Freelancers and digital agency owners, what do you use to deploy client websites?

I've noticed that most ecommerce online stores are hosted on Shopify nowadays, as I noticed from this post:

How about other kinds of websites created by the freelancers and digital agency owners of this community? Do you host on shared hosts? Or VPS providers such as Digital Ocean? Or Cloud services such as AWS?

The most challenging part (for me) about VPS providers and cloud services is the management of your servers across different services, once the number of your servers goes past 4 or 5.

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I thought about this recently, and the approach that I would do personally is setup a GitHub premium account with private repositories and then host the sites through Netlify.

Thanks for the tip Meghan. Another team at my workplace does use Netlify for static website mockups, but I'm not quite sure about their offerings for dynamic sites... Their marketing copy mentions dynamic sites, but their docs seem to mention my-static-website extensively...

Remember that a static front end doesn't have to mean a "static" user experience. A single page front end application consisting of HTML, CSS, and JS can very still be dynamic, data driven, and engaging without sacrificing whole page cache-ability. This is my architecture of choice for all consumer-facing sites.

Heroku is my go-to to deploy client projects, because it's super easy and reliable, but also very flexible and scalable. At some point it becomes cost prohibitive though, and that's when AWS comes in.

As for something like Shopify, I've worked quite a bit with NationBuilder, which is like Shopify, but for political campaigns, non-profits, unions, etc. It's also technically very similar to Shopify (Rails in the backend, with Liquid templates).


I've also been looking into Heroku. For a client project it might be fine, but it seems quite cost-prohibitive for side-projects. US$25 for a 512MB RAM Dyno is quite a lot when you could get a similar sized droplot from Digital Ocean for US$5

Heroku does seem VERY convenient though, which is probably where the premium pricing comes in.

Absolutely, you pay for the ease of use and costs do add up (a decent PostgreSQL add-on is $50). But I always start with a free dyno, and then upgrade to the $7/month option for personal projects. And clients appreciate the easy access to monitoring, logs, rebooting the dynos, etc. Also super easy to transfer ownership of the whole app when you're done with it.

All that said, I spun up a personal project on AWS last month and just got a $70 bill! Heroku's expensive, but more predictable and transparent than AWS.

Wow, $70 does seem excessive! Does AWS at least provide a proper audit trail for the costs? If I got an excessive bill like that, I would be worried whether my AWS keys got leaked somehow. xD

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