We receive a lot of questions about the tools/services I've used to build tiiny.host. So we wanted to list them all here and why.
The important thing that we've realised on our journey so far is that there are several critical tools that you should definitely install from launch that greatly improve your journey. It's not just about your app.
💬 Crisp Chat - IM Support (Highly Recommended)
Why: It's completely free on the lite plan compared with Intercom. We should have installed this from launch. It's done wonders for our feedback cycle and answering customer questions just before they upgrade. 30-40% of subscription conversions have begun with an in-bound Crisp chat.
🍯 HotJar - UX analytics (High Recommended)
Why: We only installed this last week, but again should have installed it very early on. HotJar provides live video replays of visitors of your site along with heatmaps. It's incredible for discovering where users are getting stuck in your app and optimising your flows. I've already made a dozen changes based on the data and see improved experiences.
📈 Google Analytics - General analytics
Why: We wanted something reliable & free with a great mobile app. There's definitely better tools out there for this but we liked to check stats on our phone. It's also incredibly simple to set up and powerful out the box
📧 Gsuite - Email
Price: $5 p/m
Why: Another reliable, tried & tested email solution. You can also just pay for one email account like firstname.lastname@example.org and set up alias emails that all forward to your main inbox e.g. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org for no extra cost.
Why: We wanted a free and tight integration for emails with our product. This isn't for everyone but the cost is basically negligible here. SES charge you $0 for the first 62,000 emails you send each month from an EC2 server.
💰 Stripe - Payments
Price: 2.9% + 20p per transaction
Why: We previously launched with Gumroad but a few weeks ago they unfairly suspended our account and withheld all of the funds (very annoyed by this - but for another post). Anyway, we managed to set up Stripe in a weekend and its working smoothly since. It's definitely more complex to set up but we think you really want a very reliable platform to handle this critical component.
🔒 Google reCAPTCHA v3 - Spam protection
Why: Our product particularly suffers from a lot of spam because of its low barriers to entry. reCAPTCHA v3 allows me to prevent anyone from spamming our APIs - you can now only call them from a browser. Google also scores the request so you can block any dodgy calls. It's also completely invisible to the user unlike the previous reCAPTCHA where you have find the all the pots of gold in a rainbow or something.
🖥️ Amazon Web Services - Platform hosting
Price: $20 p/m
Why: Whilst we don't think this route is for everyone, we arem very familiar with AWS and it gives us practically unlimited flexibility with regards to the what we want to build. Services we use: S3, Cloudfront, EC2, Dynamo. They're also super cheap at low usage (and as you scale depending on how you architect).
👨💻️ React & Node - Frontend / Backend
Why: Again, I'm very familiar with the libraries and there's no point in re-inventing the wheel with another library (vue.js, svelte etc). We wanted to focus on the product & shipping.
🌐 NGINX - Routing
🐞 Sentry - Bug tracking - Free
Why: Because of the rate at which we are shipping and lack of tests this has been critical for understanding if users are dropping because of any issues. It's a one-line installation and instantly emails you if any unexpected errors occur with your product.
How about your product? What do you use? Anything we should add to this list?