The cost of running a boot-strapped startup

I’ve seen a few well known entrupenurs make mention of services that they pay for and I’d like to join the club.  For those of you unfamiliar with me, I run a fantasy sports news aggregator called FantasySP.  You can sync fantasy leagues rosters/transactions and be alerted of real-time player tends.  This is bootstrapped in every single way, as I am the sole employee and have zero funding.

The following companies are awesome and deserve my money and/or praise.

Web Host: ServInt $200/month

Not a flashy name in the hosting industry, but they provide solid managed services.  I use their Solo Express server to run FantasySP on a standard LAMP stack. A few other sites (like this one) also run on it.  It is actually about 10% cheaper than this because I pay a year in full.

Cheap Cloud Host: Rackspace Cloud $25/month

For all of those background processes that need to be run for FantasySP, a cheap cloud server from Rackspace does the job with a very fair price.  Highly recommend it to anyone who wants a cheap host to screw around with or run dozens of cronjobs. 🙂

CDN/DNS: Amazon Cloudfront & Cloudflare $8/month / FREE

Amazon Cloudfront is where I store most of my images,stylesheets, and javascript to speed things up.  For the images that slip through the cracks, there is Cloudflare, which offers an amazing service that is part CDN, part firewall, and part dns optimizer.  I have written about them in the past.  I use their free service, the rest of the $8 is spent on Amazon’s Cloudfront.

Version Control System: Github $7/month

Seriously, where else would I host FantasySP’s code and have version control.  Github is my first and only choice.

Realtime Analytics: Clicky $4.16/month

The best real-time analytics package out there.  I have no idea why people in the industry seem to blindly love chartbeat. Clicky is better in every way combing historical and real-time analytics in a great UI.

Application Performance Analysis: NewRelic $50/month

The best real-time software to monitor how your application is performing.  This has enabled me to spend less money on my hosting due to optimizations based on what NewRelic data and graphics tells me.  FantasySP zooms and NewRelic has a lot to do with it.  With around 700,000 pageviews per month, FantasySP remains rock solid.  These guys rock and are totally worth the money.

Source Code Editor: Notepad++ FREE

Notepad++ for windows, its free and it does just about everything those super expensive pay ones do.  (Why the heck is UltraEdit so damn expensive?)

Grand Total: $295 per month

This brings my grand total of web developer / startup related expenses to about $295.  The good news is that FantasySP more than makes up for these expenditures.  I try to not waste any money, so how do my expenses stack up to yours?  I am guessing most companies pay at least $500 per month JUST for hosting.


Full Disclosure, some of the links provided here are affiliate links.


3 replies on “The cost of running a boot-strapped startup”

Hello, first off, really interesting and very informative! Thanks! Second, I am building a mobile application and was wondering if you had to pay for the right to sync one’s fantasy baseball roster with their roster on ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, FoxSports, etc.??

The only site that offers an official API is Yahoo!.  However they do not have any pricing structure associated with it to base commercial products off of it.

The remaining sites do not have an official API and do not officially support it.  Therefore the cost is “free”, assuming they continue to play nice with your app and you are careful about it. 🙂

That’s cool to hear! Ok so you’ll have to excuse my ignorance but I am new to programming. If there’s no API (except for Yahoo but I think they specify that you can’t use it for commercial purposes) then how do you go about syncing the user’s fantasy baseball roster? I am solely interested in just having the user sign in to their respective fantasy league so that their players can be uploaded onto their profile. Well that, and checking (let’s say once a day) to see if there’s been any changes to their roster and then automatically updating it on my database. Thank you so much!

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