source project maintainers and communities. It can also help you build your team in the future.

Appwrite team at RenderATL 2024

  • Work with creators

Collaborating with content creators is a fantastic way to amplify your project's reach. By partnering with bloggers, YouTubers, and mentors in the tech community, you can tap into their established audiences and gain credibility. Creators can produce tutorials, reviews, and case studies that showcase your project in action, providing authentic and relatable content that resonates with their followers.

Keep the momentum going

  • Release updates

Even small updates can signal that your project is actively maintained. Release updates regularly to reassure your community and keep them engaged.

  • Share your roadmap

Being transparent with your users pays off. Let the community know what features and improvements are planned while also giving them space to request features and fixes.

We’ve recently released our new public roadmap as part of our commitment to the community. It’s designed to improve collaboration between the Appwrite team and contributors. When users know what to expect, they feel heard and valued.

  • Celebrate milestones

An open-source project is nothing without its community, so be sure to include them in your milestone celebrations. Share when you reach significant milestones, such as major releases or achieving a certain number of contributors. Openly celebrating your community on social media or your Discord server is a great way to show appreciation.

42K Github startgazers


We’ve seen firsthand how an engaged open-source community can help drive innovation and growth. Appwrite’s journey from a side project to a platform with thousands of users wouldn’t have been possible without the passion of open source developers.

That’s why we want to give back and support OSS projects.

If you’re building or maintaining an open-source project, join our OSS program, and don’t forget to say hi on our Discord server. Let’s continue to build amazing things together.

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