Question: Is there a web mapping server software out there that works on a typical linux shared hosting account?

Background: I have been trying find a web mapping server that would allow me to serve WMS services, WFS would be a bonus. I do not have root access and this is a shared linux account. It is a typical shared hosting account that can use php, ruby, python, cgi etc. I don't have root access.

Additional Information:

  • As with most shared hosts java isn't an option.
  • I can install binaries locally, I just found out that I can request SSH access which I would assume would open up a few more options. Most shared hosting accounts wouldn't have this option.
  • 1
    Do you have SSH access? If so can you install binary packages locally? Apr 2, 2012 at 14:40
  • 2
    How about Java - GeoServer is very capable and entirely contained in a single .war
    – tomfumb
    Apr 2, 2012 at 15:34
  • I would have loved to use GeoServer, but java isn't an option.
    – dkroy
    Apr 2, 2012 at 15:59
  • 2
    Is there any reason why you can't get root access? Virtual Private Servers with full root access are so cheap these days for cost not to be a major consideration
    – Stev_k
    Apr 4, 2012 at 10:51
  • Any of the answers below would do the trick. OpenShift and geoserver, Amazon micro instance with whatever you want, etc. For the shared host solution you could use the CGI approach and mapserver, but honestly, it is not worth the effort. On every shared host account I have ever used where I installed mapserver or even postgis, I always ended up getting my account locked as the traffic spiked since I was "circumventing" the shared hosting limitations. Might as well use Amazon/Rackspace/Openshift - it is 2012 after all. Oct 4, 2012 at 17:56

3 Answers 3


If you're looking for something free (although for a limited time) you could use an Amazon Web Services free-tier micro instance. I've had success setting up geoserver, and the entire OpenGeo stack on an Ubuntu micro instance > http://bit.ly/vJAAD4


MapServer is typically a single CGI binary that can be installed in most places. If your host has the dependencies available as libraries, taking a copy from another system might even work, but more realistically, you'd probably have to compile a statically linked binary (building the libraries right into MapServer); once you did, it would be possible to run it as a CGI on just about any host.


Not quite a Linux shared hosting account but Red Hat's OpenShift should be able to address your problem.

OpenShift is Red Hat's free, auto-scaling Platform as a Service (PaaS) for applications. As an application platform in the cloud, OpenShift manages the stack so you can focus on your code.

Openshift supports Jave, Ruby, Node.js, Perl, Python and PHP. They have a free tier which supports up to three gears.

A gear is a resource constrained container that runs one or more user-specified software stacks, also known as cartridges. Each gear has a limited amount of RAM and disk space. If an application needs more resources, it can use multiple gears.

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Here's a tutorial on running Geoserver on Openshift. That means, you get WMS and WFS ;-) As an added bonus, you can also install the PostGIS spatial database just by adding the Postgresql cartridge. Oh and did I mention that it's free? Good luck :)

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