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Ask HN: Tools of the trade, 2013 edition
494 points by sharjeel on Feb 17, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 159 comments
Few years ago, Joshua Schachter started this thread on HN for discussing hosted useful services: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1769910

The contribution in thread introduced many interesting SaaS services which can immensely help in deploying services as well as development.

It's been three years since then. What do we have today?

Here is what we use

1. BitBucket (http://www.bitbucket.org) - Source code hosting

2. Google Docs (http://drive.google.com) - Team Collaboration

3. BitBucket Issues (http://www.bitbucket.org) - Team Collaboration

4. Heroku (http://www.heroku.com) - PaaS/sysadmin replacement

5. Hirefire (http://www.hirefireapp.com) - Scale up/down dynos on Heroku based on traffic

6. Mongolab (http://www.mongolab.com) - Database-aaS

7. Pusher (http://www.pusherapp.com) - WebSockets-aaS

8. Filepicker (http://www.filepicker.io) - Uploading files to the application

9. Mailgun (http://www.mailgun.com) - Send & Receive Mails

10. PaperTrail (http://www.papertrail.com) - Error Logging (Rails)

11. Errorception (http://www.errorception.com) - Error Logging (JS)

12. Desk.com (Knowledge Base + Customer Support)

PaperTrail URL should be https://papertrailapp.com/ :)

I STRONGLY recommend Asana: http://www.asana.com

It's like using a smart piece of paper that just gets out of your way and let's you create, assign, toggle, set dates, etc really intuitively.

I'm a freelancer - and for my usage I typically have a Workspace called Freelance Projects. In that workspace I have many projects, each for each freelance gig I land. I then invite my client (YOU CAN INVITE UP TO 30 PEOPLE PER PROJECT FOR FREE HOLY BALLS) and collaborate intuitively from there.

He/she can upload photoshop files, images, text files, edit desriptions and I can comment on them and we go back and forth. Better than email. I used to procrastinate a lot. It was my achille's heel; but since Asana I enjoy working because there's something deeply psychological in ticking things off and seeing them grayed out.If you haven't checked it out.

There's also Trello but I kind of dislike it when there are more than 5 items in a list. It gets unwiedly.

Very interesting. How is it pronounced? Asana like in Yoga?

The company pronounces it as-AH-nuh rather than AS-uh-nuh.


dude, your shift key is broken. you might wanna get a new keyboard.

That looks like a fantastic product. You mentioned creating a freelance workspace and then projects for each gig, but don't you invite/share at the workspace level? How do you configure per project permissions to the applicable client?

I use these for Hacker Monthly (http://hackermonthly.com):

SendGrid (http://sendgrid.com) - transactional emails (sending digital issues to subscribers).

MailChimp (http://mailchimp.com) - newsletter.

Linode (http://linode.com) - VPS hosting.

Harvest (http://getharvest.com) - invoicing (for corporate customers + advertisers).

FetchApp (http://fetchapp.com) - digital delivery (for single issue purchase). Previously used E-Junkie.

PayPal - payment gateway (sadly, one of the only choice for Malaysian).

Gumroad (http://gumroad.com) - I use this as a 'PayPal alternative' for customers who wish to pay directly with their credit card (and refuse to have anything to do with PayPal).

Pivotal Tracker (http://pivotaltracker.com) - project management for HM's backend app

ODesk (http://odesk.com) - finding and managing my remote team (currently in the size of 4).

What sort of things do you have the folks on ODesk doing? Support, editorial..?

Here are a few that we use.

Airbrake (http://airbrake.io/) - Exception logging.

Campfire (http://campfirenow.com/) - Chat.

Librato (https://metrics.librato.com/) - Hosted graphing.

Mixpanel (http://mixpanel.com/) - Analytics, people tracking.

Pagerduty (http://www.pagerduty.com/) - Monitoring alerts.

Sendgrid (http://sendgrid.com/) - Sending emails.

Sprintly (https://sprint.ly/) - Project management.

Tarsnap (http://www.tarsnap.com/) - Offsite backups.

As well as all the obvious ones - GitHub, Google Apps, Dropbox, etc.

I still find the Atlassian OnDemand suite to be the most complete thing for teams after we out grew BaseCamp/GitHub: http://www.atlassian.com/software/ondemand/overview/

BitBucket: just like github (git, wiki, issues, pull requests etc) only priced that makes sense for private repos. We just use it for git however because...

JIRA: Way better issues/bugs/feature tickets, built in optional time tracking. Good support for Agile teams with GreenHopper

Confluence: A real wiki

Bamboo: continuous integration/deployment. When you commit to git with a JIRA ticket number and a build fails its easier for everyone (non-technical people) to see what is causing the failed build

The other big plus is user management to all of the above, you can create client accounts if needed and they can create/close tickets or work on wiki with you.

HipChat is nice because your non technical people participate easier, irc previously had just been developers

You can probably get all of these things free individually but its worth the small $ to have them all work together seamlessly, plus 1 account vs many is always a big plus for adoption


SplunkStorm: https://www.splunkstorm.com/ log practically anything server related and put it into dashboards/timelines. Alerts in the works

Harvest ( http://getharvest.com ) - Time tracking and invoicing for freelance work

SendGrid ( http://sendgrid.com ) - API for sending and tracking email

Lighthouse ( http://lighthouseapp.com ) - Issue tracking for teams

Trello ( http://trello.com ) - Task tracking, lists

Stripe ( http://stripe.com ) - Fast, easy payment processing

BundleScout ( http://bundlescout.com ) - Third-party library update tracking (shameless plug, but I use BundleScout at BundleScout)

Tomatoes (http://tomato.es) - Time tracker and pomodoro timer

Why did you go with stripe over braintree?

I've been assembling a list of these lately for a book that I'm working on. (http://startingandsustaining.com) Some of the categories are fairly loose as some apps don't fit nicely into categorical buckets, but hopefully this is a helpful list.

--Browser/Email Testing

BrowserStack (http://www.browserstack.com)

Litmus (http://litmus.com)

--Bug/Issue Tracking

BugHerd (http://bugherd.com)

Lighthouse (http://lighthouseapp.com)

Sifter (http://sifterapp.com) (Disclaimer: I built this.)

--Planning & Project Management

Sprintly (http://sprint.ly)

Podio (https://podio.com)

Flow (http://www.getflow.com)

Interstate (http://interstateapp.com)

Basecamp (http://basecamp.com)

Apollo (http://www.apollohq.com)

Pivotal (http://www.pivotaltracker.com)

Asana (http://www.asana.com)

Trello (https://trello.com)

Blossom (https://www.blossom.io)

Trajectory (https://www.apptrajectory.com)

--Business & Traffic Analytics

KissMetrics (http://kissmetrics.com)

MixPanel (http://mixpanel.com)

DigMyData (http://digmydata.com)

--Continuous Integration / Code Quality

Travis (https://travis-ci.org)

Circle (http://circleci.com)

CodeClimate (http://codeclimate.com)

Sempaphore (https://semaphoreapp.com)


Ducksboard (http://ducksboard.com)

Geckoboard (http://www.geckoboard.com)

Instrumental (https://instrumentalapp.com)

--Error/Exception Handling

Sentry (https://getsentry.com)

Coalmine (https://www.getcoalmine.com)

HoneyBadger (https://www.honeybadger.io)

BugSnag (https://bugsnag.com)

Raygun (http://raygun.io)

--Log Monitoring

Loggly (http://loggly.com)

Papertrail (https://papertrailapp.com)

LogEntries (https://logentries.com)

--Billing & Payment Processing

Braintree (https://www.braintreepayments.com)

Stripe (http://stripe.com)

Pin (http://pin.net.au)

PayMill (http://paymill.com)

Recurly (http://recurly.com)

Chargify (http://chargify.com)

Spreedly (http://spreedly.com)

Spreedly Core (https://core.spreedly.com)

--Support/Help Desks

Desk (http://desk.com)

HelpScout (http://helpscout.net)

ZenDesk (http://zendesk.com)

Groove (http://groovehq.com)

Intercom (http://intercom.io)

Tender (http://tenderapp.com)

--Transactional Email

Postmark (https://postmarkapp.com)

Mandril (http://mandrill.com)

MailGun (http://www.mailgun.com)

SendGrid (http://sendgrid.com)

CloudSMTP (http://www.cloudsmtp.com)

CritSend (http://www.critsend.com)

Postage (http://postageapp.com)

--Email Collection/Landing Page Apps

Launchrock (http://launchrock.com)

Unbounce (http://unbounce.com)

KickoffLabs (http://www.kickofflabs.com)

Launch Effect (http://launcheffectapp.com)

Prefinery (https://www.prefinery.com)

LaunchGator (http://launch.deskgator.com)

Great list, thank you.

For people looking to use apps, please consider the likelihood and impact of one of these companies disappearing overnight. Some of them are tech startups without a sustainable critical mass and they could shut down at any time.

If your landing page provider stops providing service, it's probably easy to recover if you have copies of all the email address collected. If your planning and project management tool disappears with all your data, there could be a significant cost.

I'd bet that half the services on this page will not exist in a few years time. If the success of your business relies on them trading, pick carefully.

I'd look for companies that are not funded in that case.

If you look at the list above you'll notice that there are plenty of well-funded companies as well as bootstrapped companies. Zendesk has raised $85M. On the other end of the spectrum, you have Tender and Lighthouse from ENTP, which are not funded at all.

Unlike consumer internet startups, I think there's only one criterion for whether or not a SaaS product will be around in 5 years: Does the product work well?

Most of these companies don't/can't rely on network effects to grow, so there's very little winner-takes-all action. That's why you'll see plenty of breathing room for big players and small players alike in any given category.

Disclaimer: I'm the founder of a bootstrapped, profitable company, so I'm probably biased toward bootstrappers.

Revenue is the important metric. Funding can only delay the inevitable if they do not have revenue. Being funded does not mean you won't have to look for a new vendor in 6 months. Only the runway is a bit longer if the revenue isn't there.

I'd agree that this is one criterion, but being funded is neither necessary nor sufficient :)

There's a problem worth fixing... a service that tracks apps and their "probability of existence in x years." Or something.

You might want to trim that down a bit. As it stands it's more an incomplete list of services for each category than a list of favorites.

I like that it's not a completely biased list, but more of a curated 'these are options you should check out and make your own informed opinion on' list.

Awesome, great to see Instrumental (https://instrumentalapp.com/) in your list. I'm one of the folks working on it, would love to hear your thoughts on us.

Some quick reviews of some of the products listed:

* Lighthouse (http://lighthouseapp.com) - Bug Tracker - good for keeping track of simple stuff last I used it (~2 years ago), but Github Issues obviated its use for me.

* Pivotal (http://www.pivotaltracker.com/) - Project Management - great tool, not trivial to keep well managed tho. Easy to let your project get out of hand with tons of tickets, requires some discipline in its use.

* Trello (https://trello.com/) - Project Management - simple, fast. Really great for keeping tasks focused on a small team, I'm not sure how it would suit a larger team though.

* Airbrake (http://airbrake.io/) - Error Handling - You didn't have this in your list, but it deserved a mention. It's okay for server side error handling, its client side stuff leaves something to be desired though. More often than not their hosted JS lags on load, causes your page load times to go up as well. Doesn't currently offer a supported hosted version.

* Stripe - (https://stripe.com/) - Billing & Payment Processing - Does just about everything right imo. Great documentation, great interface, website is well engineered. Analytics / reporting would be awesome tho.

* Intercom - (http://intercom.io/) - Support/Help Desks - I seriously love Intercom. For managing a team of people doing outreach to users, it is awesome. I view it as a fantastic tool for triaging retention.

* Uservoice - (http://uservoice.com/) - Support/Help Desks - You didn't mention them either, but I thought I'd add. They are pretty great, even for small companies. I think their sweet spot is a larger support team tho. Great interface.

Pivotal: Horrible, abysmal tool. Hate it with a passion. No clear overview at all, UI is full of shiny colors but is messy as hell. I'm really glad we've switched to Jira[1] after fighting with pivotal for a couple of months. YMMV ofcourse :)

[1] http://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/overview

Pivotal is an agile planning tool; JIRA is an issue tracking and classical project management tool. While each can be coerced to the other's function, it's really comparing apples and oranges. I'll admit that JIRA and Pivotal continue to muddy the differentiation with afterthought additions like JIRA's Greenhopper and Pivotal's time tracking. But JIRA is a good tool for issue tracking and Pivotal is a good tool for agile planning. If you're trying to use either tool for the other's purpose, you'll hate it.

I still can't read "tool for agile planning" without crying inside my head. We really need "tools" to "implement" "processes" in the spirit of a 6-line manifesto, do we? Sigh.

Aww. Don't cry. It's not a process tool. It's a prioritized to-do list that can track your velocity. Despite being opinionated, it doesn't enforce a process. Though you'll find that if you don't embrace those 6 lines, you'll quickly make a mess inside Pivotal and it will happily let you do so.

I definitely agree with the YMMV bit; I have found this category of tools to be incredibly divisive. I know a lot of folks who thought that going in the opposite direction of yours, Jira to Pivotal, was one of the best decisions they've made for a project.

I've only ever casually used Jira, however, so am ill qualified to speak to its strengths.

I'm in the category you're describing. (Switched from Jira/Greenhopper to Pivotal and happy about it).

I think the divisive bit may, in part, be that Pivotal is a strongly opinionated tool while Jira is a fairly customizable and open ended tool.

For projects & teams committed to the process Pivotal champions, it's highly optimized. For teams using a different process, or who need to customize views for different people etc, Jira can provide more options, and be a better fit.

For me personally... at the moment, I really appreciate Pivotal's relative simplicity and the way it encourages folks to focus on the somewhat nearer term.

I love Pivotal. While I haven't used Jira, I've gotten the feeling that other members of my team have used it in the past, and don't like it at all. On another note, Siebel time tracking is a pit of hell.

Your demo is failing for me. Also does it show percentiles and alerts based on some rules?

Edit: That was due to JS being disabled in my browser

Percentiles is a feature we're planning on adding at some point in the future, though we have customers calculating it themselves right now using things like metriks-instrumental ( https://github.com/netshade/metriks-instrumental ).

Alerts is actually in beta right now :) - we're testing it out with a few customers. It's based on our query language, and alerts you with a graph of the problem when the event occurs. ( or updates an HTTP endpoint you control, if you wish )

edit: I forgot to mention, my apologies you encountered an error. We've been living on the edge of browser support land for the time being, and could do a better job letting you know that you're not meeting the minimum reqs.

Did I understand things correctly? Instrumental appears to be Ruby only...

Our agent (for in process collection) is Ruby only right now. That said, we've got a large number of customers who really like our graphs and query language, and so send us metrics using a Statsd backend[1] written by one of our other customers. (edit: which is to say that we really support anything that has a Statsd client)

[1]: https://github.com/collectiveidea/statsd-instrumental-backen...

Performance / Load Testing -----

* BrowserMob (http://www.neustar.biz/enterprise/web-performance/how-load-t...) You can upload selenium scripts and they'll run it on X physical / Y virtual servers for a given period of time. It's a great tool to stress test your servers.

* Blitz.io (https://www.blitz.io/) Basically just a DDOS on your server.

* BeesWithMachineGuns (https://github.com/newsapps/beeswithmachineguns) You can set this up with EC2 and DDOS your own server with it as well. This gives you a bit more control than blitz, but it requires a little work to get it up and running.

You're missing a pretty important category tools used to communicate automatically with users. Mixpanel and KISS have some features like this, but there's others more focused on it. Customer.io, Intercom.io, etc.

Yup, totally agreed. Automated customer communication is crucial to improve conversion rates. I built an open source tool called UserBee that helps setting up automated emails to users based on some conditions being met. For example, using UserBee you can track users' last login time and send out an automated email when a user doesn't login for X days.


Would love to hear feedback.

Thanks for mentioning it. Intercom is in there, kind of crammed into the "support" category. I'll definitely add Customer.io and create a dedicated category.

Ultimately, this wasn't meant to be an exhaustive list. It's just a quick list from some very superficial collecting of URLs. There's still a lot of work to do for the book before the list is complete.

--Log Monitoring Sumo Logic (http://sumologic.com/)

Their free tier (500MB/day) is far more generous than mentioned services.

Incredible list Garret. Also of course thanks a lot for including Blossom :)

I'd also add group chat tools like HipChat, Campfire, FlowDock, Grove, hall.

Have a great weekend

Great list. I posted a bunch of tools / services we use at Ginzametrics about a month ago (scroll to the bottom):


A service I run, PickFu, is popular with entrepreneurs and product designers for quick feedback on ideas and designs.


Another vote for PickFu. I've used them in the past as a part of design project and I've been happy with the results.

How do you guarantee your 50 responses? Where are the responses coming from?

It looks like you have to pay for it so I guess they pay others to get that feedback?


Add one for error/exception tracking:

Ratchet.io (http://ratchet.io)

Private beta but public launch is very soon; mention HN for immediate invite.

Been poking around a bit. Looking promising.

Here's a few more to add to your list (not all SaaS)...


Snowplow (https://github.com/snowplow/snowplow)

Segment.io (http://segment.io)


Close.io (http://close.io),

Streak (http://www.streak.com/)

Base (http://getbase.com)


ElasticSales (https://elasticsales.com/)


Metaverse Mod Squad (http://metaversemodsquad.com/)


Factual (http://www.factual.com/)


Titan (http://thinkaurelius.com/)

Tinkerpop (http://www.tinkerpop.com/)

Bulbs (http://bulbflow.com)

Datomic (http://datomic.com)


Logstash (http://logstash.net)

Lumberjack (https://github.com/jordansissel/lumberjack)

Fluentd (http://fluentd.org),

Flume (https://github.com/cloudera/flume)

Kafka (http://sna-projects.com/kafka/)

Scribe (https://github.com/facebook/scribe/)


Harvest (http://www.getharvest.com/)

Ballpark (http://www.getballpark.com/)

PaySimple (http://paysimple.com/)

AcceptPay (http://acceptpay.com)

FreshBooks (http://www.freshbooks.com/)

FreeAgent (http://www.freeagent.com/)

Blinksale (http://www.blinksale.com/)


Balanced Payements (https://www.balancedpayments.com/)

Dwolla (https://www.dwolla.com/)


Simple (http://simple.com)


Plivo (http://plivo.com/)

Tropo (https://www.tropo.com/)

Twillo (http://www.twilio.com/)

PhoneBooth (http://www.phonebooth.com/)


Orchestra (http://www.orchestra.com/)


Runa PerfectOffer (http://www.runa.com/products/perfectoffer/)


Tracelytics (http://www.tracelytics.com) / AppNeta (http://www.appneta.com/)

Riemann (http://riemann.io)

Zipkin (https://github.com/twitter/zipkin/)

Pulse (https://github.com/heroku/pulse/)


Bonsai (http://www.bonsai.io)

WebSolr (http://websolr.com/)

Swiftype (https://swiftype.com/)

Searchify (http://www.searchify.com/)

CloudSearch (http://aws.amazon.com/cloudsearch/)

SearchBlox (http://www.searchblox.com/)


Burp (http://www.portswigger.net/burp/intruder.html)

DuoSecurity (https://www.duosecurity.com/)

Authy (https://www.authy.com/)

CryptoSeal (http://cryptoseal.com/)

AnchorFree (http://www.anchorfree.com/)

Cloak (https://www.getcloak.com/)


Postmaster.io (https://www.postmaster.io/)

Runa PerfectShipping (http://www.runa.com/products/perfectshipping/)


Olark (http://olark.com)

SnapEngage (http://www.snapengage.com/)


Dribble (http://dribbble.com/)

Sortfolio (http://sortfolio.com/)


Evernote (http://evernote.com)

For Support / Help Desk, I'd like to mention my startup as a lightweight alternative:

SupportFu (http://www.supportfu.com)

This is a great idea for a book. I would love to see this as a site with a Q&A type search for on the fly suggestions. It's a major timesaver instead of scavenging through Google with "the best of" type of searches.

I believe I'm overlooking how to manually force line breaks in there. Any tips?

Indent everything four spaces or double carriage return after each line. Thanks!

Use a double enter space.

double enter space or double space enter?

Very nice list! If its not too much to ask, could you give a short blurb on each (assuming youve used it before, why you like the service)

Also, is there a reason you don't mention other services (e.g. Balanced payments)?

I try to avoid any specific recommendations of services because everybody's needs and priorities are so wildly different. I'm very much of the belief that it's best for people to take a look themselves rather than rely on others' preferences.

In terms of not mentioning other services, it's probably more a matter of the book being in progress. I've done quite a bit of research, but the vendors list is rather incomplete because I'll be including it in the appendix of the book. So in most cases it's simply a matter of the fact that I haven't actually finished it yet. These are mainly just from my notes that I've jotted down.

I'd like to mention:

Errormator (https://errormator.com)

For performance metrics monitoring/exception aggregation/in-app log collection

How does FogBugz (http://www.fogcreek.com/fogbugz/) compare to bugherd or lighthouse?

Whoa, awesome! Thanks Garrett!

TravisCI's .com url didn't work for me, but this did: https://travis-ci.org/

Fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

Another system monitoring SaaS: https://www.serverdensity.com/

(Disclaimer: I work for SD)

Your Asana link is to pivotal :)

Fixed. Thanks!

Yikes, that's a long list.

This is our current list; I'm ignoring ones we've stopped using or haven't really started using properly yet.

Github - obviously

AWS - obviously

Ylastic - easier AWS management

Sendgrid - mail delivery

Stripe - payment processing

Pingdom - external uptime tracking

PagerDuty - ops alerting and scheduling

Xero - accounting

JIRA - task management (the hosted version at Atlassian)

Desk - support tickets

Crashplan - personal machine backups

Google Docs/Mail - everything else

Others have been mentioning Fabric, Puppet, Graphite, Nagios -- we use these but they're not hosted services, so not sure they fit.

I don't think Github is an "obviously" unless you have an open source project. It's really not that hard to set up a git ssh server

The GitHub web interface is SO much better than running your own repository. Pull requests are awesome for code reviews, the code browsing interface is best of breed, and if you use their issue tracker and/or wiki everything links together fantastically well.

I just wrote about this very thing yesterday. I'm wondering why people don't host their own git repos. Yeah, GitHub's interface is amazing but is it always necessary? I can only understand using GitHub for git for open source stuff and maybe large team stuff. Otherwise there's really no need for that fancy UI with private repositories. Just branch, pull, and inspect the code. It's not like it takes any longer than waiting for GitHub's pages to load. But hey, maybe I'm the weirdo and everyone else is sane.

The GitHub web interface is SO much better than running your own repository.

And all you have to do is trust probably your second most valuable asset to an external service outside your organisation... What could possibly go wrong?

Your cash is a valuable asset to your startup, too, but people don't store that in-house.

Who do you trust more, github or Wall Street?

This is true, but it's a question of what the risk is. Externally hosting usually has 2 possible catastrophic outcomes: data loss and data exposure.

As you probably have the code checked out by a number of employees, data loss is annoying but not catastrophic as you're probably not losing anything more than a few hours time.

Data exposure would have a greater impact, but the likelihood is probably around the same as if you run your own repo through credential compromise. The Github security team is probably around the same level of effectiveness as you are.

So it's probably not that big a deal. Having said that, we self-host our git repos :).

Moqups (https://www.moqups.com/) - Wireframing tool

Sendgrid (http://sendgrid.com/) - Sending emails

Braintree (https://www.braintreepayments.com/) - Payments

Deployd (http://www.deployd.com/) - Quickly design and build APIs

Github (https://github.com/) - Project hosting and issue tracker

Oh my god, Deployd is incredible! How come it's not in the front HN page forever?

Seriously now, this is pratically open source Parse!

I agree -- wow! Seems like it also competes with firebase. And it seems like it would also be useful in some cases where you'd otherwise use meteor or derby.

What we use at graphdat.

Source code: http://www.github.com We could host our own server, but github is really convenient and our SDKs are open source so its easier.

Workflow & Issues: http://huboard.com/ Given we use github, huboard makes it easy to mange the issues

Build: http://jenkins-ci.org/ and https://github.com/capistrano/capistrano Such a nice setup, we host our own jenkins server, I have seen some links above to Travis, might give that a spin.

Tickets & Wiki: http://www.uservoice.com Its a love/hate relationship with uservoice. They make some things easy, others are so arcane. I'm adding in a wiki article right now with some images in it. But uservoice doesn't let you host an image, so I put it into an S3 bucket, add the link to uservoice and there is a security error. I go back to the bucket, reset the security settings and uservoice is caching the image error and wont let me add the images, so I need to edit the source. So hard for something so simple.

Team Communication: https://www.flowdock.com/ We were using Campfire, but we like flowdock much better. Threaded conversations are still tough, I actually miss Google Wave. We had 1 wave a day, it starts to grow on you.

Log Aggregation: http://graylog2.org/ Very cool once you get it all working together

Server Metrics and Application Analytics: http://www.graphdat.com We dog food our own product, so it's our servers on the homepage..

Some other notable candidates:

'your personal website': http://backstit.ch/ handy to monitor a couple of feeds

'tech news aggregator': http://skimfeed.com/ nice way to skim some news

Awesome to hear that your using backstitch! (I'm one of the Co-Founders). If you get a chance I would love to talk with you about how your using it and what you would like to see from the service. Please feel free to ping me at jordan [AT] backstit.ch

Graylog2 (http://graylog2.org/) - Log management & analytics in browser

Torch (for hosted Graylog https://www.torch.sh/)

I've found that http://www.bestvendor.com/ and http://alternativeto.net/ are nice sites to figure out tool stacks.

BestVendor even lets you put together your own customized lists: http://www.bestvendor.com/lists/tool-stack-for-pmrobot-a-mob...

Hipchat (http://hipchat.com) - team collaboration

Stripe (http://stripe.com) - payments

Mandrill (http://mandrill.com) - email

Tinfoil Security (http://tinfoilsecurity.com) - web security

Help Scout (http://helpscout.net) - help desk / customer support

I'm not sure about the current trends, but here is my list for 2012-2013

- Github (http://github.com) for Open Source and private source code control.

- Bitbucket (http://bitbucket.org) mostly private source code management.

- Linode (http://linode.com) Where I run my virtual servers.

- Trello (http://trello.com) Manages all my projects

- Basecamp (http://basecamp.com) some clients still use it.

- Google Analytics (http://google.com/analytics) Sticking with Google.

- Freshbooks (http://freshbooks.com) For invoicing matters.

- ahref (http://ahrefs.com) Tracking my backlinks.

- Skype (http://skype.com) P2P calls and VoIP.

- Google App (http://google.com/a) Planning to move this year, still on the free plan.

- Gmail (http://gmail.com) still no plans to move yet!

I was just doing some research on this recently and found this amazing article by Vccafe - http://www.vccafe.com/startup-resources/

The links are all in the article.

The only ones my company uses that haven't yet been mentioned are Google Hangout and GoToMeeting. We use both because Hangouts have given us issues on some networks.

Also, our chatbot is critical to the way we work and lives on hipchat (but has adapters for campfire and jabber): https://github.com/markolson/linkbot

Trello ( http://trello.com ) - task tracking

Clicky ( http://clicky.com ) - lightweight visitor analytics

Pingdom ( http://pingdom.com ) - monitoring

AWS ( http://aws.amazon.com ) - infrastructure

Stripe ( http://stripe.com ) - payments

Mailgun ( http://mailgun.com ) - transactional email

Postmark ( http://postmarkapp.com ) - more transactional email

Mailchimp ( http://mailchimp.com ) - non-transactional email

SupportFu ( http://www.supportfu.com ) - lightweight customer service

FreshBooks (http://www.freshbooks.com) is fantastic for invoicing. That's the primary reason we use it, but it also tracks time, expenses and is moving towards a full accounting offering.

Why no one mentioned about Zapier?


We use Zapier at Stackify and love it. 2 thumbs up

Thanks for the mention! :-)

How is this different/better than https://ifttt.com ?

Steven Blank seems to be keeping a pretty nice list up to date: http://steveblank.com/tools-and-blogs-for-entrepreneurs/

Updated http://steveblank.com/tools-and-blogs-for-entrepreneurs/ to include link to this page and most of these tools

Vendorstack created an info graphic of the top startups for startups tools, I spiced it a bit more and posted a super tools list on VC Cafe link: http://www.vccafe.com/2013/01/24/startups-startups-top-b2b-t...

Timelogger (https://github.com/minhajuddin/timelogger). A command line tool which allows you to maintain a log of your time spent on various activities/projects/tasks, with decent reporting.

It certainly seems that these startups have the potential of jointly keeping themselves alive.

In terms of SaaS, we use:

    github (code review is the killer feature)
    jira + greenhopper (no killer feature :-( )
    notableapp (so-so interactions with our designers)
    balsamiq (quick & easy mockups)
    crashplan (easy and cross-platform backups)
    google apps
    google analytics (we have a crazy setup)
I am currently looking into splunkstorm for our log analysis. We are using monit and mmonit (on premise) for alterting and monitoring.

For my open source projects, I use:

  sourceforge (for the mailing list. any suggestions for alternatives?)

Travis (http://travis-ci.org) Github Bitbucket Etherpad (http://etherpad.org)

Stripe ( http://stripe.com )- Payment processing

Sendgrid ( http://sendgrid.com )- Sending emails

Autotax ( http://autotax.me )- Automated 1099 & sales tax filing

Trello ( http://trello.com ) - Trask tracking

New Relic ( http://newrelic.com ) - Server/app monitoring

Because you specifically are asking about "services", this is may be slightly off-topic, but I'd be interested in seeing a thread about open-source alternatives as well. When we were first starting out, we used a lot of these services and they were absolutely instrumental to get us going, allowing us to focus on what mattered at the time.

But the more we developed our rhythm and workflow, the more we started constantly running up against small idiosyncrasies with each service that we were powerless to fix (we always submitted feedback, sometimes they'd implement our idea, sometimes they wouldn't). Maybe this app had an awesome interface, but their status labels were odd given the usual workflow. Maybe this other app was perfect in every way but had no API to allow us to tie it into the rest of our process.

Anyway, we started switching from services to open-source products, which really allowed us to take our process to the next level and optimize everything specifically for our flow.

For example (italics are open-source):


Project Management:

Email => Basecamp => Pivotal => Redmine (and tried Asana but went back to Redmine)


Issue Tracking:

Email => Github Issues => Redmine


Continuous Integration:

CruiseControl => Integrity => TDDium (https://www.tddium.com) / Semaphore (https://semaphoreapp.com)


Error/Exception Tracking:

ExceptionNotifier => Airbrake => Errbit


Time Tracking & Invoicing:

Harvest => Cashboard (http://www.cashboardapp.com)


Group Chat:

Campfire => [currently looking into] Kandan


Code Collaboration:

Self-hosted SVN => Unfuddle => Github


Design Collaboration:

Pixelapse => ConceptShare


You'll notice the only non-open-source services we still use are Github, Cashboard, TDDium/Semaphore, and ConceptShare. For the open-source services, we're able to host most of them on Heroku and rarely ever have to worry about maintaining them, other than security patches and whatnot. And we've been able to do some pretty cool things internally as far as connecting the different apps, since we have control over the APIs and underlying code, allowing us to add and change as needed.

You'll also notice that for CI, we actually went in the opposite direction from open-source to service-based. I have an entire writeup (not yet published) on why I actually found CI to work best for us as a 3rd-party service.

Any reason you chose RedMine over ChiliProject (https://www.chiliproject.org/)?

Also, I'd support any effort to collate good self-hosted options for startups.

No particular reason. I just didn't see anything compelling that chiliproject offered over redmine and redmine had greater adoption.

Email is not open source?

We use google mail for our business, so no. At some point I'd like it to be, but everyone here seems to really like Gmail's interface. We do at least back up all our email just in case though using gmvault (http://gmvault.org/).

Surprised no one has mentioned Vagrant [1]. By far the best addition to my tool-set this year.

[1] http://www.vagrantup.com/

Vero (http://getvero.com) - email A/B testing & re-marketing

Trello (http://trello.com) - task/project/team management

Stripe (http://stripe.com) - credit card payment processing

Helpscout (http://helpscout.net) - email support system

Plus the usual suspects: AWS, GitHub, Mailgun...

getsentry.com - error logging

clicky.com - real time analytics

irccloud.com - IRC in the browser

sendgrid.com - API for sending e-mail

Is irccloud actually sending invites ? I've seen some users on hn complain about this.How long did it take before you received yours ?

I received my invite from somebody else using the service.

Hey, can you invite me please? Thanks!

You just need to get an existing user to invite you.

Is the number of invites limited ? If no,can you please send me one ? I'd rather use this over mibbit on my chromebook. (email in my profile)

Invite sent.

Thank You.

It's mine but hopefully ApiAxle is useful to API developers: http://apiaxle.com

There's also this newer Planning and Project Management tool, that was just released: https://zingproject.com/ -- not the best name but none ever are. The interesting thing about this is that it's built around a streaming so that you can see everyone else's edits as they occur.

Awesome post. I've listed out my "Cloudstack" on Leanstack at http://alpha.leanstack.io/users/yonasb. Just launched the alpha would love some feedback from you guys, just ping me at yonas@leanstack.io if you're interested or sign up on the site. Thanks!

Accept Bitcoin as payment: http://www.weusecoins.com/

http://piwik.org/ Open source alternative to Google Analytics

The only to-do list you'll ever need: http://workflowy.com

Paydirt (https://paydirtapp.com) - Time tracking and invoicing.

SerpBook (http://serpbook.com) - Search engine rank tracker.

Mortar (http://mortardata.com) - Hadoop-aaS.

Passpack (http://www.passpack.com) for centralized password sharing among remote team members. Previously using Keepass, which is great but difficult to sync. Yes, passwords in the cloud -- I never thought I'd do it either.

--Helpdesk Freshdesk (http://www.freshdesk.com)

This list was pretty helpful.


The SF growth hackers talk about the tools a lot in their meetup if anyone is interested in learning more about them.

I made http://tarbackup.com for encrypted off-site backups using existing open-source tools.

I hope it will make it to your list of "recommended services" by the end of 2013.


Open Exchange Rates (https://openexchangerates.org) – free or very cheap currency conversion data JSON API. Built by a developer for other developers. :o)

This is useful - how are most places using it?

I'd suggest making a drop-in script or two something like the extensions Stripe has been adding on a bit at a time, to make it easy to use this for in-page on-the-fly currency conversion...

That is, select your currency from the dropdown, and all prices elsewhere on the page will display in the local currency selected.

These are tools (not just SaaS services) I've used in the past as part of a team or on my own projects.




1. Yammer (https://www.yammer.com/)

2. Basecamp (http://basecamp.com)

3. Limechat for IRC client (http://limechat.net/mac/)

4. Flowdock (http://flowdock.com)

5. Asana (http://asana.com)

6. Trello (http://trello.com)




1. Chef (http://www.opscode.com/chef/)

2. Fabric (http://fabfile.org)




1. Jenkins (http://jenkins-ci.org)




1. Sendgrid (http://sendgrid.com)

2. AWS SES (http://aws.amazon.com/ses/)

3. Gmail (http://gmail.com)

4. MailChimp (http://mailchimp.com)

5. Campaign Monitor (http://www.campaignmonitor.com/)

6. Fractal (https://www.getfractal.com/)


Monitoring & Logging


1. Graylog2 (http://graylog2.org/)

2. Statsd (https://github.com/etsy/statsd/)

3. Graphite (http://graphite.wikidot.com/)

4. Geckoboard (http://www.geckoboard.com/)

5. PaperTrail (https://papertrailapp.com/)

6. Pingdom (https://www.pingdom.com/)




1. Mixpanel (http://mixpanel.com)

2. Segment.io (http://segment.io)

3. Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/)


Issue Tracking


1. Github Issues (http://github.com)

2. Lighthouse (http://lighthouseapp.com/)




1. Silverback (http://silverbackapp.com/)

2. Wufoo (http://www.wufoo.com/)

I'm actually working on a web app directory as part of https://starthq.com - sign up to receive a reminder when it launches next week.

I have a gist that I update frequently https://gist.github.com/dideler/1718200. It needs some cleaning up though.

Here is mine:

Twilio (www.twilio.com) - Communicate with your users over SMS and Voice

Stripe (www.stripe.com) - Payments processing simplified

BugHerd (www.bugherd.com) - WYSIWYG bug reporting

Discourse (www.discourse.org) - Upcoming discussion board

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned WePay for payment processing. Their api is excellent and they fill some specific needs that I haven't seen addressed anywhere else.

Ok guys! Now take a look at these smart *aaS (SaaS, PaaS,...): http://welovesaas.com/appdirectory/

Pagoda Box: https://pagodabox.com/

A Heroku-esque deployment app specially tuned to PHP apps. Full of useful options. I love it.

1. JIRA (Issue Tracking) 2. BitBucket (Source code hosting) 3. Desk (Customer Support) 4. MailChimp (Newsletter / Email marketing) 5. ServInt (Web hosting)

I'm glad to see ServInt on your list - we've happily used them for something like 7 years. Awesome host.

Already some pretty extensive lists here, but no mention yet of LeanKit: http://leankit.com/

I've found it to be excellent.

Tom's Planner http://www.tomsplanner.com for the Planning & Project Management category

I wonder why nobody is talking about OTRS: http://www.otrs.com as an excellent ticketing system.

hipchat - IM

parse.com - API integration

symbaloo.com - entry points collection

teamviewer - screen share

Where's it Up - http://wheresitup.com/ (Global ping/dns/traceroute tools)

I assembled my 150+ lists list at www.tuneyourstartup.com Will add the ones suggested here. Thanks for sharing, everyone.

Ops. Here is the link: http://www.tuneyourstartup.com Let me know what you guys think. And please add tools if you can´t find that one you love.

OT - Maybe should we also add native apps ?

I think you can get a lot of information from UsesThis (http://usesthis.com/)

http://webmon.com external website & network monitoring

Cloudiff Server monitoring / Cloud management


Hosted TFS Stackify - app ops Twilio sms SendGrid email Chargify - billing software Pusher - web sockets

Browser testing: http://saucelabs.com

There is far too much awesomeness on this thread...thank you for asking this question!

I am impressed with how frequently Asana, Trello and Stripe have featured there.

Excellent post. Y HN CAN HAZ NO BOOKMARKs?

is there anything in here that is a landing page builder + recurring payment collection?

Before I found this overview and your comments here today, I started two other similar overviews. One on Quora and the other on Bestvendor. Here they are:



Here is a copy of my older post on Quora, please take a look at my newer BestVendor list (see link above) as well:


http://www.getdash.com/ (currently down or pivot)

- Claim your brand name



- Workspace and office space





- Business Analytics



- Cloud Aggregation and Unified Activity Streams















- Business Intelligence


- Contractor Management



- Communication


Salesforce Chatter


- Coordination, Collaboration










- Resource-Planning


- Human Resources (HR)

Workday (software)

- Social CRM




- Cloud integration


- Expenses


- Invoicing



- Time Tracking



- Customer Support





- Feedback


Get Satisfaction


- Content Management

Acquia (Drupal)

- Wiki



Cloud Hosting


Engine Yard

- Database


- Virtualization Skytap

- Storage

Pure Storage

- Mobile Backend

Urban Airship


- WebSockets


- Cloud Telephony, SMS



- Payments, Billing






- Code repository



- API Management




iOS Testing


- Issue Tracking

Pivotal Tracker



- Monitoring

New Relic

Airbrake (iOS Bug tracking)

Crittercism (iOS Bug tracking)






Axure RP



Mockup Builder



- Email




- Social Media

Buddy Media

Sprout Social

- Beta Invite / Landing Page Management




- Pre-Launch


- Video



- Analytics




App Annie


- Infographics


Nice list


Google Apps

Google Analytics









Jumping in to make one recommendation: Hitsniffer, real-time analytics: http://hitsniffer.com

I've used them for several years now and they are awesome.

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