JULY 28, 2022

Yesterday, Nate Peters showed me Supabase, an open-source alternative to Google's Firebase for rapid prototype and a friendly user interface to managed databases and storage.

I've always managed MySQL databases myself and have continued to do so since I discovered DigitalOcean in 2018, thanks to Cristóbal Valenzuela.

DigitalOcean offers "worry-free MySQL hosting"1, which, of course, comes at a price. Whereas you can pay $4–6/mo for the cheapest droplets on DigitalOcean and manage as many MySQL databases as you want, potentially using a free system—say, phpMyAdmin—to access your database through a web interface, you get "500MB database & 1GB file storage" and unlimited tables for free with Supabase. That is great to start quickly if you have enough, but you'll have to upgrade to yet another paid plan if you go over, and the first tier starts at $25/mo.

I appreciate the ease that these services provide us to get up and running with zero sysadmin knowledge or need for maintenance. Maybe we just need cheaper services like these to add convenience to every part of our workflow via subscription. Yet I don't love the fact that we'll continue to add more and more recurring bills to my workflow.

  1. DigitalOcean's marketing copy reads, "Leave the complexity of MySQL administration to us. We’ll handle setting up, backing up, and updating, so you can focus on building great apps."