Bootstrapping Ad Reform: Engineering Edition

Note: This post was originally published on the Ad Reform blog.

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


Host and review code, manage projects, and build software alongside millions of other developers.

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

Test and deploy your code at the push of a button.

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

Build sophisticated applications with increased flexibility, scalability and reliability

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 for Mailchimp

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.)



Monitors your website and mobile app for errors impacting your customers.

Price: Free up to 7,500 events per month


The fastest way to analyze your log data

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

Easily build browser tests for your website or application. Monitor continously.

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)


Track down memory leaks, N+1s, slow code and more.

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


Runs on top of WebPageTest and makes periodic performance tests on your website and shows a visualization of how the various performance metrics evolve over time.

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

Price: Free (as in 🍻 and as in speech)

Uptime Robot

Monitors your websites every 5 minutes and alerts you if your sites are down.

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)



Changelog as a service. Simple as that.

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!

Ad Reform builds simple tools to improve the digital advertising experience and the process for the delivery of ads