Full Monthly Cost of a New Web Application

August 31, 2015,   |   Business, Tech
Agile League

Sometimes it’s hard to remember all the different pieces that might add to the monthly cost of running even a small web application. We’ve come up with a list and some approximate pricing to help estimate these recurring costs. As an application starts growing in popularity, costs go up, but these estimates can make for a decent starting point.

Hosting: $120/month

We like to go with Heroku for their value and simplicity.

  • $50/month for a 2-Dyno setup. Dynos are the “workers” that actually run your application on the web.
  • $50/month for a Standard-0 PostgreSQL production database. There are cheaper options, but this is the lowest tier that includes automated backups, which we consider a must-have for any serious business.
  • $20/month for SSL support. We at The Agile League advocate for SSL everywhere, all the time, unless there’s a compelling reason not to. Better to be too secure than not secure enough.

Domain purchase, DNS, and SSL Certificate: $6/month

We prefer DNSimple – super easy to get set up.

  • $14/year for domain registration
  • $3/month for DNS management
  • $20/year for SSL Certificate

Email: $9/month

We recommend Mandrill for email sending. Their lowest tier is $9/month and includes plenty of emails for a new site with a small userbase, plus the price scales nicely as your userbase grows.

Analytics: Free!

We recommend Google Analytics as a great free service for tracking your users. As you grow and need more detailed information, we can help you implement a more advanced analytics setup, but Google Analytics is a great first step.

Other Services

Here’s a handful of other services you might need, but not all sites do.

  • Web Fonts: up to $10/month
  • Image hosting / CDN: For most websites, it’s in the $10/month range to serve all the images and content you need.
  • Video hosting: $5/month (Vimeo) – If you need to display marketing videos, we recommend Vimeo. If your users need to upload videos, we’ll need to build you a custom solution. The hosting there will probably be in the $10/month range, depending on the quantity of video.

Overall Cost: $150 – $200/month

Ultimately, a new web app should be looking at around $150/month in overhead costs. Luckily, most web apps should be able to live in this tier for a long time, and the costs scale slowly as the site grows. For example, a site like Facebook would be able to live at the $150/month cost as it grows to around 10,000 users, and then the costs would rise to somewhere around $500/month to handle up to 100,000 users.