Bootstrapping Ad Reform part 2: Engineering edition

Products and services we use to build, manage, and monitor our technology platform

Kyle Conarro
Sep 1, 2017 · 3 min read

We lean on a lot of great products to help us build our company. They provide a variety of functions for us, letting us stay focused on our core mission. We’ve already shared some of the services we use for sales, marketing, support, and communication. Now we’d like to share what we use on the engineering side.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. — Isaac Newton

Code / Continuous Integration


The most popular code versioning and management platform. Integrates with pretty much everything.

Price: $25 per month for a Team plan with up to 5 users

Semaphore CI

Polished and feature-rich continuous integration platform with a clean, easy to use UI. Automatically deploy when your builds pass, and notify Slack as well. They have great support, too!

Price: 30-day free trial, then $29 per month


Amazon Web Services

Don’t think I need to explain this one.

Price: Solid free tier, additional credits are available for startups through a variety of incubators/accelerators (e.g. ATDC)


Transactional email API for sending app emails. Easy to use, and based in Atlanta!

Price: Free trial for 2,000 emails. After that, free with a paid Mailchimp account (starts at $10/mo.)



Price: Free up to 7,500 events per month


Log management made easy. There are a handful of good logging services, but Logentries is very easy to integrate and has a generous free tier.

Price: Free up to 5 GB per month


Ghost Inspector

Quick and easy browser testing. Great for post-deploy smoke testing, or even full-fledged integration testing against staging or production environments.

Price: Free (up to 100 test runs per month)


Get detailed traces of slow requests and link directly to the line(s) of code causing the slowness. Lots of cool features: email digests, auditing in dev environments, and more. Also, great support!

Price: starts at $99 per month


A nice (and free) way to visualize your site’s performance over time. Very easy to set up, too!

Price: Free (as in 🍻 as in speech)

Uptime Robot

No-frills uptime monitoring that pings sites and sends alerts. They have a solid free tier, which is great for smaller companies who just need the basics.

Price: Free (up to 50 monitors running every 5 minutes)



Makes it easy to share new features, bug fixes, and improvements with your customers directly within your app. Lots of nice features (e.g. Twitter and Slack integration), and a transparent roadmap suggests plenty more to come.

Price: Free

Whew! That’s quite a list. We’re big fans of staying focused, and thanks to these services we’re able to do just that as we build out our technology. Have questions about how we use any of these? Or just want to connect? Let me know on Twitter!

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