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Free Tiers Are Dangerous

March 8, 2024
March 26, 2024
Episode Number:

Free tiers are no stranger to web developers as many look to them to get them started on a new tool, try out hosting, or help with some basic design work. The problem is that free tiers are sometimes downgraded, or even completely removed from existence if a service decides that they're more trouble than they're worth. For those relying on free tiers to do their work, this can spell disaster and even cause some businesses to shut down. In this episode, Matt and Mike discussed the dangers of free tiers, what they're good for, and why you should be ready to pay up at some point down the line.


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Show Notes

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Show Notes


  • PlanetScale drama
    • PlanetScale is a managed Database service
  • Developer tooling free tiers (not free apps)
  • What are free tiers?
    • Free tiers vs free trial

Popular free-tier products

  • Vercel
  • Netlify
  • Cloudflare
  • GitHub (pages)
  • Supabase
  • Firebase
  • Neon
  • Turso

Free tiers that have been rugged

  • Heroku
  • PlanetScale
  • Railway
  • Render

APIs that have removed free tiers

  • Twitter (x)
  • Reddit


  • Why do companies create free tiers?
    • Easy way to onboard developers
    • Have content creators create videos or blogs around their products
    • Have 3rd party integrations have easy access to create plugins and adapters
    • Bring overall positive attitudes to your product
  • What’s wrong with free tiers?
    • It costs a lot of $$ to maintain for the company
    • Constantly changed in concise notice with every update
  • Should you trust a free tier for a production application (even small)?
    • Which free tiers should you trust?
  • Free trial vs free tier?
  • Are free tiers going away?
  • What are the alternatives to these services with great onboarding/free tiers?