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Obinna Ekwuno
Obinna Ekwuno

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Gatsby Cloud and Gatsby open source aren't mutually exclusive. Here's why I think so.

Now I know, I work at Gatsby. I am supposed to say "good" things about Gatsby -- but here's the thing. Before anything, I am a developer and I care about my community.

I have spent a couple of days asking a lot of questions about how our community views the Cloud offering of Gatsby. Most of the comments seem to view it as Gatsby's "money maker",

Well yes, but then no.

Being open-source while also making a profit as a business seems to be a conflict in some minds. When open source starts to get involved with money, if not put in the proper context it can be seen as !Open-source (Not open-source, pardon me I couldn't help it. )

Here's what it actually is.

Gatsby Cloud, simply put, is an optimization tool for sites Gatsby built with the open-source framework. It will improve how fast your Gatsby sites are built and also offers you more optimizations as your sites grow.

It's like playing God of War on a PS4, for example. In the beginning, you have only a simple axe. But as you go further into the game you unlock pretty awesome abilities -- and you pay for them with the coins you have collected along the way. (Yes! I am currently playing God of War 😅).

Gatsby was designed for front end devs to be able to assemble websites from modular services, each one having its own best-fit data source, using plugins to make it quick to build this way. This architecture means that a site built with Gatsby is fast anywhere it runs. But for a Gatsby site to be as fast as it is architected to be there needed to be customized cloud infrastructure.

My point is Gatsby Cloud wasn't built to just "make money for Gatsby" -- although users paying for the advanced features added to it will help pay the Engineers working full time on open source Gatsby (i.e me and my team). It was built as the arena for Gatsby sites to reach their true superpowers.

Gatsby Cloud is of course a cloud platform. This infrastructure costs money! But we support open source even in our Cloud platform: we will always have a free tier for personal projects. Because we want anybody using the open-source Gatsby framework to be able to experience the ideal place to build and deploy their projects. If you're a company using a lot of Cloud builds on a product you make money from well, then, of course, we would like for you to pay for your usage.

Now, with that in mind here's what you get from using Gatsby Cloud to build your Gatsby Sites for free:

  • 100 Real-Time Edits/month
  • Standard Builds
  • Deploy Previews
  • Real-time CMS Previews
  • Lighthouse Reports
  • 1 editor

Gatsby cloud plans

In my opinion, this is pretty helpful for a free plan and if you're not running a really giant site or doing constant updating this is perfect.

Now the more advanced stuff like Incremental build, Site Access Control, extended real-time edits/month for larger themes, comes with the paid plans (which start at $19/Month 🤭). This is cool! But tbh these are things that big teams working on big projects would benefit from more.

In conclusion

Gatsby Cloud at its core is built to improve the workflow of the web developer using Gatsby open source, by providing a tool to build at blazing speed and also cut build times by 90% to <10sec. Check out which is a benchmark site that helps predict the build time of your site.

I hope this helps and also I am happy to hear your opinions about Gatsby Cloud. Would you use it? Anything I can help explain?

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