hahaha it wouldn’t tho, sorry 💀

Here’s the fundamental issue with webcomic platforms that a lot of people just don’t realize (and why they’re so difficult to run successfully):

  • Storage costs are incredibly expensive, it’s why so many sites have limitations on file sizes / page sizes / etc. because all of those images and site info have to be stored somewhere, which costs $$$.
  • Maintenance costs are expensive and get more so as you grow, you need people who are capable of fixing bugs ASAP and managing the servers and site itself
  • Financially speaking, webcomics are in a state of high supply, low demand. Loads of artists are willing to create their passion projects, but getting people to read them and pay for them is a whole other issue. Demand is high in the general sense that once people get attached to a webtoon they’ll demand more, but many people aren’t actually willing to go looking for new stuff to read and depend more on what sites feed them (and what they already like). There are a lot of comics to go around and thus a lot of competition with a limited audience of people willing to actually pay for them.
  • Trying to build a new platform from the ground up is incredibly difficult and a majority of sites fail within their first year. Not only do you have to convince artists to take a chance on your platform, you have to convince readers to come. Readers won’t come if there isn’t work on the platform to read, but artists won’t come if they don’t think the site will be worth it due to low traffic numbers. This is why the artists with large followings who are willing to take chances on the smaller sites are crucial, but that’s only if you can convince them to use the site in favor of (or alongside) whatever platform they’re using already where the majority of their audience lies. For many creators it’s just not worth the time, energy, or risk.
  • Even if you find short-term success, in the long-term there are always going to be profit margins to maintain. The more users you pull in, the more storage is used by incoming artists, the more you have to spend on storage and server maintenance costs, and that means either taking the risk at crowdfunding (ex. ComicFury) or having to resort to outsider investments (ex. Tapas). Look at SmackJeeves, it used to be a titan in the independent webcomic hosting community, until it folded over to a buyout by NHN and then was pretty much immediately shuttered due to NHN basically turning it into a manwha scanlation site and driving away its entire userbase. And if you don’t get bought out and try your hand at crowdfunding, you may just wind up living on a lifeline that could cut out at any moment, like what happened to Inkblazers (fun fact, the death of Inkblazers was what kicked off the cultural shift in Tapas around 2015-16 when all of IB’s users migrated over and brought their work with them which was more aimed towards the BL and romancee drama community, rather than the comedy / gag-a-day culture that Tapas had made itself known for… now you deadass can’t tell Tapas apart from a lot of scanlation sites because it got bought out by Kakao and kept putting all of its eggs into the isekai/romance drama basket.)

Right now the mindset in which artists and readers are operating is that they’re trying way, way too hard to find a “one size fits all” site. Readers want a place where they can find all their favorite webtoons without much effort, artists wants a place where they can post to an audience of thousands, and both sides want a community that will feel tight-knit. But the reality is that you can’t really have all three of those things, not on one site. Something always winds up having to be sacrificed – if a site grows big enough, it’ll have to start seeking more funding while also cutting costs which will result in features becoming paywall’d, intrusive ads, creators losing their freedom, and/or outsider support which often results in the platform losing its core identity and alienating its tight-knit community.

If I had to describe what I’m talking about in a “pick one” graphic, it would look something like this:

(*note: this is mostly based on my own observations from using all of these sites at some point or another, they’re not necessarily entirely accurate to the statistical performance of each site, I can only glean so much from experience and traffic trackers LMAO that said I did ask some comic pals for input and they were very helpful in helping me adjust it with their own takes <3).

The homogenization of the Internet has really whipped people into submission for the “big sites” that offer “everything”, but that’s never been the Internet, it relies on being multi-faceted and offering different spaces for different purposes. And we’re seeing that ideology falter through the enshittification of sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. where users are at odds with the platforms because the platforms are gutting features in an attempt to satisfy shareholders whom without the platforms would not exist. Like, most of us aren’t paying money to use social media sites / comic platform sites, so where else are they gonna make the necessary funds to keep these sites running? Selling ad space and locking features behind paywalls.

And this is especially true for a lot of budding sites that don’t have the audience to support them via crowdfunding but also don’t have the leverage to ask for investments – so unless they get really REALLY lucky in EITHER of those departments, they’re gonna be operating at a loss, and even once they do achieve either of those things there are gonna be issues in the site’s longevity, whether it be dying from lack of growing crowdfunding support or dying from shareholder meddling.

So what can we do?

We can learn how to take our independence back. We don’t have to stop using these big platforms altogether as they do have things to offer in their own way, particularly their large audience sizes and dipping into other demographics that might not be reachable from certain sites – but we gotta learn that no single site is going to satisfy every wish we have and we have to be willing to learn the skills necessary to running our own spaces again. Pick up HTML/CSS, get to know other people who know HTML/CSS if you can’t grasp it (it’s me, I can’t grasp it LOL), be willing to take a chance on those “smaller sites” and don’t write them off entirely as spaces that can be beneficial to you just because they don’t have large numbers or because they don’t offer rewards programs. And if you have a really polished piece of work in your hands, look into agencies and publishing houses that specialize in indie comics / graphic novels, don’t settle for the first Originals contract that gets sent your way.

For the last decade corporations have been convincing us that our worth is tied to the eyes we can bring to them. Instead of serving ourselves, we’ve begun serving the big guys, insisting that it has to be worth something eventually and that it’ll “payoff” simply by the virtue of gambler’s fallacy. Ask yourself what site is right for you and your work rather than asking yourself if your work is good enough for them. Most of us are broke trying to make it work on these sites anyways, may as well be broke and fulfilled by posting in places that actually suit us and our work if we can. Don’t define your success by what sites like Webtoons are enforcing – that definition only benefits them, not you.

I’m absolutely on board with learning some self-reliance in the webcomics arena. Remember when Tapas included a grab for the right of first refusal in their general terms of service? Yeah. I’m 100% on with you on trying to manage your stuff yourself.


@nattosoup, @respheal and I wrote an blog post about this years ago, when Project Wonderful still existed. It has been a long time, and the landscape has changed, so please bear with me as I provide some updated information.

(See also: the archive of the FreeJeeves page. There’s a wealth of information here, including some ways to make your comic website more mobile friendly.)

Please visit these resources and see if any appeal to you. They’re a mix of materials that are like textbooks, as well as free courses. Some links may require signing up.

I am not affiliated with any of these websites.

1. Learn HTML + CSS

HTML and CSS are the foundation of every page. You don’t need internet access to build an HTML page – you can do it all from your computer at home. But you do need some basic knowledge to get started. If you can format a tumblr post or ever feel adventurous enough to poke at tumblr’s themes, you can learn HTML.

Once you learn how to build your website, and have a place you want to upload it? You might want to learn about FTP, which is the file transfer protocol. This lets you upload files to your webhost.
If you need an FTP client, Filezilla is absolutely free and works Windows, Mac, and Debian flavors of Linux.
(important note: Download the Filezilla client. Don’t download Filezilla server unless you know what you’re doing.)

2. Where to Post your Webcomic

Here, I’m focusing on places that let you customize your layout and allow for some freedom.

In that old blog post, I mention different types of hosting. We’re going to focus on “shared” hosting, which is usually fairly inexpensive on a month-to-month basis and requires almost no knowledge of the server. For a webcomic, you do not need to use AWS, buy a VPS, or rent a dedicated server. That’ll be overkill for most folks. If you’re at that level, you should know what you’re doing.

2.1 Existing Services

Existing services can change their rules or go offline at any time with no notice to the user. Please keep this in mind.

2.2 Self-Hosting with a Content Management System (CMS)

I cannot recommend any webhosts right now, but I can recommend software you can use for posting webcomics, if you feel like getting into the weeds way more than basic HTML/CSS will allow.

These will require the ability to read documentation and follow instructions, as well as basic knowledge in how to upload/edit files using FTP. Your webhost will have documentation if you need access to it.

At the end of the day, a webcomic is basically a blog, so most blogging software can be modified to make it work for this purpose.

If you require technical support for these options, please visit the websites for these tools.

Also, please remember support the developers if you can. Making tools for webcomics is largely a project of love (…sometimes spite), but many are discontinued because the devs become tired, burnt out, or simply lack the energy and finances to do so.
It takes a lot of spoons and energy in general to provide technical support, especially when so much knowledge has been lost.

  • WordPress + Toochecke – Great for webtoon-style comics, rather than graphic novel style comics.
    If you don’t want the theme, the Toocheke companion tool can be used for making any theme a comic theme. Requires PHP and MySQL.
  • WordPress + Manga+Press – Works with some of the default themes for WordPress. Documentation is a little sparse right now.
  • Grawlix – A webcomic dedicated Content Management System, now maintained by folks who want the software to continue to exist. Requires PHP and MySQL.
  • ComicControl. – Created by Hiveworks’ developer, available to download for free. Requires PHP and MySQL.

3. Promote your Webcomic

Let’s assume you know about social media, and skip right to some other resources:

  • ComicAd Network – You can put ads on your website OR you can put out ads and get the word out on other webcomic sites.
  • Piperka – I’m not sure how much this is used anymore, but you used to be able to list your comics for people to find it.
  • Archive Binge – This functions as an aggregator tool, letting readers track comic updates and keep your place on one website.
  • TopWebComics – It’s a toplist – which basically, you get your readers to vote for your comic to boost your ranking. (They can vote for others, too!)
  • Link to your comics and make it possible for people to link back! A lot of people forget – link exchanges and sharing content you like? Unequivocally a win-win for everyone, and it’s good for SEO.
    I actually built a banner display script that you can look over and reuse, if you wanted to make a webring or something.

@bogleech as a seasoned webcomic maker do you have insight on this?

Hosting a webcomic is free and almost effortless actually. My multi gigabyte 22 year old website is now hosted for $5 a month on neocities, but the free neocities also gives you enough space to host hundreds of comic pages and more.

The html I use is less complicated than what many of you used to do for your custom Tumblr profiles, or what kids used to do for their neopets lookups. I made one simple template to my liking and all I do to update is copy that template again, then manually alter the links as needed.

For a typical webcomic that would mean you’re only updating the links to the comic page and navigation buttons, then adding a link to the new page in some master “archive” page.

I can just upload a template myself when I get home later, or alternatively, you can save any of my pages off as a .html file, open it up in a text editor and see how it’s laid out. If you change it all around to your own content you don’t have to credit me, since it’s bare bones universal css code anyway.

Okay, here’s a silly thing I made for everybody who knows absolutely, positively zero HTML:

Click this link to see a very dumb comic all about how to download the page and use it for your OWN comic.


So simple, the entire guide could really just be this single panel:

…..But I include other ultra basic instructions on how to do this, beginning with how to save the webpage at all. If you don’t understand html/css, you don’t have to worry about anything other than the six pieces of text I circled there in red. Just keep reusing that page and changing those things to whatever you need them to be.

There is no software you need for this to work, no additional coding or resources other than having a place to upload it to, and certainly no “glitches” you need to fear other than typoing your own links.

It’s the most bare bones it could possibly be but once you’re used to it you can look up how to change background colors, add links and other basics.

And like I said, neocities will give you the space to upload hundreds of such pages at no cost, or as little as $5-10 monthly if you think you can cover that and you want to upload tens of thousands of such pages. With that basic plan my own website has somewhere around 65,000 image files on it.

(You can also modify the same template to make other kinds of posts. Articles, whatever you want!)


that last code by itself:
<meta HTTP-EQUIV=“REFRESH” content=“0;”

THIS IS WHY when you go to you go to the very newest pokemon review! Because my site’s /pokemon/ folder has an “index.html” file with just that line of code! When I put up a new review, I change the code in the index file to take you there!