Over the years here at Statuspage we’ve probably heard every version of the open source vs. paid status page argument. While we’re obviously fans of the SaaS model, we also know there are a lot of advantages to an open source status page for a lot of teams. We’ve even recommended that route to some potential customers we thought would have a better experience hosting their own open source page.

As best and objectively as we can, this page is our attempt to cover the main pros and cons of both approaches. Hopefully this better helps you make the decision. Of course we want teams using Statuspage for their incident communications. But we’d rather see folks using an open source page than nothing at all. Because if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that users deserve transparency during incidents and services need a status page.

 

Open source Paid
Cost Free Monthly subscription
Hosting Provide yourself Provided by vendor
Email, SMS subscriptions Do it yourself Out of the box
Maintenance and updates Do it yourself Provided by vendor
Flexibility Open access to source code Limited to pre-built features and integrations, API endpoints

 

Open source pros

Free

Open source tools are hard to beat on price. Obviously for projects with limited or no budget, the free nature of open source is an advantage.

Flexible to build on

Open source projects publish their code base and give users free reign to modify it however they’d like. This means, in theory, users can add or build whatever features or integrations they’d like without waiting for a vendor to add it to the product.

Support the open source community

We’re huge fans of the open source community and its mission. Here at Statuspage we use, contribute to, and support open source initiatives ourselves and encourage people to help with open source projects. For more on supporting open source projects, check out the Open Source Initiative.

Open source cons

Host and Maintain it yourself

An open source status page needs to be deployed somewhere. With open source plans, you take on the burden of hosting the page. While open source plans are free, you’ll likely need to dedicate some resources toward hosting the page.

No subscriber alerts

Effective incident communication usually means more than just publishing updates to a web page. A lot of what you’re paying for with a SaaS status page is all the infrastructure powering subscription and notification delivery. Sending incident updates through email, SMS, or API calls involves a lot of back-end work that SaaS providers worry about so you don’t have to.

Paid status page pros

Hosted and maintained outside your infrastructure

The last thing you want going down when you’re having an outage is your status page. This is a big cause of anxiety when thew page is hosted alongside the rest of your infrastructure. Not only does a vendor-hosted page become one less thing to maintain and update manually, it’s far less likely to have a service interruption when the rest of your infrastructure is down.

Multiple subscription and notification options

A paid status page makes it easier to send proactive status updates to subscribe through different channels; like email, SMS, or an embedded status widget.

Third-party components

More than ever, services rely on the uptime of various other service providers. If the vendor you’re using to power part of your app or service is having an outage, that impacts your service as well. By connecting third-party components to your status page, you can automatically flag outages on your page when they come from an upstream service provider.

Paid status page cons

Cost

The obvious downside for a SaaS vendor is cost. While we try to make our plans affordable, we have to keep the lights on somehow. We also offer discounted or free plans for non-profits, open source, and student projects.

Someone else’s feature roadmap

Unlike open source, with SaaS vendors you don’t always have the flexibility to tinker with the source code and build the features and integrations yourself. At Statuspage we offer API endpoints, Marketplace apps, a customization editor, and native integrations with other popular tools. But if you really want to pop the hood and build a feature yourself, you’re may find you have more freedom with open source.

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