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It does seem like cost are negligible today, but on deeper analysis theres a lot of costs beyond simply hosting.

Just from memory for my startup (Authy.com), initial costs were:

Domain: $1000+

Design: $3000

Video: $3000

Hosting: $400

Depending on your skills this initial costs will vary. An although I agree you don't need external investment to cover them, you should at least plan to invest $10,000US to cover your initial costs.

A lot of the things that you seem to think of as mandatory are not.

Domain: or get something longer for $9. E.g., authyapp.com or getauthy.com

Design: http://themeforest.net/ $15-$25, or DIY (depends on how much design matters for your niche--for Pinboard it clearly doesn't)

Video: You don't need no stinkin' video

Hosting: Maciej is recommending http://prgmr.com/xen/ for $32 (but can you actually run a modern app stack on just 128 MB of RAM?) Anyway, even if you need a gig, that's $100.

>(but can you actually run a modern app stack on just 128 MB of RAM?)

C/Golang/Lua/Vala/SBCL/Ada/Pascal and an embedded datastore like bdb!

Why in my day we used to write little apps with C and bdb that used less than 5mb of memory! (Sqlite didn't exist yo.)

Heck these days you get (ENTERPRISE) choices like LevelDB and BangDB.

Edit: Who wants to have a datastore-backed c10k contest on prgmr machines? :D

Ha, I'm aware that if you're careful, you can do it, but I was more thinking of a python or ruby stack with MySQL (or whatever) that most people would use :).

MySQL and Ruby could be made to work. (on 128mb of ram)...concurrency would be awful though.

I was trying to be lean.

Ruby users are quiche eaters anyway. Real programmers write their code in Fortran and persist to a hierarchical database on a mainframe.

Real programmers use a magnetic needle and a steady hand.

Haha. That's funny.

You think real programmers need needles.

Or hands.

I still feed the punchcards into the mainframe with my mouth.

Not unless you consider every request needing to use disk swap "running" which I can assure you is orders of magnitude slower and terrible.

In my experience on Rackspace cloud 512MB instances are the minimum you should use for tiny production apps. Also, they're discontinuing 256MB on OpenStack - these were suitable for single-user dev instances, but I got more swap and or locking if ever attempting to run publicly with traffic. 512MB instances solved that issue.

Edit: Also I should mention I'm assuming you mean wanting to run a fairly standard stack, not a stack targeted toward tiny memory footprint.

> can you actually run a modern app stack on just 128 MB of RAM

Depends on what you call modern.

I think fitting nginx / embedded lua / redis should be possible (considering your dataset fits into 32 megs).

Actually, that sounds like an interesting challenge!

I agree that getting things done "properly" still costs money. But every single item on your list can be done for at least one order of magnitude less in the MVP stage.

* Domain: $9 * Design: $50 (Themeforest) * Video: $5 (Fiverr) * Hosting: $0 (Pick your choice)

I've been thinking semi-seriously about this & I came to the conclusion that with $37 you can actually get a LOT done.

Design 0 ( use bootstrap) Video 0 ( who needs video to get started?)

Seriously, why over complicate things?

Bootstrap is not design, it's just a tool that you can use to create a design.

When hosting on Heroku, first dyno per app is free!

Unless Heroku has changed, you absolutely should not host a production site using a free account. If your site doesn't get any traffic for a certain period of time, they spin down your instance. This means that the next subsequent view will have an abnormally long load time as they wait for your EC2 instance to spin back up. The $20/mo at Rackspace (or any other provider) is well worth it.

App Engine has this problem too. The solution is to run a cronjob somewhere (App Engine has cron built in, so I've used that in the past) that hits your frontend every ~10 minutes or so. Instances never go stale, and on App Engine, you get 28 instance hours/day for free, so you can stay under the free quota as well.

On Heroku, you don't even need to manually run a cronjob or set up something that feels like you're consciously trying to game the system. If you sign up for the free tier of NewRelic that Heroku offers, it'll automatically ping your dyno often enough to prevent it being spun down.

The second dyno brings your total to ~30/ month. Still quite cheap. Youd only need more if you have users, and at that point its a worthwhile expense.

I was looking at Authy the other day.

What does it do exactly? I couldn't figure it out from the website and I churn through a lot of landing pages.

"Authy is a simple API to add two-factor authentication to your website or app"

Two-factor auth is a thing where when you log in to something, you also get a text message, or open an app on your smartphone, and type that into the app you're trying to log into. The purpose of this is that even if someone figures out your password, they can't get access to your account, because they don't have the 2nd form of auth (hence two-factor.)

I understand two-factor auth just fine, it just wasn't clear to me if it was a demand-side or supply-side service.

It's a way to add two-factor authentication to your website or app. Instead of having people log in with just username and password, they'll also have to enter a code. They get the code from the Authy app on their phone.

(PS I'm not affiliated with Authy, just trying to be helpful.)

Two-factor auth as a service for what is likely software as a service?

Basically, yeah. Goes well with platform-as-a-service for software-as-a-service, full-text-indexing-as-a-service for software-as-a-service, payment-as-a-service for software-as-a-service, etc.

Easier to snap these components together than roll your own.

Your logo is very SquareSpace-ish.

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