The Startup Stack: Part 3 – Out in The Wild

Its time to go live! The team has completed the initial set of work and we are ready to bring the application online to the public. We have our team and project managed well, our code is checked in and passing in our CI, we are ready to run it off of a server and get user feedback.


Hosting packages can be found in all shapes and sizes. This part of the series is where things take a bit of a Ruby on Rails slant. I have chosen a couple places to deploy ruby apps and offer some small database packages. For both packages, there are a couple MySql offerings that allow between 5mb and 250mb of space.


This is the Rails hackers’ most well-known host. You can push your Git repositories to their servers, and they will spin up machines for you. The free version has one web worker and will suspend the machine when there is no activity. Much of the management of Heroku apps can be done via their command line tools. It has the ability to host NodeJS apps too!

Price: Free and Paid upgrades and addons


This is very much like Heroku, and you can deploy Rails apps here. You get 3 free web workers, as opposed to Heroku’s 1, which allows projects to have more complexity at the free level. Like Heroku you have the ability to activate addons, but the interface is not as nice. Their server setup on a free account is built for loading 15 pages/second, which is said to be good at 50k users a month.

Price: Free and Paid

User Feedback

We have an application out in the wild, people using it, and we’ve kicked back in celebration — but we aren’t done yet. The user feedback system should be considered back in the building stages: How complex do we need it to be? While a simple email link may work, it is less enticing than something within your app. Your customers need help and the best way to do that is make it too easy to ask.

Pure Chat

A simple account setup and some custom JavaScript code on the page, and you have a system to let users talk with you. A small chat box can now appear in your application that allows real-time communication while you are logged in and queues up communication while you are away. This is a great way to provide help, since it is right there on screen and highly interactive.

Price: Free

Ticket On Rails

This is an interesting service that handles emails and turns them into support tickets. While this service is not as simple to set up (you have to have the user or your application send an email to a specific address), it does provide more flexibility on how you can place it in your application. The downside to this service is that it is not a real-time chat, but it also doesn’t have to be an annoying little element at the bottom of the screen like Pure Chat. Again, this is a good service, but you have to do a little more work to integrate it into your app.

Price: Free

As far as I can tell, neither service has clean integrations into Slack or HipChat. You may be able to integrate the APIs available in the feedback apps with the custom connection options in both Slack and HipChat.

Moving Beyond the Baseline

This stack is not meant to be taken as is, but as a backbone for all the other products and services you need for your new web app. While you can get get from start to finish just fine with these tools, you may have more complexity that cannot be addressed. If your app and team can fit within the constraints of all of the products I have covered (mainly a team of 5 or less), then you should be able to deploy your app without paying a dime. You will want to pay for more when the project takes off, but for now you can build your community and funding.

Don’t miss the other two posts in this series: