Aggressive rate limits on free plan

tl;dr: any chance you have plans to increase the rate limit for the free plan?

First off I want to say that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with charging for service, especially one that incurs infrastructure costs to provide.

That said, as a user interested in the service I find that the aggressive rate limiting on the free plan severely limits my ability to evaluate the product and become invested in the platform.

If I build a frontend that logs the user in, queries some data, does a manipulation that maybe triggers a function, just testing that once consumes the quota of 10 calls per 2 minutes.

Considering the amount of debugging and testing I have to do to get queries and functions working as a new user, I feel that I hit a wall pretty soon. Especially since any modern frontend tooling will hot reload my app as I work on it, consuming the quota without me really consciously doing anything.

I’d happily pay for service that I’m actually using, but $ 300 per year, per app, just to evaluate and develop? That’s twice as much as I pay for Figma, which I use professionally every day of the week as a power user. The API rate limit could be 100x higher and I still couldn’t use the free plan for anything very useful in production.

When I look at this from product perspective, I feel that 8base is also missing a huge opportunity to gain a userbase and attract a larger audience. More users leads to more conversions. These platforms only create value for people who know them well enough to write code for them, and it’s difficult for me to get there since the free plan kinda doesn’t let me learn.

If you want to think of ways to gain value from people on the free plan, you could grant higher rate limits for people who invite friends, share a link on social media or something along those lines.

Love the product. Cheers!

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Hey @jerryjappinen Thanks for the feedback. Is it the API Limit that you’re hitting up against too quickly? What would be you “perfect” free plan when it comes to 8base?

This is the error I’m hitting:

I think a perfect free plan would work for hobby projects. For every serious project I’d be willing to pay for, I have 10 hobby projects that I use to pursue ideas, develop my familiarity with a platform and make myself ready when I need to start the next one. Hitting errors like this also makes me constantly question if it’s my code that broke, or if I hit the limit again (so every 2 minutes my debugging flow is interrupted).

For hobby or test projects, I’m ok with limitations like autosleeping, more generous rate-limits intended to prevent abuse and quotas that don’t inhibit solo development. I’m ok if “advanced” features that are not necessary for initial development are locked behind paywall (like some login methods, although it would be nice to be able to test the implementation before paying). Same for marketing/commercialisation-related things (like custom domains, custom templating or the like). If the API is a bit slower, or deployments take longer because they don’t run in parallel, that stuff I also don’t mind on a free plan.

I don’t expect to be able to roll an app out into production for real users on a free plan. That said, my monthly bill on Heroku is $7 for one project that actually has 1-2 k users. With that context the pathway from free to $25 is pretty steep.

Thanks so much for the feedback @jerryjappinen . We actually have some conversations scheduled to discuss this exact topic soon, so I’ll make sure to bring your thoughts to the discussion.

It’s a very tricky thing finding the right balance between offering a free tier and meeting business goals (growth and profitability). Particularly at the level of abstraction we play at, which includes the underlying infrastructure (like Database and Object storage) as well as backend application.

I like your example of having 1 dyno running on Heroku for $7 being a benchmark for what you see as value for money. Do you think of that project as being 1 of the 10 hobby projects that you’re working on? Or does that fall into the production category for you?

The $7 dollar project is that 1 in 10 project, yes. It’s not something I actively develop anymore, it’s just something that’s live and serving some people. If I scaled it up to more users or kept developing it further, I wouldn’t mind paying more.

Good to know! And thanks for indulging me on all the questions :crazy_face:

I completely get where you’re coming from. It’s been a real struggle on our end to figure out to right balance between providing freemium services and not allowing that to jeopardize our business. Around 3-years ago, we had a $8 for 8base plan. Developers would have a 30-day free trial and then be required to upgrade. However, that $8 price point got you a workspace!

I might be able to advocate to our team for a lower price point workspace that helps bridge the journey from Free-but-annoying to $25. What do you think?