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Discussion about estimating billing and preventing surprise charges with Vercel and Sanity hosting services

14 replies
Last updated: May 31, 2023
So a few months ago, I pitched Sanity to the agency I contract with because they do a lot of Wordpress stuff, but we would like to get more into the JAM stack ecosystem. I've only built one next.js app for production. It's fairly large and complex, but it's an authenticated system with only a few users and it's self-hosted, so it doesn't get a lot of traffic and I'm not the one managing the server so I don't know what the costs are. With the project coming up, we have complete freedom, so we have decided to host it through vercel for the next.js frontend and sanity as the backend. This first project with Sanity is going to be very simple. It's basically a marketing site, but I have no idea how much traffic it will get. Currently, they don't get traffic because they don't have a website. Everyone talks about how generous the free tier is with both Vercel and Sanity. Even the next plan up isn't so bad. $20 for Vercel...$100 for Sanity (is that right?) Some people have said Vercel and Sanity are super expensive. I'm assuming the free tier is going to be plenty for this project, but I really don't know. What questions to we need to answer as a team to build an accurate monthly billing estimate? And at what point do these services go from super affordable/free to super expensive? I've heard some horror stories about traffic spikes resulting from spam/attackers that have caused people's bills to skyrocket to hundreds and even thousands of dollars in a single month. Obviously nobody wants that for a simple marketing site. Are these real concerns? Can this actually happen? If so, what do I need to do as the developer to prevent something like that from happening? I really don't want to be in the situation where the agency comes to me and says hey you said this was going to be pretty cheap (~$120/month for hosting) and now we have a bill for $2k...
May 31, 2023, 2:51 PM
If you don’t do videos my ballpark is that if you have less than 10k visits per month you’re in the free.
May 31, 2023, 2:54 PM
vidoes as in like a streaming service or do you mean any product video whatsoever?
May 31, 2023, 2:55 PM
Most marketing sites can use Sanity without ever paying us a cent.
However, serving video that’s hosted by Sanity anywhere on your site can be a problem. Sanity is good for very small amounts of that, but since we’re not a video platform we just can’t be competitive with other services like Cloudinary/Mux on that front. Large, unoptimized images can also be a problem, so only calling them at the resolution you need them is highly advised.

You should should be as defensive as possible in terms bots/spam attacks. It doesn’t happen
all of the time, but I do see at least a handful of people per month that are dealing with it. I’d rather spend the time up front preventing it than getting surprise bill. That said, I can’t provide much advice on implementation.
May 31, 2023, 4:18 PM
Thanks for all that! I don't think there's going to be much, if any video. I've looked into MUX and that (or a similar service) would be the way to go for streaming large videos. In fact, I had only heard of MUX while browsing Sanity's integrations. So that's fine and that all makes sense. And I'm certainly not trying to see how much I can squeeze ya'll. I just want to be prepared and understand the costs rather than get a huge bill down the road that we didn't plan for.
May 31, 2023, 4:23 PM
Yeah, totally understand that! A surprise bill is a nightmare situation.
Company-wise, we want individuals to use the platform for free or very little and
not get a surprise gut punch of a bill. We want folks to have the space to experiment and build because like most SAAS companies, the bulk of our revenue is going to come from Enterprise contracts.
May 31, 2023, 4:30 PM
So ... what kind of clients become "Business" or "Enterprise" clients? Like how much traffic/visits per month are they seeing? Do you have any statistics like that you could share?
May 31, 2023, 4:32 PM
Oh, that’s such a massive range! I don’t think I could accurately pin it down. Most people move up to Business or Enterprise because they need things like Custom Access Control, longer History, Cloud Cloning, and the like.
May 31, 2023, 4:35 PM
May 31, 2023, 4:35 PM
One of the reasons this is important to know aside from the obvious is because the agency I'm working with has historically managed the billing themselves and then they turn around and charge the client a flat fee for hosting, but for this project I suggested setting up the billing with the client's payment information, but they'd rather stick with their current billing process.
May 31, 2023, 4:37 PM
The client for this project has way more revenue than the agency, so a spike in the bill wouldn't hurt the client as much as it would the agency.
May 31, 2023, 4:38 PM
Makes sense. BTW If your agency does end up buying in, become a partner . You can get access to training resources/our agency team to get everyone onboarded
May 31, 2023, 4:39 PM
And we don't mind paying flat fees for hosting, but with these pay as you go services, nailing down billing is a little scary.
May 31, 2023, 4:40 PM
Oh I bet I could reach out to some of those existing partners and see if any of them would be willing to answer some of our questions.
May 31, 2023, 4:41 PM
Actually, yeah! They probably have way more hands on advice than I do
May 31, 2023, 4:42 PM

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