When you’re starting a business, it’s all about spending time where it matters most: Finding customers, growing your audience, developing a product that sells. Don’t waste your valuable time by agonising over choice of technology or choice of the tools you use to run your business. It’s time to make quick decisions and move on!
This part of the startup technology blueprint is all about hosting your own online application. These are the choices I would make when setting up a new tech startup today.
This article continues from Part 1 – Domain Name, Blog, Landing Page, Logo
“Save time with this technical blueprint for startup companies”
App Hosting – Virtual Private Server
Many people reading this will be building an online app or website from scratch. Perhaps you’re building a backend for a mobile app. In any case, you will need hosting for your application.
My go to platform: Vultr – High Performance SSD Cloud Servers
Digital Ocean is also great and above all has amazing documentation for getting a server set up quickly. They are a close second and if you’re already with them, I see no need to move.
Technical folk swear by Amazon servers or more technical solutions like Heroku. These are great. They also come with additional technical complexity not found with Vultr or Digital Ocean. You can scale to these services later on. Early startups are all about developing customers, business models and refining your product offering. Keep technology as simple and out of the way as possible at this stage, so you can more easily find skilled team members and respond to changes faster.
My final point about application hosting: host the application on a subdomain, say app.yourdomain.com or users.yourdomain.com. This approach allows you to host your marketing and landing pages with another provider (more on this later).
App Hosting – Transactional Emails
Whatever you do, don’t send transactional emails directly from your web application server. Do yourself a massive favour and use a third-party transactional email server from the beginning. They are super easy to use and free up to a (fairly large) number of emails per month.
My favourites (use the one you like to look of most):
App Hosting – Backup
Backup doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, you can set up a cron job using Amazon S3 storage in a few minutes. Get this set up right from the start to backup your server configuration and user-contributed files (no need to back up your code).
App Hosting – Code Repository
For me, there is only one choice for code repository: GitHub. There are other very good providers out there but most developers will be familiar with GitHub and setup + integration with other tools is excellent.
Again, don’t over-think your decision and go with a mainstream solution. It will make building your team easier!
When coding your own app from scratch, I recommend using SSL everywhere from the start. My go-to provider is RapidSSL. Buy the ‘single domain’ version, currently $69 per year.
How much will all this cost?
Now you have all the tools and services at your disposal, how much will all this cost?
SSL Certificate: $69 (RapidSSL, 1 domain, 1 year)
Expenses from Part 1 £64.01 ($79.83)
Total one-off expenses: £119.06 ($148.83)
App Hosting: $25/month
(Vultr, entry level, one $5 test server, one $20 production server)
Amazon S3 backup:$5/month
(unlikely to get this high but let’s use that as a benchmark)
Transactional Emails: $0 (SendGrid)
(based on personal users, other developers have their own accounts)
Expenses from Part 1 £123.44 ($154.30)
Total monthly cost: £153 ($191.3)
So, there you have it. A complete blueprint for launching your own startup over the weekend. Good luck and please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.