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Ask HN: How fast could you get a minimal working SaaS up and running?
21 points by andrewstuart 5 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments
What's the minimum time it would take you to bring up an application on a custom domain with at least a user signup/signin/forgot password flow with email confirmations plus a simple CRUD form (like a TODO or similar)?

Assuming you were starting from a clean cloud server instance with nothing installed except Linux,

And what tech stack would you use to do that?

Its always best to work with the stack you are most familiar with. So for me that would

1. FeathersJS for backend [1]

2. Postgres DB

3. Angular for front end + bootstrap

4. Postmark for transactional email (for new signup email verification, forgot password, 2-factor login) [2]

5. Digital Ocean for VPS

6. Ansible for deploying everything (server hardening, UFW for firewall) + Digital Ocean Firewall

7. Namecheap for domain

8. DNS configuration done on Digital Ocean

Typescript for both Angular and FeathersJS

I've done this a few times and all together it would take me about 3 - 5 hours.

You can see my old ansible playbooks here https://github.com/bjacobt/digitalocean-ubuntu-ansible-setup

An old multi-tenant feathers JS sample application is here https://github.com/bjacobt/feathers-multi-tenant-example

[1] https://feathersjs.com/

[2] https://postmarkapp.com/

Edit: Add server hardening + formatting + github links

Personally, I’d go with tools I already built with because that’s for my productivity’s sake and it’d take maybe a few weeks to get all the little details I care about taken care of.

Others here have answered this question more or less the same way.

Try https://www.saaspegasus.com/ if you‘re comfortable with Python/Django.

5-10 minutes. I specialize in developing CRUD/line of business applications, and need to do this several times a week sometimes.

I've created a framework in Python, on top of FastApi(or Flask)/SqlAlchemy/React that allows me to create web apps with built-in authentication/authorization/payments/admin/email etc. It has several features that makes it really fast to create database models and CRUD functions.

2-3 minutes for the cli to create the base application and install dependencies. 1-2 minutes for the database models and UI. ~5 minutes for ansible-playbooks to bootstrap the server (hardening, installing docker). Another few minutes start the application on the server (build docker images, push to registry, deploy docker-compose scripts to server, run the app, bootstrap the database).

It would probably take several hours if I'm starting from scratch and using only open-source frameworks.

Assuming B2C, user-facing, and web-based.

- WordPress install which handles user account management - the theme my login plugin to style the login screens - ACF frontend for data collection from the user - Beaver builder to make it look like something

In fact this is how I built a new build-it-in-public web app over the weekend. Plug: LittleGoal.com

The combination of https://jumpstartrails.com/ and https://hatchbox.io/ will get you there in under an hour.

Not long ago, I tried to answer that exact question. These are the notes and time log: https://spreadsheettimeline.com/dev_notes/

Two full days, start to end. It's slightly different from a SaaS like you describe. No user login and no database. The time all went toward the UI and front-end functionality.

The app you describe with signup & CRUD would take 4-5 hours. With Laravel/MySQL as a stack. Laravel has excellent third-party modules for the user management pieces.

I can't remember the name of it now but I think someone here made something that bootstraps a saas for you with Django, auth, stripe integration, and all that kind of basic stuff.

Edit: after searching I think this is what I was thinking of. I have not used it though. Seems cool.


AWS Amplify is awesome if you are willing to do some intense study for a few weeks and months. Most of their services can be stood up rather quickly (hosting, auth, crud based activities) but get a 10K view of all that is possible takes time. There are so many choices, it gets overwhelming fast for some time and then you start to understand what fits where.

With these requirements, probably a day, with a few breaks. The UI wouldn't be pretty since it's not really my speciality, but it would work.

I would use an Elixir/Phoenix stack and get 75% of the reqs from generated code.

About an hour to install, configure, and secure a LAMP stack and WordPress, 15 minutes to create and test a form using a plugin, plus however long it takes DNS to start resolving. Under 3 hours, easily.

I could prob do it in two hours.

Laravel w the built-in and free Breeze starter kit.

One hour to install lamp stack or with nginx.

One hour for the simple app.

Someone who's done it before recently could do it in an hour or less I'd guess.

Use AWS Amplify and you're talking about a matter of minutes. Maybe an hour? It really accelerates development of apps like that, whether native or web.

I've essentially developed my own boiler plate as I've built my last few projects. I could clone a project and strip it down in about a day.

6 hours with Symfony + easyadmin

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