Large-scale distributed systems are hard to deploy, and distributed hash tables (DHTs) are no exception. To lower the barriers facing DHT-based applications, we have created a public DHT service called OpenDHT. Designing a DHT that can be widely shared, both among mutually untrusting clients and among a variety of applications, poses two distinct challenges. First, there must be adequate control over storage allocation so that greedy or malicious clients do not use more than their fair share. Second, the interface to the DHT should make it easy to write simple clients, yet be sufficiently general to meet a broad spectrum of application requirements. In this paper we describe our solutions to these design challenges. We also report our early deployment experience with OpenDHT and describe the variety of applications already using the system.