Easy backend options

Hamilton, Bermuda

If you are building an app based on human user requirements, then at some point during the design process you will likely say, “and then save it in the backend”. And depending on your needs, all you want is some endpoint that you can hit without needing to worry about setting up servers or databases. Below are some options that provide varying degrees of “backend” for your next project.

Supabase logo or screenshot


The Open Source Alternative to Firebase. If you need a real-time database, user authentication and object storage built with an open source stack, look no further. I’ve been hearing good things about Supabase for a while now and I see that they have a free tier for their hosted service allowing you to have 10,000 users and 500MB of PostgreSQL storage. Definitely enough to play around with.

Railway logo or screenshot


Infrastructure, Instantly. Railway feels a bit like Heroku to me, but if you need a Postgres, MySQL, Redis, or Mongo database, along with hosting for your app, then Railway is a contender. They have a free plan with a cap of $5 on usage. They charge by the minute, so you can certainly experiment with everything using that, or even host some lightweight services. They seem to have specific support for running Discord bots. If you are willing to give a credit card and take the risk of running over, their Developer plan gives you $10 free before being charged.

Napkin logo or screenshot


Backend in the Browser. Write, run, and deploy API endpoints, all from the browser. No infra. No boilerplate. No devops. Just code. While the tagline confused me initially, and the site is a bit sparse on detail about what exactly this is and why you might use it, I think there is a lot of value here. Basically you can write serverless functions directly in your browser. No git repo, no config, just an endpoint ready to go. There is even a simple key value store that you can access.

Forma logo or screenshot


Static forms made simple. Sometimes you don’t need a whole backend as a service, sometimes you just want to collect form submissions. I’ve listed some competitors in this space before, but Forma is nice in that the free offering allows for unlimited form submissions. Only two forms, but that isn’t bad for free.