Edit April 8th: It is now undeniable that most Bubble users are against the changes described in this article. We also received a lot of criticism about our analysis and we'd like to note that this article was written before the release, without the actual confrontation of these new changes to the actual users and the global impact of costs for users, for which we knew about in theory and not in practice. We'll post an update as things evolve.
Bubble.io has recently announced a new pricing model for its users on April 6th. This announcement follows a period of introspection after their previous attempt in March last year, which was poorly received by the community. The feedback was taken into consideration by Bubble’s team, who decided to take a step back and devise a new pricing model.
The newly created metric “workload units” is the basis of this new pricing model. It offers benefits, but it also challenges existing practices for their users. In this article, we feature different Bubble experts and Bubble itself to understand the origins of this new pricing model, its details, and what it means for Bubble.io users.
Despite Bubble.io’s growing popularity and expanding features, its pricing has remained almost unchanged for many years, staying much lower than that of other No-code tools. For instance, Glide’s pricing ranges from $25 to $799, Softr from $59 to $232, among others.
For me, pricing is all about value and convenience. If you compare Webflows pricing model and what you can build, Bubble has far more value. People need to be reminded that you can build million-dollar businesses with Bubble.
The existing pricing model and tiers were generally accepted by the community and customers, which made sense during Bubble’s early stage when it was primarily oriented towards single entrepreneurs or startups. However, with Bubble’s recent rise and the increasing democratization of No-code tools, this trend is being challenged. More companies are using Bubble to scale, and established companies are turning to No-code tools.
Bubble’s pricing structure has traditionally focused on performance ceiling, storage, and features, with metrics that were often difficult for users to comprehend and gauge.
What we didn’t realize in 2017, when we introduced capacity, is that as we improve the performance of our systems, applications are less likely to hit peak capacity. This creates a perverse incentive for us: as our team improves Bubble and makes it faster and better, Bubble’s revenue from capacity goes down. As we have sped things up over the last several years, we have seen more of our revenue come from feature plans than from capacity… We want Bubble’s growth to be driven primarily by users scaling up on our platform.
Emmanuel Straschnov — Founder of Bubble.io
This model became hardly sustainable for Bubble as they released new performance optimizations and most of their users were running on the lower tiers regardless of their usage or size.
In March 2022, Bubble unexpectedly announced a new pricing model, based on database entries.
The goal for Bubble to use the new metric of database entries, along with monthly unique daily visitors, was to improve app performance and make pricing more transparent and predictable for users. Bubble found that its previous metric, capacity, was difficult for users to understand and predict, causing downtime for applications that hit their limits. By using the number of database entries and unique visitors, Bubble hoped to provide a clearer model that better aligns with how users’ apps scale on their platform.
The community’s reaction to Bubble.io’s new pricing model was unprecedented and largely negative. The original announcement posted in the forum garnered over 700 replies, with users expressing their discontent and threatening to abandon the platform. Many claimed that the new metric would lead to disproportionate pricing, and criticized the sudden nature of the announcement. Additionally, users felt that their needs and concerns were not taken into consideration, as they felt there was no prior user research conducted before the implementation of the new pricing model.
Limiting the numbers of lines in the database will force every small app to migrate to larger plans over the years, as it is expected that the database gets bigger over the time.
@rpetribu on Bubble’s Forum
Bubble’s team quickly addressed the complaints by cancelling their announcement and promised to take a step back to think about a different metric. They will evaluate it further with the users before releasing it. This withdrawal seemed considerate toward the users, and we were pleased that Bubble listened to their community.
Today, one year after the unsuccessful attempt to release a new pricing model, Bubble is back with a different approach and has introduced a new metric known as “workload units.”
This announcement was made with more confidence, likely due to a longer period of ideation and experimentation. Additionally, this time, Bubble has invested more in user research and taken greater precautions, as we will explain further.
The Workload Units measure the amount of computational resources required by your app to perform certain actions, such as sending emails or running workflows. This includes, but is not limited to:
The workload unit is determined by the weight of each action, which varies according to its complexity. For instance, uploading a 1MB file and a 100MB file will carry different weights and consume workload units accordingly.
However, it is worth noting that the calculation method and weight ratio for the various actions are not currently disclosed and may undergo changes in the future.
Workload is measured in units (not count) and it depends on a number of factors. Relevant factors include the amount of data (both number of items and size of items) being loaded or modified, whether it is a custom plugin or Bubble-built action, which action it is, and any external API calls that get triggered. The exact formula is proprietary and depends on a lot of implementation details, but in general, running the exact same workflow on the exact same data […] will likely consume very similar amounts of workload.
Overall, the introduction of Workload Units represents a significant shift in how Bubble.io prices its platform. By focusing on actual usage rather than a ceiling-based or feature-based model, Bubble.io is offering more flexibility and control to its users.
As a new metric now comes in place, it’s interesting to wonder about the changes in the access to features.
As we can see, the latest updates to Bubble.io’s pricing model bring about significant changes, particularly in the area of storage. The platform now offers up to 5 times more storage than its legacy plans, and storage capacity has become 33 times cheaper, with 100GB priced at just $3 compared to $100 in the previous plan.
Furthermore, the starter plan has been enhanced to include recurring workflows, with access to all frequencies. Overall, the platform’s features remain largely unchanged from its legacy plans.
The recently announced tier rates have largely remained the same, except for the Team plan which has become less expensive.
The idea behind this pricing strategy is to offer high enough limits initially so that users don’t have to worry about reaching them. As they use their application and test it with beta testers or themselves, they can start developing an understanding of how much a workflow unit costs for their individual application.
Most apps will have a sufficient amount of workload included in their plan and won’t need to subscribe to an additional tier.
Emmanuel Straschnov — Founder of Bubble.io
These new tiers also sign the end of the legacy capacity units that users could purchase and are now replaced by measurable add-ons, which can be added on all paid plans.
At first glance, Bubble.io’s new pricing model may seem a bit confusing. With its various tiers and the distribution of workflow units, it can be difficult to determine which plan is right for your needs. However, this is primarily due to the fact that the new model is based on a new metric that users are not yet familiar with. Moreover, many users have already built their apps without a clear sense of their workload consumption.
Despite these initial challenges, we believe that the new metric will soon become more tangible for existing users. Bubble has promised to provide the tools and resources necessary for users to understand and track their consumption. As new users build their apps from scratch, they will be able to see their consumption evolve and adapt accordingly.
In conjunction with this announcement, Bubble has released an updated version of the App Metrics tab. This new tab works smoothly and will help users evaluate their overall workload consumption, as well as the consumption per action. With this information, users can identify which actions are taking up the most resources and adjust their workflows accordingly. This will enable existing users on the legacy plan to anticipate and adjust their workflows before the new pricing model is rolled out.
To further help users understand how the new pricing model works, Bubble has also provided several hypothetical examples of workload consumption for common use-cases. These examples can be found here.
The monthly agency plan will now cost $85 per month, while the annual billing option will cost $78 per month, representing a price increase. However, in return, users can expect to receive a range of updates, such as 10 custom branches, 150k Workflow Units per month, 2GB file storage, and 2 FA (two-factor authentication).
These new changes take effect on May 1st, where users will be able to subscribe to these new plans.
However, for users who had created apps before April 6th, they will have the opportunity to keep their legacy plans for up to 18 months. This approach ensures that existing users have sufficient time to anticipate any potential changes in pricing and to carry out any necessary optimization work on their current system, which is a prudent decision.
At Flusk, we are long-time users of Bubble, and together with influential Bubble experts Gregory John and J.J. Englert, we wanted to share our analysis of Bubble’s new pricing model and highlight its pros and cons.
It appears that this new pricing model makes sense and is built on a solid foundation, which has been well-received by us and others with whom we have discussed these changes. This new model finally provides a tangible metric and clarity in Bubble’s pricing, as well as removes frustrating barriers such as the expensive legacy storage.
The value that Bubble provides far outweighs any of the changes that have been made to it’s pricing plan. […] I believe the limits that they are providing are fair, and generous.
[…] So if this better aligns what they need to build a more successful company, then I’m all for it.
Although this model may increase costs for certain use cases compared to the legacy plan, it is important to recognize that Bubble’s pricing remains exceptionally competitive when we consider its features, limitations, and accessibility in comparison to other no-code tools. Therefore, it is fair to acknowledge that Bubble’s pricing is still relatively inexpensive.
People need to be reminded that you can build million-dollar businesses with Bubble. Therefore, do we care about extra $100 per month etc? Bubble is unique in the marketplace, there is nothing comparable.
In our view, Bubble.io’s new pricing model offers numerous benefits to end-users.
The first and most notable one is auto-scaling. As this new pricing model is now based on a consumption metric rather than a ceiling, the users will now have access to more resources (shared among apps) no matter the plan they are running on, rather than a performance ceiling that slows down their app in cases of complex apps or a spike in traffic.
A better way to understand auto-scaling is that if/when apps hit the limit of workload in their plan (or included in a purchased workload tier), rather than rate-limiting the app (as is currently the case), performance is unimpacted and customers are charged the overage amount. If customers do not want to be charged overages — they have the ability to turn off auto-scaling.
Bubble’s new pricing model comes with a generous offer for existing users: they can keep their legacy plans for up to 18 months, while still benefiting from the platform’s flexibility.
We believe that the new consumption-based pricing model will encourage users to adopt more efficient and effective app-building practices, leading to better end-user experiences. Moreover, this change creates opportunities for freelancers and agencies to offer optimization services for existing apps, leading to enhanced skills and greater proficiency with Bubble.
Agencies with strong performance and optimization practices stand to gain the most from these changes, as they will now have a new value proposition for their clients.
As previously mentioned, Bubble’s implementation of performance optimizations did not benefit the company as they lost users on higher plans, resulting in decreased revenue. This new pricing model will likely affect Bubble’s approach to developing and introducing performance updates, which will have a direct impact on our apps and the end-user experience.
[…] It’s a mutually beneficial model.
Bubble.io’s new pricing model includes a small yet significant change that could have a profound impact on the user experience. The ability to run recurring workflows on all frequencies, regardless of the pricing tier, will significantly reduce the complexity for new users who wish to utilize recursive workflows, such as scheduling emails.
This change also enables users to use these workflows instead of scheduled workflows, thereby enhancing the reliability of their apps.
The massive reduction in storage prices will benefit most users, allowing them to build apps for use-cases that require extensive file or image upload. Previously, Bubble users tended to rely on external storage solutions like AWS when facing such use-cases, which increased development time and costs. With this new pricing model, Bubble’s users can now save time and money by utilizing the platform’s built-in storage solutions.
Despite the positive outcomes of these changes, there are also some drawbacks that are unavoidable for certain use cases.
Users who have already built their apps using Bubble.io’s previous pricing model did not have to consider the impact of their use of workflows, database queries, or plugin use on their costs. However, the new pricing model is set to change this, and it will challenge the core structure of all existing apps. This change will be easy to handle for basic or lightweight apps, but it will be a dealbreaker for heavier apps and any structural changes may be difficult to implement.
The fact that the calculation formula for the workload unit is proprietary creates a challenge for those seeking to optimize their app’s performance. Without knowing the formula, it will be difficult to make in-depth optimizations. However, with the tools and resources provided by Bubble, it remains to be seen if this barrier can be broken.
Users who utilize tools such as Airdev’s Canvas will also face challenges, as their app’s workload consumption will be impacted by the practices implemented by the tool’s author. Current versions of Airdev’s Canvas, for example, are very heavy and include many workflows, potentially increasing the app’s workload consumption.
As these users are usually specialized and may be less familiar with Bubble’s depth, it may be difficult for them to adjust their existing apps to accommodate these new changes. However, as Airdev adapts its template to these changes, users will likely benefit from native workload optimizations, giving them more power.
Existing templates that include workflows will need to be reviewed and updated by their author to adapt to the new pricing model. Similarly, plugins will need to be revised to minimize their workload consumption. This may be an issue for deprecated plugins that are still widely used.
As we have seen, the impact of the new pricing model on your costs and benefits will vary depending on how you use Bubble. For some, the changes will be barely noticeable, while for others, they could be significant.
However, we firmly believe that, like any changes, existing users will eventually adapt and integrate them until they become the new norm. This is particularly important given that these changes will benefit Bubble and, hopefully, have a positive impact on us as users.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that the changes made to Bubble’s pricing model are part of the platform’s ongoing development and growth. While they may cause some initial challenges, we should look forward to the long-term benefits they will bring.
My number one interest is ensuring that Bubble is still around years from now. So if implementing this pricing model helps them with that, then I’m totally in favor of it. […] Let’s not forget how good we have things with Bubble, and be happy that they’re doing what they need to do to ensure they’ll be around for another 10 years!
Optimizing your apps will become increasingly mandatory with these new changes, so we recommend the following content from trusted experts:
Special thanks to the Carly Blumenfeld from Bubble, Gregory John and J.J. Englert for their participation and feedback.
Although this article was reviewed by Bubble, we are not affiliated with Bubble.
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