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Right Hosting for SAAS Startup: Leveraging Lean Cloud Hosting to Built Fast that Last

The final step to a SAAS product cycles is its deployment. However I have noticed this is often a overlooked step especially in the early stage startup. Well this won’t lead to any dooms day scenario but can definitely cause some hiccups and loss of crucial time. In my SAAS product career journey I have deployed over dozen of application from normal webpages to complicated micro services architecture. Well that wasn’t a breeze from day one, over time I learnt the best practices that can help boost productivity, save time and thus the cost. In this article, we will delve deeper into the concept of lean cloud hosting and discuss its advantages, important aspects to consider, and the top hosting providers in the market.

What is Lean Cloud Hosting?

Lean deploy principals.

Lean cloud hosting is an approach to cloud computing that focuses on minimizing waste, maximizing efficiency, and delivering value to customers. This approach is heavily influenced by the principles of lean manufacturing and lean startup methodologies, which emphasize the importance of continuous improvement, learning from failures, and iterating quickly. By adopting lean cloud hosting, SAAS startups can build fast and sustainable applications that are both cost-effective and scalable.

Important Aspects to Consider

When choosing a lean cloud hosting provider for your SAAS startup, there are several important aspects to consider. These include DevOps management, reliability, automation, simplicity, technical debt, cost, and scalability.

1. DevOps Management

DevOps is a set of practices that combine software development and IT operations to shorten the software development life cycle and improve collaboration between teams. A lean cloud hosting provider should offer robust DevOps management tools and support to help streamline the development, testing, and deployment of your SAAS application. This includes support for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, containerization, and infrastructure as code (IaC). This should be done while keeping that you might have no DevOps engineer, hence the service should provide most value with minimal effort.

2. Reliability

When it comes to SAAS applications, downtime can lead to lost revenue and a negative user experience. Therefore, it's essential to choose a cloud hosting provider with a strong track record of reliability and high uptime guarantees. Ensure that the provider has a solid Service Level Agreement (SLA) that outlines their commitment to keeping your application up and running.

3. Automation

Automation is a crucial component of lean cloud hosting, as it helps to reduce manual tasks, minimize errors, and improve efficiency. Look for a cloud hosting provider that offers comprehensive automation tools, such as automated backups, auto-scaling, and automated security updates. Every minute saved by automation is the resource put to a good use, i.e. building product.

4. Simplicity

A lean cloud hosting provider should offer a simple and user-friendly platform that makes it easy to deploy, manage, and scale your SAAS application. This includes an intuitive dashboard, clear documentation, and responsive customer support.

I hate cloud providers that are so complicated that they have to cover up there faults in name of job for pros and requiring stupid certification instead of easy UI and clear documentation. Startup job should be building software not learning new software to run it. Agree ?

5. Technical Debt

Technical debt is the cost of delaying necessary work on a software project, such as refactoring, bug fixes, or infrastructure improvements. A lean cloud hosting provider should help you minimize technical debt by offering tools and best practices for maintaining clean code, monitoring performance, and addressing issues proactively.

6. Cost

As a SAAS startup, it's essential to keep costs under control. Choose a cloud hosting provider that offers transparent and flexible pricing models, allowing you to pay only for the resources you need and scale your costs as your business grows. Also, mostly every cloud service provides some sort of startup credits which can of course help a lot keeping the burn minimum. But it should always be choosing cloud based on the other above aspect not just falling in the credits trap.

7. Scalability

Scalability is a critical aspect of cloud hosting for SAAS applications, as it ensures that your infrastructure can handle increased user demand and traffic without compromising performance. Look for a cloud hosting provider that offers seamless, on-demand scaling capabilities. However, this isn’t critical from day one and that’s why I have listed as least priority. In my experience if your users grow ( which is a great thing, btw ! ), you will then enough time and resources to move to better. So scaling hosting should be a step process no automatic.

Different Sizes Based on Different Needs

This is tricky part and I needed to simplify and i had to come up a new sizing system to really explain it. Based on different system of your SAAS application these fitting may vary. -

1.FE - Frontend This incudes all the interface part of your application. Although not very complex, but need to handle all traffic efficiently. The primary things to consider is automated deployment, integrates with review feedback loop, must handle influx of traffic / DDOS prune, effective caching + optimisation strategies, prevent any web vulnerabilities. All and any frontend application should be deployed to the same service stack to avoid any complications. Typical FE size should be capable of handling upto 100k users at a time without crashing. Stack of choice - Vercel deploy + preview.

Hosting FE with vercel is just few clicks process with everything included in there toolbox.

2. M - Medium / Middleware / MicroService. This are all the supporting system of your main applications. You might choose a full blown MicroService architecture which would leverage this service entirely. This might sometime also be customer facing if your application provides API service to customer. This type of service should also have a automated deployment process and if not automatic yet 1 click scaling process. The scaling is usually vertical ( where you increase computational resource) but if required can also scale horizontal with easy service duplication and a load balancer for load distribution. It should be capable of maintaining system logs and metrics for any diagnosis and troubleshooting. Typical M size service unit should be able to handle 1000 request / second without failing. Stack of choice - Digital Ocean App.

With Digital ocean Apps you can host any M type service with everything required built in.

3. L - Large / Container / Monolith / Critical system Sometime your application can have complex logic system or use of an AI / ML system. These application should only be deployed via containers and if automated it better. This service is usually not customer facing so should in a VPC network so that its only accessible that needs it. The deployment could be handled by CI/CD projects and scaling doesnt need to fully automated but available at disposal ( Once click or few steps as possible ) Typical L size service should be able handle 100 request / second without failing Stack of choice - Github Actions + Docker Compose + Digital ocean droplet.

A complete end to end process for a L type Service with docker compose, github action and DO one click deployment.

These 3 or combinations of them are sufficient enough to get your product to a point where it can be taken over by a professional and further scale.

Favourite Cloud Computing SAAS Providers for Fast Building -

DigitalOcean - So far DO has been 5 star experience for me with no complaints at all. My favourite part is there simplicity of interface. There are no complicated role access ( which a small startup don’t need ) , no different resources per region but all resources at one point, easy access to logs and usage metrics, predicted billing and amazing customer support. I usually use there app and droplet service to deploy M and L type systems. With a sweet 1000 $ credit you are set to experiment with your tech for next 6 months without worrying about vendor lock in.

Vercel - This is a quite new stack choice which i first used for frontend with Next.js but later it proved better for all types of FE stack. Its not just a FE hosting but a complete end to end development lifecycle support for your product UI/ UX. The part I love the most is that there is no usage or resource cost but designed like a SaaS ( no of seats you use). So if you are a small startup with a team 2-3 devs, your hosting to a million users is technically free and unlimited.

Linode - I have only used Linode only couple of times but it provides the same level of experience like Digital ocean. On top of it has pre built stack application that can be used for a full stack development. The pricing is also very simple and very easy to scale. This is another good choice for M and L systems.

Kinsta® - Not hugely popular but won my heart with there customer support. It’s mainly a hosting choice for wordpress application but you can deploy other applications as well.The thing I love the most is that every resource has built in CDN, firewall, load balancer, DB and storage system. If you are stuck, just message there customer support with 24/7 chat.

AWS Amplify - The last and the only AWS service i actually like. AWS Amplify is a complete solution that lets frontend web and mobile developers easily build, ship, and host full-stack applications on AWS. What makes a good choice is the available startup credits but be careful with rolling out too many services that could drain your credit and then create a hostage situation sometime leading to tech bankruptcy.


In conclusion, lean cloud hosting is an essential component of building a successful SAAS startup. By considering important aspects such as DevOps management, reliability, automation, simplicity, technical debt, cost, and scalability, you can select the right hosting provider for your unique needs. Whether you choose a major cloud computing SAAS provider or a smaller, startup-friendly hosting service, lean cloud hosting can help you build a fast and sustainable application that delivers value to your customers and sets your business up for long-term success.

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