ProudCity Guide

ProudCity -

About ProudCity

ProudCity is a web platform that lets municipalities easily launch and manage government digital services all in one place.

We empower governments to proudly serve residents, businesses and visitors and build a stronger sense of civic pride.

We believe:

  • civic pride stems from a love of where you live
  • governments want to serve proudly
  • through open, responsive digital services, residents and governments can co-create cities they love and are proud of

ProudCity promise

We will:

  • build digital experiences that make it easier for residents, businesses and visitors to access government services and information
  • empower government to procure and provide modern digital services that best serve their cities

We do this by addressing the following issues:

  • Procurement: We increase terms and options flexibility by enabling governments to try before they buy and purchase according to modern software-as-a-service payment plans.
  • Development: We create an environment where residents can begin sharing their feedback on day one and governments can address those issues iteratively, openly and ongoing.
  • Technical: We eliminate vendor stagnancy and lock-in through open source software-as-as-service solutions that gives governments ultimate technology freedom and flexibility.
  • Enterprise: We empower a holistic approach to digital government services by making it easier to integrate with a variety of flexible, affordable solutions.
  • Experience: We increase ease of use for residents by building elegant, accessible mobile-friendly experiences so they can best access government services and information, no matter who, how or where.

How it works

We believe cities should have the freedom to test-drive digital services privately and publicly before making a purchase commitment.

Our three-step process enables an agile, iterative, open approach to empowering governments before making this crucial decision.

3 simple steps

  • DEMO: Find your city demo and claim it.
  • TEST: Build your test site.
  • LIVE: Make test site your new city website.


DEMO is a basic example of what your city homepage could look like. Claim your city demo to set up, customize and begin experimenting with your free test site.


Test is a free version of your city’s website. You get full administrative access to customize your design, add content, review integrations and test-drive all available features. Test allows you to ‘try before you buy’ and gives you an opportunity to openly share with your residents and get feedback while your legacy website remains. If you’re not happy with your test side, no harm, no foul.


LIVE is your new, official city website, fully hosted and maintained by ProudCity. Once you’ve put the final touches on your test site, you can formally launch and enjoy the comprehensive benefits of the ProudCity Platform.


ProudCity makes it easier for you to manage your digital government services.

  • User-focused
    We focus on the needs of residents, businesses and visitors, emphasizing search and using analytics to get them where they need to go as quickly possible.

  • Mobile-friendly
    Whether it’s phone, tablet or desktop your website will be functional and beautiful no matter the format.

  • Web-based content management
    We use an enterprise-class content manage system (WordPress) built to manage large-scale websites. Our editor, media manager and drag-and-drop interface allows anyone to easily web content.

  • Administrative permissions
    Manage internal user roles and permissions

  • Agency websites
    Empower agencies with their own micro-sites

  • Web analytics dashboard
    Integration with Google Analytics brings insights into traffic trends and helps you better understand how visitors are using your site.

  • Media embedding
    Easily upload and add video, audio and photos to your mobile responsive web pages.

  • Design and customization
    Easily customize photos and colors to match your city’s branding.

  • Document archive and library
    Not everything is online so having a document repository of City Council Minutes, Regulations and Forms  to search, view, share or print is a must have digital service.

  • Webforms
    Having intuitive online forms for residents starts with the ability for city staff to easily build and manage webforms on their own.

  • Get feedback
    Actively solicit user feedback to make your website better.

  • Community
    The ProudCity Community provides information and resources and a network to share and discuss all things related to city digital services.

  • Full service-level agreement
    We provide 99.9% uptime guarantee and 24/7 phone support.

  • Secure and reliable
    We host in secure data centers with up-to-date software, scheduled backups and all pages served over https for ultimate privacy.

  • Cloud hosted
    As a software-as-a-service platform, we fully manage your web hosting so you can focus on more important work.

  • Universal updates
    Platform enhancements are pushed to your website regularly and automatically, without expensive, add-on upgrade fees.

  • 100% data and code export
    At anytime, you can export your database, files and code to host elsewhere.

  • 3rd party integrations
    We integrate with (a growing list of) applications, making it easy to add popular and civic-specific services to your website.

  • Suggestive search
    Our autocomplete search helps visitors find information they’re looking for faster.

  • Answers
    The search-friendly frequently asked questions gets them answers quickly.

  • Payments
    Integrate with leading payment processors making financial transactions easier and faster.

  • Social media wall
    Highlight your city’s social media accounts -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more -- with a customizable social wall.

  • Calendar
    Manage and publish city events, with save to calendar, mapping and registration features.

  • Issue reporting
    Integrate with leading issue reporting tool and let residents quickly report a problem with location and photos from any device.

  • Services map
    Highlight services -- fire, police, schools, parks, city administration -- on a pre-populated map. We can also integrate with other content such as public transit, events and hiking maps.

  • Translation
    Quickly add baseline translations with Google Translate.

  • Flexible onboarding and transitioning
    Baked into our 3-step process, you’ll have a live beta running in tandem with your legacy website to ensure a smooth migration to a new government digital platform.

  • Search engine best practices
    Markup is standards-compliant and rich with SEO metatags and social integration.

  • Accessibility
    Our structured markup meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (WCAG) level 2 standards. 


ProudCity integrates with a growing list of third-party applications, making it easy to add popular and civic-specific services to your digital government platform.



Social media

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • RSS


  • iCal


  • MapBox
  • Foursquare


  • Google Analytics
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Content Liftoff


  • Apache Solr
  • Google Search


  • Google Translate


ProudCity Community is a network of ProudCity users and digital government managers.

Channel topics include:

  • #announcements (ProudCity news and updates.)
  • #engagement (Social media, outreach news, info, discussions.)
  • #events (Share digital government webinars, conferences, events, etc.)
  • #general (General digital government news, info, discussions.)
  • #introductions (Introduce yourself: name, city, title, LinkedIn.)
  • #jobs (Share digital government job opportunities.)
  • #opendata (Open data news, info, discussions.)
  • #watercooler (Informal chit-chat.)
  • #wins (Big or little, share your digital government success stories!)
  • #help (Ask your digital government or ProudCity questions.)

Request an invite

Pilot Program

The ProudCity Pilot Program gives cities the opportunity to collaborate with ProudCity and test and give feedback on new product developments.

Visit to learn more about the ProudCity Pilot Program.

Technical specifications

We are committed to open source and OpenSaas. As part of this commitment, we want to be as open as possible about the technologies we use and give credit to the open source projects we use.

Overview of our stack:

  • Hosting Infrastructure
    Linux Apache PHP, MySQL (LAMP) on Docker containers
  • CMS
  • Front-end framework

Security and  infrastructure

Every ProudCity instance is hosted on Docker containers. This allows us to provide separate environments for every website with standard build scripts that follow industry best practices for security and maintenance.

Security and maintenance highlights:

  • All sites served over https
  • Up-to-date containers running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, with the latest package security releases
  • Daily offsite backups of files and databases
  • All sites monitored for software (Wordpress Core and plugin) updates
  • All sites monitored for uptime
  • User authentication with Auth0
  • Automated API key rolling and auditing

Software: Content Management System

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, which is why we built ProudCity with the WordPress content management system, which powers over 25% of all websites. Wordpress provides a familiar interface for a team of authors to organize, write, and edit their website content. Our customized version of Wordpress includes all of the plugins you need for a fully-featured city website.

Front-end Framework: Bootstrap

The best modern websites have clean, interactive interfaces, and must work on a plethora of devices.  We use the Bootstrap front-end development framework, which is used on over 10% of all websites. Bootstrap provides your visitors familiar user interfaces and provides a responsive framework so your website looks great on phones, tablets and desktops.


ProudCity is an OpenSaaS (open source software-as-a-service) platform, which means we provide a secure, fully-managed hosting environment for your site, but you are free to download your site and host it elsewhere if you choose. The core ProudCity code, like WordPress, is licensed under the  GNU General Public License, version 2 (or later).

For a full list of credits, visit our Developers page.


Learn more:


All of the content entered in ProudCity is fully-accessible via the WordPress REST API.  



ProudCity uses the following open source libraries and third-party plugins:


WordPress, Bootstrap, Backbone.js, Class POP3, Color Animations, Horde Text Diff, hoverIntent, imgAreaSelect, Iris, jQuery, jQuery UI, jQuery Hotkeys, jQuery serializeObject, jQuery.query,jQuery.suggest, jQuery UI Touch Punch, json2, Masonry, MediaElement.js, PclZip, PemFTP, phpass, PHPMailer, Plupload, SimplePie, The Incutio XML-RPC Library,Thickbox, TinyMCE, Twemoji, Underscore.js, zxcvbn

Third-party Wordpress plugins

Contact Form 7, Events Manager, MailChimp for WordPress, Simple Staff List, WordPress FAQ Manager, WP Job Manager, WP REST API, WR PageBuilder


ProudCity is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2 (or later). We agree with the WordPress statements on your rights as an open source user:

WordPress is free and open source software, built by a distributed community of mostly volunteer developers from around the world. WordPress comes with some awesome, worldview-changing rights courtesy of its license, the GPL.

  1. You have the freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  2. You have access to the source code, the freedom to study how the program works, and the freedom to change it to make it do what you wish.
  3. You have the freedom to redistribute copies of the original program so you can help your neighbor.
  4. You have the freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others. By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes.

WordPress grows when people like you tell their friends about it, and the thousands of businesses and services that are built on and around WordPress share that fact with their users. We’re flattered every time someone spreads the good word, just make sure to check out our trademark guidelines first.

Every plugin and theme in’s directory is 100% GPL or a similarly free and compatible license, so you can feel safe finding plugins and themes there. If you get a plugin or theme from another source, make sure to ask them if it’s GPL first. If they don’t respect the WordPress license, we don’t recommend them.


Luke Fretwell (Chief Executive Officer)

Luke Fretwell is co-founder and chief executive officer of ProudCity. He is the founder of the civic innovation and technology blog GovFresh. He advises civic leaders and businesses on how to best leverage digital strategies to create more effective, collaborative governments. He has written about government IT for Federal Computer Week, NextGov, FedScoop, StateScoop and FierceGovernment, and has been referenced by the Washington Post and Fast Company on civic technology issues. He has worked with a number of government-focused companies and media, including CivicActions, NuCivic and FedScoop/StateScoop and has been involved in broad-focused community efforts, such as GovPress, CityCamp, CivicMeet, Agile Government Leadership and Open Source for America. He graduated from George Mason University with degrees in Government & Politics and International Relations.

Kevin Herman (Chief Operating Officer)

Kevin Herman is co-founder and chief operating officer of ProudCity. Prior to ProudCity, he was a partner at Albatross Digital. As business director, he helped grow the firm from a small web design shop for local businesses and campaigns to a company that empowers governments and organizations around the world with award-winning, cutting edge, open source technology. He has lectured at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies, advised Britain’s Liberal Democratic Party and has been featured in Campaigns & Elections Magazine, the Denver Post and the Denver Westword. He has accepted seven Pollie Awards and one Reed Award on behalf of Albatross Digital. He graduated from Colorado College with a degree in Political Science.

Jeff Lyon (Chief Technology Officer)

Jeff Lyon is co-founder and  chief technology officer of ProudCity. Prior to ProudCity, he co-founded Albatross Digital in 2009 and has worked with hundreds of public and social sector clients, including large cities, major city library systems and complex online volunteer call-centers. In 2001, at the age of 15, he started WWWToolz, a remotely-hosted scripts website--Software as a Service before it had a catchy name--that grew to over 20,000 active users by the time he graduated high school. He values using and giving back to open source projects, and is active in the Drupal community. He graduated from Colorado College with a degree in Physics while working on the university website part-time and during summers, and has been published in The Geological Society of America.

Alex Schmoe (Chief Product Officer)

Alex Schmoe is co-founder and chief product officer for ProudCity. Prior to ProudCity, was a partner at Albatross Digital and led frontend development, where he worked on large-scale municipal platforms. Alex has a passion for visual impact and believes the role of frontend engineer has provided a canvas for the union of his technical and artistic interests. He attributes years of successful momentum to the simple mantra “always be learning and pursue technology that excites you.” He graduated from Colorado College with a degree in computer science.


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