DeployStack

Tired of comparing hosting plans, calculating the file storage cost or paying for the SSL certificates?

DeployStack is a list of the best, hand picked tools and services that you might need when launching a website.

Full disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links

Hosting

Your website needs a home, preferably somewhere in the cloud.
Check what options you have for different amount of monthly fee (starting from the free option).
Learn more on why hosting in the cloud is a good solution or what parameters are important.

Display price:

  • Amazon Free Tier
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1 CPU
  • 30 GB of SSD storage
  • 750 hours of t2.micro with Linux
    AND
    750 hours of t2.micro with Windows
  • Linux and Windows hosting
  • Heroku
  • 512 MB (1 dyno)
  • 1 CPU
  • 5 MB for DB (~10 000 rows)
  • 1000 dyno hours per month (running one website non-stop takes ~750 dyno hours per month)
  • Linode
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1 CPU
  • 20 GB of SSD storage
  • 1 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open Linode
  • DigitalOcean
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1 CPU
  • 20 GB of SSD storage
  • 1 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open DigitalOcean
  • Amazon Lightsail
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1 CPU
  • 20 GB of SSD storage
  • 1 TB of transfer
  • No IPv6 support
  • Open Amazon Lightsail
  • Linode
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 1 CPU
  • 30 GB of SSD storage
  • 2 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open Linode
  • DigitalOcean
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1 CPU
  • 30 GB of SSD storage
  • 2 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open DigitalOcean
  • Amazon Lightsail
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1 CPU
  • 30 GB of SSD storage
  • 2 TB of transfer
  • No IPv6 support
  • Open Amazon Lightsail
  • Linode
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 2 CPU
  • 48 GB of SSD storage
  • 3 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open Linode
  • DigitalOcean
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 2 CPU
  • 40 GB of SSD storage
  • 3 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open DigitalOcean
  • Amazon Lightsail
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 2 CPU
  • 40 GB of SSD storage
  • 3 TB of transfer
  • No IPv6 support
  • Open Amazon Lightsail
  • Linode
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 4 CPU
  • 96 GB of SSD storage
  • 4 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open Linode
  • DigitalOcean
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 2 CPU
  • 60 GB of SSD storage
  • 4 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open DigitalOcean
  • Amazon Lightsail
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 2 CPU
  • 60 GB of SSD storage
  • 4 TB of transfer
  • No IPv6 support
  • Open Amazon Lightsail
  • Linode
  • 12 GB RAM
  • 6 CPU
  • 192 GB of SSD storage
  • 8 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open Linode
  • DigitalOcean
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 4 CPU
  • 80 GB of SSD storage
  • 5 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open DigitalOcean
  • Amazon Lightsail
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 2 CPU
  • 80 GB of SSD storage
  • 5 TB of transfer
  • No IPv6 support
  • Open Amazon Lightsail
  • Linode
  • 48 GB RAM
  • 12 CPU
  • 768 GB of SSD storage
  • 20 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open Linode
  • DigitalOcean
  • 32 GB RAM
  • 12 CPU
  • 320 GB of SSD storage
  • 7 TB of transfer
  • IPv6 support
  • Open DigitalOcean
  • Amazon
  • m4.2xlarge
  • 32 GB RAM
  • 8 CPU
  • No storage
    (from $0.1/GB-month on EBS)
  • Open Amazon

Domain Name

Your website needs a URL, so people can visit it.
Check how much different domains cost per year (the common ones like .com but also the unusual ones like .pizza).
Learn about what happens if you don't have a domain or the difference between domain providers.

  • Namecheap
  • $10.69 for .com
  • $12.48 for .org
  • $32.88 for .io
  • $39.88 for .pizza
  • Open Namecheap
  • Namesilo
  • $8.99 for .com
  • $10.79 for .org
  • No  .io domain
  • $12.99 for .pizza
  • Open namesilo
  • 1&1
  • $14.99 ($0.99 first year) for .com
  • $16.99 ($2.99 first year) for .org
  • $49 ($34.99 first year) for .io
  • $99 ($39.99 first year) for .pizza
  • Open 1&1
Google analytics dashboard

SSL certificate

For a long time, the only way to get an SSL (or TLS) certificate was to pay $30 or more per year. Fortunately, since December 2015, the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) sponsored by many companies created the Let's Encrypt project and now everyone can get SSL certificates for free. Go to the Let's Encrypt website and check how to install the certificate (they have instructions for different operating systems and web servers) or if you are using Ubuntu, check the more detailed, step-by-step tutorials from DigitalOcean (for Apache or Nginx).

Monitoring

You don't need to worry if your website is still working when you sleep.
There are automatic tools that will check it and notify you when something is wrong (your website is down or has errors).
Check out the best free uptime monitors.

  • Uptime Robot
  • 5 minutes check rate
  • 50 monitors
  • 1 location
  • Content matching help
  • Shows average response time
  • Integration with email, webhooks, Twitter, Hipchat, Pushbullet, Pushover, Slack, Boxcar 2
  • Free email-to-SMS help
  • (optional) $15 for 50 SMS
  • Open Uptime Robot
  • StatusCake
  • 5 minutes check rate
  • Unlimited monitors
  • 1 random location
  • No content matching
  • Shows average response time
  • Integration with email, webhooks, Twitter, Hipchat, Pushbullet, Pushover, Slack, PagerDuty, VictorOps, OpsGenie
  • No email-to-SMS
  • (optional) $15 for 50 SMS
  • Open StatusCake

Web analytics

Web analytics tools allow to see how users are interacting with your website. Starting from which browser or device is the most popular, what age are your visitors or how did they find your website, up to the heat maps showing what users clicked or how they moved the mouse.
For most cases I would recommend using the Google Analytics - it's free but packed with features. If you are concerned about the privacy, you can use Piwik - an open source tool, that you can host yourself. Finally, if you have a marketing team that needs more specific reports, there are many advanced, paid solutions (no recommendation here, as everything depends on your specific use case).

Google analytics dashboard

Files storage

When you ask about files storage, most people will recommend Amazon S3 and there are many good reasons for that. Not only it's one of the cheapest solutions, but it comes with additional benefits. For example, if you are using other parts of the AWS stack, transferring files between S3 and other services in the same region will usually be free (and fast, as all the traffic happens in the same data center). Also, thanks to it's huge popularity, there are plenty of libraries that will help you integrate S3 with basically any other piece of software. Apart from the standard S3 storage, AWS offers two other storage types, for files that you won't access so frequently: Infrequent Access Storage and Glacier Storage.

  • Amazon S3
  • Storage prices in $ per GB per month
  • Standard Storage 0.021 - 0.026 $
  • Infrequent Access Storage 0.0125 - 0.026 $
  • Glacier Storage 0.007 - 0.012 $
  • Transfering data out 0.05 - 0.25 $/GB
    First GB per month is free
  • Free transfer to EC2 (in the same region)
  • Check detailed prices
  • Open Amazon

CDN

When using a Content Delivery Network, all files for your website are distributed in many servers (Points of Presence or PoP) around the world.
Each time someone visits your website, the CDN will deliver the files from the closest location, making it load faster.
See some of the available CDN services below or read about other benefits of using a CDN.

  • CDN77
  • Transfer: 0.049 - 0.185 $/GB
  • Free storage (up to 50GB)
  • Points of presence: 32
  • Transfer discounts start from 30TB
  • Minimum recharge: $149
    (valid for 1 year)
  • CloudFront
  • Transfer: 0.085 - 0.25 $/GB
  • Free storage
  • Transfer between data centers:
    0.020 - 0.16 $/GB
  • 10,000 HTTP requests:
    0.0075 - 0.016 $
  • 10,000 HTTPS requests:
    0.01 - 0.022 $
  • Points of presence: 37
  • MaxCDN
  • 100GB/month (2 PoP): $9
  • 500GB/month (3 PoP): $39
  • 1TB/month (5 PoP): $79
  • $15 per month to use PoP outside of US and Europe
  • $12 per year for each additional PoP
  • CloudFlare
  • Free package: 3 page rules
  • $20/month: 20 page rules
  • $200/month: 50 page rules
  • DDoS protection
    (24/7/365 uptime in higher plans)

Error tracking

Not all the bugs are caught with tests, so it's important to know when users are seeing errors.
You can either sift through the logs or use tools for capturing and presenting exceptions in a more readable way.

  • Sentry
  • Free plan with:
    10,000 events per month
    1 user
  • Paid plans starting at $12/month:
    50,000 events per month
    Unlimited users
  • Pre-pay annually or pay on-demand
  • 90 days data retention
  • Open source version
    that you can host yourself
  • Rollbar
  • Free plan with:
    5,000 events per month
    30 days data retention
  • Paid plans starting at $49/month:
    100,000 events per month
    180 days data retention
  • Unlimited applications
  • Unlimited users
  • Airbrake
  • Free plan (1 user & 1 project)
    Paid plans starting at $49/month
  • 25 errors/minute
  • 30 days data retention
  • 30 days free trial
  • 5 application monitored
  • 5 team members

Sending emails

Sooner or later you realize that you need to communicate with users, for example by sending a newsletter from time to time.
Or, maybe you need to send emails automatically when user performs a specific action (using transactional emails).
Writing good emails is hard, but sending them for free (at least for a small audience) is not, thanks to the following companies.
Speaking of emails, don't forget to subscribe for DeployStack newsletter at the bottom of the page!

  • MailChimp
  • Free plan
  • 12,000 emails per month
  • 2,000 subscribers
  • Transactional emails through mandrill
    (requires paid plan)
  • SendinBlue
  • Free plan
  • 9,000 emails per month
    (300 emails per day limit)
  • Unlimited subscribers
  • Also transactional emails (free)
  • Transactional SMS (paid)
  • SparkPost
  • 100,000 free emails per month
  • 10,000 emails per day limit
  • Attachments up to 25MB (free)
  • Open SparkPost
  • Amazon SES
  • 62,000 free emails per month
  • Attachments: $0.12/GB
  • Fees for receiving emails
  • Open Amazon SES
  • Mailgun
  • 10,000 free emails per month
  • Free incoming emails
  • Attachments up to 25MB (free)
  • Open Mailgun

Version Control

Online code repositories allow you to share your code with other people and synchronize it between computers.
Most of them will let you create unlimited public repositories and some of them will also give you free private repositories.
Check the most popular options below.

  • GitLab
  • Free public repositiories
  • Free private repositiories
  • Free to host on your servers
  • Enterprise edition from $35/year
  • Comes with free continous
    integration and deployment tools
  • GitHub
  • Free public repositiories
  • Private repositories: $7/month
  • Free private repositories for students
  • Host on your servers: $21/user/month
  • Bitbucket
  • Free public repositiories
  • Free private repositiories (5 users)
  • Above 5 users: $1/user/month
  • Free for academic accounts

Continuous integration

With continuous integration and deployment, you can automatically run tests and other tasks each time you push code to a git repository.
And once the tests are passing, the new code can be automatically deployed to production.
Save yourself the hassle and test/deploy your websites automatically with one of those great tools.

  • CircleCI
  • 1500 build minutes per month for free
    (is that enough for me?)
  • Additional containers cost $50/month
  • Paid OS X plans to build in an Apple environment
  • 4 Linux containers and OS X plan
    for free for open source projects
  • Supports GitHub and Bitbucket
  • Codeship
  • 100 builds/month for free
  • Paid plans starting from $49/month
  • Codeship Basic plan for
    out-of-the-box workflow
  • Codeship Pro plan for fully customizable Docker boxes
  • Supports GitHub, Bitbucket, Gitlab
  • Travis CI
  • Free for open source (public) projects on GitHub
  • Only supports GitHub
  • Paid plans starting from $69/month
    (first 100 builds are free)
  • Plans for students
  • Jenkins
  • Free and open source
  • Self-contained, easy to install Java program that you can host yourself
  • 1000+ plugins
  • Cross-platform
  • Open Jenkins

Static websites

When you don't need a backend for your website, you can publish it as a static page.
It doesn't require a lot of computing resources and many companies will help you for free.
You can deploy websites straight from the command line or from a git repository.
If you anticipate adding more features (maybe a database?), check the advanced option.

  • GitLab pages
  • Free, static pages are hosted on GitLab
  • Separate websites for projects and organizations
  • Supports any static site generator
  • Free Continuous Integration
  • Slightly more complicated setup
  • GitHub pages
  • Free, static pages are hosted on GitHub
  • Separate websites for projects and organizations
  • Supports only Jekyll (to use other static site generators, you need to precompile files locally)
  • Easy, out-of-the-box setup
  • Surge
  • Free plan with unlimited websites, custom domains and basic SSL
  • Paid plan: $13/month/project
  • CLI and dashboard interface
  • Global CDN
  • Custom SSL (paid plan)
  • Custom redirects (paid plan)
  • Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (paid plan)
  • Open Surge
  • Aerobatic
  • Free plan with unlimited websites, custom domains and basic SSL
  • Paid plan: $15/month
  • CLI and dashboard interface
  • Global CDN
  • Deploy stages
  • 10 GB/day data transfer (for free)
    or 500 GB/month (paid plan)
  • Custom domain (paid plan)
  • Open Aerobatic
  • Netlify
  • Free plan for simple websites
  • Paid plans starting from $9/month
    ($49/month plan is free for Open Souce)
  • CDN for faster websites rendering
  • Free SSL certificates
  • HTTP2 support
  • Unlimited snapshots for reverting changes easily
  • Continuous Integration with GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket or your own repository
  • Supports multiple static site generators (Jekyll, Grunt, Middleman, Roots, Hugo) and front end build tools (Grunt, Gulp, Broccoli)
  • Firebase
  • Free plan (1GB storage, 10GB/month transfer)
  • Pay as you go and monthly plans available
  • CDN for faster websites rendering
  • Free SSL certificates
  • HTTP2 support
  • Requires manual deployment
  • Not only for static pages
    (various tools and infrastructure for all kinds of websites and apps)
  • Functions - serverless backend (like Amazon Lambda)

Cloud computing

Sometimes a simple hosting and a domain are not enough.
When you need a bunch of different tools, check out the cloud computing companies.
They may be more expensive, but having all tools in one place is easier (especially if your website grows bigger).

  • AWS
  • Free tier for the first 12 months
  • More features than competition
  • Longest time on market
    (more 3rd party libraries,
    better documentation)
  • Azure
  • 30 days free trial (with $200 free credits)
  • Good support for Windows application
Cloud computing platforms are complex and hard to compare (they change the list of features and pricing often).
Based on a specific use case, you will have to pick the best option yourself. Check those articles if you need help choosing: Sitepoint, Hacker News, RightScale.