Render adopted a new pricing scheme for its services on 1st of January 2023. And like DigitalOcean they market it as “predictable pricing” however unlike DigitalOcean it isn’t simple anymore. Render now charges both for its services and per user. The specific user pricing then in turns depends on “group type”, e.g. individual, team or organization.
It is only a price increase while Render’s offerings remains the same. Or that is not exactly true as users in the “individual group” loose autoscaling, which is an important tool to keep cost low for indiehackers and small startups that experience jumps in traffic.
Additionally Render will start charging for build minutes and increase pricing for egress fees. Bandwidth cost will increase from $0.10/GB to $30 for 100GB and each user only gets a meager 100GB bandwidth per month in total for all their deployments. Additionally build minutes are now charged on all their services and only includes only 500 build minutes per month in total for all deployments. 500 build minutes is roughly 15 build minutes per day. Extra build minutes cost $5 per 1000 minutes.
A concrete example
I run 2 static sites (one is this blog) and 2 web apps (aihelperbot.com and git18n.com) with a Postgres database attached. For the 2 static sites I get don’t expect to incur additional costs with the new dual track pricing scheme. They use too little bandwidth and aren’t deployed often enough (besides Hugo builds incredible fast, Gatsby users might not be so lucky).
The cost for the database is $20/month using the old pricing and the 2 web apps are $7/month each. In total that is $34/month.
The estimated cost for January with the new pricing scheme is $42. That is almost 20% increase. And it isn’t even a fair comparison because (besides egress and build minutes now being counted on everything) previously autoscaling was available for all users, now it requires a group membership. And that membership cost minimum $19/month per user (if more than 10 in your “group” then it increases to $29/month per user). So the real cost increase is from $34 to $61, close to 50% increase.
The similar offer from DigitalOcean cost $12/month per web app (which includes autoscaling) and $30/month for Postgres (DigitalOcean also offers a database for $15/month which would be perfectly adequate for my needs). That is between $39-$54 per month with no egress and build minutes to worry about. And a much simpler pricing model.
Render was touted as the choice for the indiehackers who wants to focus on building their product and not worry about infrastructure and costs. But with the new dual track pricing scheme for both their services and user seats it is no longer the case. DigitalOcean is cheaper and has a simpler more predictable pricing model. And DigitalOcean offers a more services than Render like cloud functions, VPS and multiple databases. As for Render, if they manage to retain users with the new pricing scheme, they will likely significantly increase their profits - perhaps even double them.