Updates on Plan Changes

Avatar of Angelo SaracenoAngelo Saraceno
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TL:DR If you’re a rational actor building cool stuff on the platform, this is great news for you! You should be getting higher quality service, more access, etc! If you are in a rush, here is what we are announcing.

  • Attach credit card to verify
  • Prepaid plans (One off credit purchases)
  • Project member limit cap for free/developer plan projects
  • Lowering Developer Plan credits to $5 instead of $10
  • Service execution limits on the starter plan
  • Contribution credits, getting credits for contributing to the community
  • Billing page updates

Read below if you wanna see our rationale and timelines for these incoming changes.

We started Railway because we wanted to make it crazy easy to build and deploy applications. We think every person should have access to a magical computer in the sky, one that’s simple and easy to move the logic from your brain to the logic in a computer.

Over the past year, we’ve gone from 0 → 50k+ users. Tens of thousands of users, shipping monthly, building some really awesome things. Heck, with the Heroku stuff, we had 1000+ new signups. There’s a lot of you, many more coming, and we’re hyped to help you ship some amazing stuff!

We’ve always wanted to offer a free tier. That much hasn’t changed. When there’s free stuff, however, it attracts people who like free stuff. We started by putting out a candy bowl, and then people started taking multiple chocolate bars (in the form of having multiple accounts). We then moved to monitoring the chocolate bowl with a camera. Sadly, Railway isn’t a house on a quiet neighborhood block, it’s more like a busy, 8 lane highway. As more and more people came through, this too failed.

Time and time again, we’d implement a solution to validate people on the free tier, only for them to immediately get around it. As a small team (7 + 1), any time we spend here takes away from making the platform itself better.

For Railway to continue to thrive, we’ll be implementing some changes to the Free and Developer plans over the next month or so.

Once again: our goal here is to give more benefit to good actors. If you’re an upstanding member of the community, you should only see benefit from these changes, in terms of increased stability, feature unlocks, and many more things.

From Gaming, the terms “Buffing” and “Nerfing” are used to “Balance” the gameplay. Games like League of Legends, Apex Legends, etc. all have teams dedicated to making sure the game is fun, fair, and without any exploits.

All this to say, we’re going to be making the free tier worse (”nerfing”) so that we can make the developer tier better and more accessible (”buffing”).

After many weeks of discussion with our community, customers, and our team it’s self. We are ready to announce these committed changes coming to the platform.

“Nerfing” The Free Plan

The free plan will trend more toward a “Taste of the platform”. The goal being that people can come to Railway, start playing with it, then move to the developer tier. Users will be able to deploy a few resources to test around on the platform. They’ll be able to use Railway as a CI/CD + “Show your friends” tool, as well as a replacement for Docker Desktop. We still want anybody to be able to come to Railway and get access to Postgres/Redis/Templates without having to learn complicated tooling like Docker/Kube/etc.

The goal of these changes is to allow people to use an equivalent featureset while curbing abuse and pushing credits towards good actors.

Upcoming Free Plan Changes

Stronger Fraud Scanning: We’ll be scanning more aggressively on dependencies in this tier.

  • Reasoning: Abuse has gotten more rampant. We want to clamp down more heavily, but we know this affects “good” actors on the free tier.
  • Summary: You’ll still be able to deploy any valid repos

Execution Limits: Much like other platforms, we’ll introduce the notion of an execution time limit for deployments.

  • Incoming by end of July: The Starter Plan will have 500 execution hours per month. Each service will count against this timer. If you have one service, it will deplete the 500 hour reserve at a normal rate. If you have two services, the timer will deplete twice as much. Users who get prepaid credits will be exempt from this system.
  • Reasoning: Infinite execution for infinite signups is the massive problem right now.
  • Summary: You’ll still be able to build and deploy applications on the platform without the need to attach a card.

Custom Domains: [UPDATE] We are leaving domains as is. No changes.

Logging Limits: [UPDATE] We are leaving logging as is. No changes.

Project Member (Soft/Hard) Limits:

  • Reasoning: We have seen users with corporate use-cases invite their team onto the project unaware that we have a team solution for their use case.
  • Incoming by end of July: When you add your third member to a project, we will nudge you with in-product copy reminding you about our team plan. We will now cap all projects except teams to five members.

Verification Center: Verify via Credit Card

  • Reasoning: We deal with a lot of bots trying to deploy on the platform, hence, we were vague in the past on how to get your account into a good state. As a result, the rules around verification aren’t clearly communicated within the product.
  • Live on the platform: We have now separated the verification flow from purchasing. You can add a credit card and not have to purchase anything to prove your humanity. (Did we mention this is free?)

“Buffing” The Developer Plan

We want to make it so that young hackers, ones who may not have credit cards, will also be able to ship on the platform. These are the users we cherish heavily; we all grew up fiddling with code platforms, showing cool things to our friends during lunch break, and going through those awesome late night shipping cycles.

Future Improvements

  • GitHub Student Access: Students who do not have a credit card should have access to the platform
  • Deposit Funds to Upgrade: If you want to upgrade but don’t have a credit card, we’re aiming to accept prepaid deposits.
  • Contribution Credits: While we don’t know what it’ll look like, we DO want to reward all of you wonderful people who go above and beyond to create a PR, answer questions, and help out around our growing community
  • Crystal Clear Billing Page: Not a developer plan specific feature but we know a lot of customers want to get up to the minute understanding of how much they are being charged. We have refreshed billing views to help with this.

All of these improvements will be coming on the platform in the coming weeks so keep our eyes peeled on the change-log.

Presenting: Prepaid Developer Plan

We know we have a number of developers who don’t want to commit to unlimited spend on the platform. You can add min. $5 of credit and then get the benefits of the developer plan and while removing all the limits from the starter plan.

We didn’t want to make it so that the Prepaid plan was worse than the Free plan, so the plans will get the same $5 of monthly non-stackable credit like the starter plan.

The Bad News

When working on adding prepaid credits, we didn’t want there to be a disjoint experience for the developer plan for prepaid and usage payment methods. If a user was to pay for credits ahead of time, do we give them $10 a month for as long as they have the credits un-used?
So this means we are lowering the included Developer Plan credits to the standard $5 a month. To assist with the transition: during the July billing cycle, we will be giving all developer plan subscribers $5 in extra credit this month while we adjust the plans.

Conclusion

These changes are going to mean that we will get to provide a better service for you. More importantly, we will be able focus more on highly anticipated features that builders count on to deliver for their users. As always, we want to hear from you, our Discord is open and we are always listening to do better.

Never Stop Building,

The Railway Team