Web Hosting for App Developers

The Secret Big Expense for App-makers

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When app developers first get started making apps, most of them don’t realize that one of their biggest expenses is going to be hosting.

Most apps and other web services use specialized hosting companies to handle all the data storage. When the user downloads an app from the app store, all that data isn’t hosted by Apple or Google: it’s the app developer. The same is true when you update an app: the information comes from servers paid for by the company.

For the first couple years of the ‘app-craze’, there was only one horse in town: Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon has a specialized hosting platform for web applications. And indeed even Apple’s iCloud service partially uses AWS (as well as Microsoft’s Azure).

But there’s a problem when you’re the only game in town: prices tend to be unfair. For the aspiring app engineer, the AWS costs can be prohibitive. Especially if you’re releasing a free app.

There’s been a few new app hosting companies to appear: webfaction and rackspace are a couple examples. But the easiest and cheapest one we’ve found is Digitalocean.

digitalocean coupon

Started as late as 2012, Digitalocean is as simple as their interface. You pay for the data used, instead of a monthly fee, and the prices are very reasonable. Deployment is pretty quick as well: our first ‘droplet’, as they call it, was deployed in three minutes after we signed up.

Their interface is clean, simple, and easy to use. We can’t recommend them enough. Oh, and make sure you use the promo code at the beginning of this post to save some more cash as well.

Do I Need a GPS?

Do I Need a GPS? Technology Is Killing a New Field Before It Even Started.

do i need a gps

If you’ve ever gone travelling somewhere, the first thing rental companies will try to sell you is a GPS. But do you even need it in this day and age? The iPhone or smartphone in your pocket tends to have more processing power and juice in it than a standard low-end GPS. So why waste the money.

If you don’t use GPS very often, then a smartphone is more than capable of getting you to your new friend’s house, or a new restaurant that you’ve never been to. If you drive all the time (say, a package delivery service), then a GPS might be better.

Why?

In a word: data. We’re living in a weird limbo stage of technology where companies are trying to charge a lot for using a very small amount of data. So if your phone is using it up as you drive around (anytime you’re not on wifi you’re using data), you will use up your available data quickly. Not to mention your battery (GPS services are a huge battery drain).

Another time getting a GPS is useful is when you are travelling. Right now if you go to another country/state/province and use your phone on another carrier, you could be charged A LOT of money. Recent EU legislation is the first step in reining in these ridiculous fees, but for now getting a GPS with your rental car can be a time and money saver. That is, if you plan on doing a lot of driving where you’re travelling.

Another time you might want a GPS is if you’re going camping ‘off the grid’. If you know there won’t be any cellphone towers where you are (here’s a cool map of cellphone towers in your area, then you might want to get a GPS. The devices use actual satellite data to figure out your position, instead of cell phone towers, so it’ll be more reliable.

Any questions? You can ask me anything in our contact form.

In the meantime, check out a cool website here, as well as here.

Best GPS iPhone Apps

The Future of GPS is in your Phone

While GPS devices are being incredibly common these days, if you have a smartphone with you, then there’s no real need to use another device that does the exact same thing. In fact, there are a number of reasons why using your smartphone is actually much better than having a GPS device.

  1. It’s Cheaper – the cost of a GPS app on your phone will run you anywhere from $50 to completely free (it depends on how many features you want).
  2. It’s an Anti-Theft Device – You don’t have worry about people breaking into your car for your GPS if it’s in your pants pocket.
  3. Flexibility – Some GPS devices are more accurate than others. With apps you can learn which one is easier to use for you.

Speaking of which, here’s our picks for the best GPS iPhone apps:

2. MotionX GPS Drive

gps motionx apps for iphone

MotionX is ia multipurpose GPS app that gives you turn by turn navigation, as well as backpacking trails and more. Thanks to a recent update it has a big, beautiful display, lots of social media integration, compass, as well as lots of storage for saving waypoints and more. MotionX uses Google Maps in their app.

$1.99 in the iTunes Store.

1. NAVIGON North America

best gps iPhone apps

Navigon used to be a GPS Hardware company, but then pulled out to focus on their GPS app instead (apparently they could see the future coming!). The app has beautiful, detailed 3-d maps and an intuitive voice command. It stores map data locally for smoother operation as well. It’s expensive, but is hands down better than any budget-GPS device out there.

$59.99 in the iTunes Store

3. Waze


There’s a reason Google bought out Waze. Despite already having an expansive map system of their own, Waze brought with them a large and enthusiastic community that loves to share real time data like traffic, accidents and roadblocks. That was google maps’ biggest drawback. It’s a fun, care free app that’s as detailed as Google but will give you all that useful information I just mentioned. And the best part? Free.

Free in the iTunes Store.

There you have it. Anything I missed……let’s see here.

Google Maps. It’s the original, and the best. The turn-by-turn navigation has been added to iOS (it used to only be on Android devices). It’s free, and it works.