The aptly named Pastebin.com was the first text storage website of its kind. It’s used for easily storing and sharing snippets of code with other people online. But if you don’t care for it, you’ll find plenty of alternatives to Pastebin on the web.
Let’s look at the best Pastebin alternatives you can use for storing text. We’ll examine their best features and why they’re worth using over the well-known service.
What Is a Pastebin?
In case you’re wondering why someone would be interested in sites like Pastebin in the first place, let’s quickly look at what Pastebin is for.
Pastebins arose in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a way to easily share blocks of code with proper formatting and without disrupting the flow of chats. The IRC (Internet Relay Chat) chatrooms of the time were much more rudimentary than modern chat apps like Slack or WhatsApp.
Most featured single-line messages, as you can see in the screenshot below:
Posting a 50 line-long block of code into such a chat would obviously disrupt the flow for everyone else. Thus, pastebin sites arose to let you paste a giant block of code with syntax highlighting and proper formatting. When you were ready to share, you could post a link in your chat. Since the URL only took up a single line, it was a great solution.
Nowadays, people still use websites like Pastebin to share code if their IM app doesn’t support proper formatting. You might also use it to share a large amount of debugging output when asking for help online. Other common uses for Pastebin include lists of dark web links and hackers leaking breached information, such as passwords.
Pastebin.com is a fine site, but it locks some functionality behind a Pro subscription and isn’t known for its privacy. Here are some Pastebin alternatives worth looking at.
Formerly known as Tinypaste, this pastebin site makes sharing dead simple. Enter a title for your paste, then you have a few options for formatting the text. You can use bold, italics, underline, and strikethrough text, as well as enabling code highlighting. In addition, ControlC supports adding videos, plus changing the text color and size.
Unlike Pastebin, you won’t see recent public pastes along the side of the site. All pastes are hidden from search engines by default, and you can set a password to protect your paste if you like. While you can create an account to better keep track of what you’ve submitted, it’s not necessary.
When you open a ControlC link, you’ll have to close a page of ads before viewing the paste. From there, you can toggle line numbers of the paste or even create a new version based on the original.
Overall, ControlC is a no-nonsense pastebin site. It doesn’t have a ton of fancy features but works fine when you just need to share some quick text.
If you’re in a hurry, give Hastebin a look. It’s a Pastebin alternative for code where the entire interface of the site is an editable text field, which makes it visually attractive. Enter or paste the text you want to share, then press Ctrl + S or hit the Save icon in the top-right corner.
This will instantly save your text and change the URL in the address bar to a shareable link. It also detects the language you’ve used and highlights the syntax automatically.
Also, on that bar in the top-right corner is a New button, which you can press to start a new paste right away. When viewing a paste, the Duplicate and Edit button lets you make changes while starting from the original content. And you can hit Just Text to display the raw text on a separate page, which is great for obtaining a clean copy.
All pastes on this site stay up for 30 days since their last view. While search engines won’t find your pastes, you also shouldn’t expect any privacy from what you share here. As a bonus, the site has no ads, CAPTCHAs, or registration.
Those who find the above options too code-focused should like Just Paste Me better. While you can use it to share code, it offers a rich text editing box great for typing up notes, instructions, or similar blocks of normal text.
You’ll find all the typical text options here, such as bullet points, headings, hyperlinks, and images. There’s a Preview button so you can check how your page looks before sharing it.
Don’t miss the Additional options section at the bottom. There you can set a page title, choose a custom URL, or have the site email you a link to your page for safekeeping.
Once you complete a CAPTCHA and hit Publish, you’ll see a link to your page that you can share anywhere. You can even edit the page after publishing it if your session hasn’t expired and you haven’t closed the browser.
Just Paste Me doesn’t require registration, and the small ad on the page is unobtrusive. Give it a try next time you need a Pastebin alternative for normal text.
You might assume that all paste sites are the same, but that’s not the case, as we’ve seen. PrivateBin stands out as a privacy-focused place to create pastes. Use the Format dropdown at the top to choose Plain Text, Source Code, or Markdown. Then you can enter your text in the editor.
PrivateBin includes a Preview tab to let you see what your output will look like before sharing. Click the Send button to get a shareable URL for your paste. The service also includes a QR code option if you prefer to share that way. No matter what you choose, there are no ads to worry about.
At the top, you’ll see several options to control how you share. By default, the Expires field is set to one week, but you can change this to as little as five minutes. If you check the Burn after reading option, the message will self-destruct after the link is opened one time.
Alternatively, you can select Open discussion to let people leave comments on the paste. Finally, be sure to set a Password to protect sensitive pastes.
The site states that the PrivateBin server has no knowledge of pasted data, so it’s the best choice when you want to share something potentially sensitive. Of course, there are better ways to safely share private data like passwords online.
Alternatives to Pastebin for Better Sharing
We’ve looked at several sites like Pastebin to help you find the best one for your needs. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Pastebin, but a different option may well serve your needs better than the site most people use for this job.
If you often share blocks of code with other programmers, you may be interested in Visual Studio Code’s Live Share feature, which lets you program collaboratively.