Best Tools For Your SAAS ProductA curated list of 77 tools for your SAAS product. Filter and Save your picks
This is an evolving List. I keep on adding items as I use new tools. With so many options out there it's difficult to choose the right tools. In my 6+ years of experience working with 50+ SAAS companies I have used a lot of tools. Choose the perfect tools from the curated list of 77 tools, I have personally used each of these tools and can vouch for them. If I missed your favorite, please let me know.
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Choosing a database is one of the most important decisions you will make. Whether you want SQL or NO-SQL, managed or self hosted, there is a lot to consider. I have tried a lot of databases and these are my personal favorites. Remember, you don't have to limit yourself to one database and Always keep your servers and databases on seperate machines.
MongoDB Atlas is my go to choice when it comes to Managed NoSQL databases. Not only it have a free option but also replica sets comes as default. The UI is very intutive and the Platform is very reliable. I have been using it for a long time and I have never had any issues with it. The free plan is fast enough for smaller scale applications or for development. The paid plans are not that expensive. Atlas even have a MongoDB Startup Program that gives you free credits depending on your stage.
Alternatives To MongoDB Atlas
My experience with DynamoDB was not that good. It is a very powerful tool and super scalable but lacks a lot of features like skip(pagination) and sorting is complicated. The only instance I will choose it over MongoDB, if I have to use a AWS service or I need a keystore with one-one relationship without complex queries.
AWS RDS is a great option for managed SQL databases. It's as reliable as it comes. AWS offers a lot of different DBs like MySQL, PostreSQL, SQL, etc. The service offers a lot of features like read replicas, backups, etc. This service have a free tier. I cannot recommend it enough.
Alternatives To AWS RDS
Google Cloud SQL is a great alternative to RDS for managed SQL databases. It's a competitive service with a lot of features. It's a great option if you are already using Google Cloud Platform.The reason it's an alternate is just a personal opinion. It's equally good.
FireStore is amazing specially if you are already using Firebase. It's a NoSQL database that is very easy to use and very scalable. It have a generous free tier. Infact this website uses Firestore. The DB provides a lot of features like offline support, real time updates, etc. I personally never used it as a primary database as it can get expensive. I generally use it for storing user information and prefrences along with a primary database.
Planetscale is a new addition to my personal favorites for Managed SQL database. It have a decent free tier and is completely serverless. It runs almost vanilla SQL and is very easy to use. I generally use it for smaller scale applications. It's a great option for developers who want to focus on building their application and not on managing the database. The only downside is in the free tier your database is deleted if not use for some time.
Headless CMS are a great way to manage your content. Specially when you are making a website in a framework like NextJs, NuxtJs, Flask,etc. And your technical team is tired of getting content changes from the Content team.
Sanity is amazing. It's a headless CMS that supports GraphQL queries. It have a CDN built in for production yet you can access the fresh content from the API. The best part is the CMS can be installed locally(as a node app) or hosted on the cloud. The fields are easily customizable via code by editing a JSON file. It supports relational fields and Image uploads.
Alternatives To Sanity
Contentful is a great alternative to Sanity. While choosing a CMS I strongly considered it but found Sanity's free tier to be more generous. You can go for Contentful too, you won't be disappointed.
Strapi is a great open source CMS. It's a great option if you want to host your CMS on your own server. Hosting it on you own server comes at price of having to manage it yourself, so scalibilty might be an issue. On the plus side having it on the same server as your application results in faster response times.
Alternatives To Strapi
Surprised ? So was I when I built my first website using wordpress as CMS. Turned out it's pretty amazing. Wordpress powers 40% of the internet. It have a lot of SEO plugins so that's taken care off. You can host the website on a subdomain and use it as CMS. You can install the GraphQL plugin to get use GraphQL queries. It's an alternate because it's not a headless CMS and kind of heavy.
Analytics are a great way to track user behavior and get insights. Not all people will give feedback but if they use your product, it's important to track their behavior and improve your product based on that.
Well Google Analytics is the industry standard and one of the best analytics tool out there. It's free and very easy to use. It have a lot of features like custom dashboards, custom events, etc. It's a great tool for tracking user behavior and getting insights about your users.
Clarity is a light weight tool it enables you to view user recordings and heatmaps. It's a great tool to analyze how users are using your website. I had some trouble with it when using it with SPAs but works perfectly on website. It's completely free.
Alternatives To Microsoft Clarity
Hotjar was my goto before I came across Clarity. It have recordings and heatmap features. Plus additional features like surveys and Feedback. I personally use other tools for that.
I am a big advocate of Mixpanel. If you truely want to understand how people are using your product, Mixpanel have all the features. You can track indiviual events and map it to a user. It have all kinds of reports and dashboards. The amazing thing is it supports a lot of languages and you can event access your data via API. I personally use this for customizations and recommendations.
Alternatives To Mixpanel
Some people love it and it's a decent tool. I personally prefer the limits of Mixpanel. It's an amazing tool but it's a little expensive for a startup.
Another alternate to Mixpanel. It's again an amazing tool with all the features you might want. Having it in alternatives is a personal prefrence.
Not exactly a user analytics tool but it's a great tool to track errors in your application. The reason I included it here is because sometimes user generate bugs or use a feature in a way you didn't expect. It's a great tool to track those errors. It have a amazing free tier and takes minutes to setup.
Alternatives To Sentry
If your product have a mobile app. There is a good chance you might already be in the Firbase ecosystem. Crashlytics comes as a default option and takes few minutes to setup. It shows all the crashes and errors along with device configuration on which the crash occured. I personally use it with Sentry. Where sentry gaurds the backend and Crashlytics is on frontend.
Clearbit is a great tool for getting user information. It offers a lot of enrichment features, lead scoring, personalization solutions, etc. It's a great tool for B2B products. It's a paid tool but it's worth it.
Not all hostings are created equally. Specially it current times when you have to consider not only where to host but also how to host. This section could itself be a whole blog but I will try to keep it short and sweet. And Stick to essentials.
EC2s are my go to for hosting. It's reliable and have a lot of features. I mean everything you could ask for. A lot of people think AWS is expensive but I don't given the added value you get from it. My favorite part is the amount of configuration you can do. You can not only configure the size of the server(memory,cpu), storage and location but also what kind of servers you want be it memory optimize, cpu optimize,etc. The only downside is price comparison. This is my goto website for comparing prices for ec2.
Alternatives To AWS EC2
Google Cloud is a great alternative to AWS. It almost have all the features. It's really personal prefrence. I personally prefer AWS but you can go for Google Cloud too.
So when to use it? I sometimes use it for small projects. Reason? Super predictable pricing as it charges/month. The interface is compartively simple when you just want a quick server.
This website is hosted on Vercel. I just love the simplicity of the platform. It syncs with your github repo and deploys the website on every push. It's free for small and non-commercial project with a very reasonable paid plans. It's great for hosting websites built in NextJs, React, etc. but is not limited to that. It also have a lot of features like serverless functions, a CDN that comes as default, Image Optimization, etc.
Alternatives To Vercel
A great alternate. It's also have a lot of features and is free for small projects. I personally prefer Vercel because of the NextJs specific optimizations it have. Netlify is equally good.
Lightsail stands in a grey area and serves a specific purpose. It's easy to use compared to EC2, have simpler pricing and have tonnes of pre-built templates for use cases. I generally use it when I have to deploy a wordpress server or something standard like that.
With the increase in the adaption of Microservices and Serverless architecture Lambda is a must have. You can store and run your cloud functions here. It scales to a pretty large amount of requests and is ideal for running short running tasks. It's a great tool to run background tasks like sending emails, running cron jobs, building user functions, etc. Do not use Lambda if you don't know exactly what you are doing
Alternatives To AWS Lambda
Great Alternative. Do exactly what Lambda does. I personally prefer AWS Lambda because of the AWS ecosystem.
Let's face it, customer service is a pain. But it's a necessary evil. You can't just ignore your customers. You have to be there for them. And that's where these tools come in. They help you manage your customers, get feedbacks and make it easier for them to reach you.
I can't believe this tools is completely free. Tawk.to is a chat widget you can use in your app/website. It's perfect if you want to handle all your customer conversation via agents. The widgets is customizable, there is access management for all your agents and Tawk.to also provides an option to hire trained agents to handle your customer conversation. It's a great tool if you are getting started.
Well it's Intercom. It's the pinacle of chat widgets. You can't imagine a feature which this tool doesn't offer. Multiple agents, i18n, access management, knowledge base, etc. It's a great tool for B2B products. It's a paid tool but a must have if you can afford it.
I spent a lot of time in the search of a good form builder. Tally checks out all the right boxes for me. It have a notion type form builder, you can add custom logic, unlimited submissions, etc. It's amazing for building forms for your app/website. Plus the forms are embeddable and supports dark mode with customizations.
Alternatives To Tally
It's actually a better choice than Tally but is very expensive. It's a great tool for building forms. If you can afford it go for it.
It's totally free and have a lot of features. The only downside is the UI. It's a personal prefrence If you don't mind an older looking UI this is the way to go.
Hubspot is a do it all kind of tool. You can't go wrong with it. It have a CRM, Email Marketing, Chat, etc. It's a great tool for B2B products. Some of it's features are paid and some are free. It's definetly worth exploring.
Alternatives To Hubspot
It's an amazing alternate. It's free for upto 3 users. If you can't afford hubspot and do not need all the features this is a great choice.
Freshdesk is amazing for managing user tickets. It have a lot of integrations, access management and everything you need to manage your customer support. I used it once. It's not recommeneded for small teams. It's better you do it on google sheets or something.
Alternatives To Freshdesk
Zoho Desk is a great alternate. It's kind of like Freshdesk but I personally prefer Freshdesk.
Canny is amazing for taking Feature requests and managing Roadmap. I love the integrations it provides. Although only 1 is included in the free plan(I choosed Jira). It have inbuilt emails and can be hosted on your own domain. I love it so much that I use it with almost all my projects and wouldn't recommend anything else.
Cal is amazing for booking and scheduling meetings. It's great for small teams and individuals. The free plan is pretty good and includes unlimited events, automations, reminders and a lot more. I am personally using this on this website.
Alternatives To Cal
Calendly is probably better than cal and the industry standard. It's great if you have the budget. On the free plan, Comparing apples to apples Cal is better.
Tidycal is a tool from Appsumo. It's packed with features for an idnividual and have the ability to have paid meetings too. The lack of customization was a deal breaker for me. But at 29$ for lifetime access. It's a steal.
What's this doing here? Trust me this gonna save you hours. Loom is a screen recording tool. It have a lot of features like recording camera, video hosting, etc. As your SAAS grow you will see a lot of support tickets asking for help. This is where this comes in. You can record videos of common issues and share it with users. It's a great customer service experience.
Alternatives To Loom
Google Workspace Business Standard and up comes with Meeting Recording feature. It's kind of a hack but you can achieve the same thing and have meeting with yourself, record the meeting, host it on Google Drive and share it with users.
Emails are a standard way to communicate with your customers. It's important to choose the right email service for the right emails. And that's where these tools come in. I am not really a marketing person so most of these tools are recommended from a transactional email point of view.
SES is my goto choice for sending large amount of emails. Not only the pricing is highly competitive but it's also very reliable. It's a great tool for sending transactional emails and is backed by an amazing SDK. It's reliable and the delivery rate is great. SES can be used for marketing emails by using Sendy by paying a one time fee. Sendy is not the most feature rich tool but it gets the job done.
Mailchimp provides a comprehensive suite of tools for marketing emails. The free plan allows 2K subscribers. It have a robust API and a lot of integrations. You can build custom emails, landing pages, email automations, etc. using it's intuitive UI. A great tool for marketing emails.
Alternatives To Mailchimp
Sendinblue used to be my favorite and is still pretty good. It's free for upto 300 emails/day but I had some problems with the delivery rate. It contains all the features one might need with the additional option to send SMS
Although every other tools comes with their own Email builder, I love Beefree. It's free to use and you can export the design as HTML. It have a lot of pre built templates and is very easy to use. I use it all the time. Bonus:No Signup required.
Design and Prototype
Nothing beats a good design. These tools will enable you to make great designs and prototype for those quick MVPs .I am not really a designer so most of these tools are recommended from a Developer and Product point of view. But I have still used them all and heard a lot of good things from my fellow designers.
Figma is great for designing UI. It's user friendly enough for non designers(Even I made few UIs) and a force to be reckoned with in hand of a designer. It also have a desktop app from graphic acceleration. It have a robust user management and a lot of integrations. Figma also have a feature where you can interlink designs to create a prototype.
Well you know it's Canva. It's a great tool for a quick design. I personally use it for creating social media posts, OG Images, etc. The basic features are free to use and more than enough to get you started. It's a great tool for non designers.
Bonus:Did you know Canva have a lot apps and integrations? Including an AI tool which can convert text into images.
Marvel is amazing for mobile prototyping. Works best if you have a designer on board. The screen linking is flawless and the animations are smooth. The hotspots are prominent and easy to configure. You can share the prototype with your clients via a link or email and the it works flawlessly on mobile browsers.
Alternatives To Marvel
Invision is great too. It's a bit more feature rich but I moved to Marvel due to links not working for large number of screens. If you have a small app(<300 screens) go for it.
I'll blindly go with Walnut for my SAAS dashboard protoyping. I tried it out of curosity as it came highly recommended by seasoned founders. It's great if you want to build a MVP.
Bonus:You do not have to create a whole dashboard. You can create prototypes for new features for existing SAAS and have user interviews.
This is something that comes from personal experience. Gliffy is a chrome extension that allows you to create diagrams. It's great for creating and exporting flowcharts, ER diagrams, etc. It specially comes in handy if you are a technical founder and have to explain complex logic to non technical people.
Design assets are a great way to make your designs look great. These tools will help you find the right assets for your design. I have tried a lot of tools and these are my personal favorites.
Unsplash is a great place to get free stock photos. It's curated by a team of professionals and the quality is great. You can also download the photos in different sizes.
Alternatives To Unsplash
Pexels is amazing. It never hurts to have more than one source for stock photos.
Flaticons is a great place to get free icons. You can download icons to use in your projects. It supports a lot of formats. Some icons on this website are from them.
Alternatives To Flaticon
Icons8 is amazing. It never hurts to have more than one source for icons.
Mobbin is a great place to get free illustrations. It's curated by a team of professionals and the quality is great. You can also download the illustrations in different sizes. I would specially recommend it if you are building a mobile app.
AI and ML
AI and ML are the future. And these tools will help you get started with them from training a model to hosting them. These tools are a good starting point but for serious applications consult a professional. For higher loads always host your model on a fine tuned instance.
Hugging Face is the place to start with AI. It have a lot of pre trained models and a lot of datasets. You can also train your own models using their AutoML/AutoTrain. Their SDK makes life easy for developers.Plus they have a super quick infrence API which have a generous limit and supports text, image and audio.
We all do not have crazy GPUs to train our models. Vast.ai is a great place to hire machines at a very reasonable price to train your models. It's the most cost effective way I came across after doing a lot of research. The only downside is that you have to wait for the machine to be available but the selection is huge. Only use this platform if you need multiple GBs of VRAM and really powerful machines.
Colab is well known in the AI community. It's great to test out quick machine learning models or train smaller models. It's free plan is good enough and pro plan is very reasonable. I recommened you to buy the pro plan if you have an in house team.
Alternatives To Google Colab
Kaggle is a considered to be a great place to learn and practice. But it also provide a lot of free GPU hours. You can use it to train your models.
Need to setup a quick recommendation engine? Google Recommendations AI is a great place to start. It's a fully managed service and you can get started in minutes. If you just need recommendations in your product trust me skip the over engineering and go with this.
Alternatives To Google Recommendations AI
Probably the only instance in my list. Where I preffered a Google Product over AWS. Google does it better but Personalize is not that far behind. Use it if you are in the AWS ecosystem.
OpenAI is love. Their new GPT3 models are amazing and sort of resonable priced. They have introduced a new fine tuning API. Which further customize these all knowing models. I have build a lot of tools using these models. Some are live on this website. Do check them out :)
Wandb is a great tool to track your machine learning experiments. It's free for small teams and has a very reasonable price for larger teams. It's a great tool to have in your arsenal.
A knowledge base plays a vital role in your customer experience. It helps you answer your customers questions and make it easier for them to use your product. It's also super helpful for your team. It's a win win for everyone. These tools will help you create a knowledge base for your product or your team.
GitBook is a great place to create a knowledge base. You can create a knowledge base for your product or your team. It supports custom domain in the paid plan. I love the search functionality and the blocks it offers(Including API documentation).
Alternatives To GitBook
Archbee is a great alternative to GitBook. It's a bit more expensive but it has a lot of features that GitBook doesn't have.
Swagger is my go to choice for API documentations. It creates amazing documentation right from the code and support multiple languages. It's a must have if you offer an API to your users and planning to get started quickly.
Docusaurus is a great tool to create a documentation website specially If you are familiar with React. The output website is fast and SEO friendly. Plus you can create pages using Markdown.
Project management is a pain. But it's a necessary evil.It's a pain and we need all the help we can. And that's where these tools come in. I personally spend a lot of time on these tools and these are my personal favorites.
Jira is my recent favorite for project management. This tool is a powerhouse with the amount of access management, automation and integration if offers. I haven't seen a tool that comes close. The dashboards are amazing and gives a good picture of the project. The only downside is it can be a nightmare to setup. But once you get the hang of it, it's amazing.
Asana is amazing the UI and UX is great. If you want a tool that works out of the box and is easy to use. This is the tool for you. Trust me I have tried a lot of tools. The best part about Asana is it's get the job done elegantly. The downside is most of the advance features are paid. But if you are a small team and just want to get started. This is the tool for you.
Alternatives To Asana
Monday is a great alternative to Asana. It's a bit more expensive but the automations and workflows are amazing.
I am not really a marketing person but I use these tools to promote my products and blogs. These tools are recommened after a lot of research and gives the Best ROI.
Short.io is a great tool to create short links. What I love about the tool is it's free plan offers CNAME support and a generous amount of links and click.
Alternatives To Short.io
Well it's Bitly. It's obviously better than Short.io but it's free plan doesn't offer CNAME functionality and the paid plan is too expensive.
Get Free Credits
Running A SAAS product is already hard enough. You don't need to break the bank to run one. These websites will get you free credits to run you product for free. Atleast for a while.
An initiative by Y Combinator. They provide courses, co-founder search and free credits to a lot of platforms. All you need is to go through the curriculum and post updates. The credits includes to AWS(5K $), Stripe and Stripe Atlas, Hubspot(Free CRM + 30% off), Digital Ocean(1K $) and a lot more.
AWS activate gets you 1K dollars worth of credits for 12 months. I have personally applied it for many of my clients. All you need is a solid startup pitch and a working SAAS product.
Microsoft Startup Program gets you 2000$ worth of credits for Azure and 1000$ worth of credits for OpenAI. You can apply here via linkedin. You need to have a working SAAS product.