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Mark’s Thoughts Sept 2022

NightScout, just pay the $7 and move on…

These are Mark’s thoughts, not peer-reviewed, edited, sanity-checked, or otherwise approved by anyone.

Mark’s thoughts about NightScout on Heroku.


Pay the $7 per month.


Thanks for coming to my TED talk, no reason to read any further.

What is that you say?    Did I hear “But”???


Ahh, But, Heroku now wants to rip you off after letting you use their commercial service for free for years?   Seriously?  It is a commercial service, which has costs.  $7/month is not a lot of money for what you are getting.   Some families just can not afford another $7/month for their diabetes care and will need to try to find other options.  But the vast majority of you reading this can afford $7.   Just pay it.   Support the company that has supported the community for years.


But, they don’t give back to the community.    Well, Apple doesn’t give any of that developer fee back, and I think if you look at the fee services that provide NightScout as a service, they are giving back to their business by growing it with subscribers.   Not that this is a bad thing, everyone deserves to make a living.  Heroku gave to the community for years.  When I hear people postulating that the various fees should be giving something back to the community, it always seems to track back to the fact that they think the various fees should go to their company instead of Heroku, Apple etc.   Not that there is anything wrong with that, but understand that their motivation may not match yours, and “community” is a big,  emotionally charged word.   Look at where the money is really going if that is something that you care about.


But, what about the other hosting platforms: AWS, Google, Railroad, bob’s server farm.    Sure, you can spin the software up on one of those platforms, maybe even save some money.   But think it through.  How many people are experts in running NS on those platforms?    How many people in total, on the planet, have even attempted to build, maintain, update NS on one of those platforms?   It is a small handful at this point.    And, as people are getting their feet wet in those platforms, limitations are being found.   Some of the displays and software that read NS as their data source can not read from at least some of these.   Unless you are a developer or tinkerer that want to spend more than $7/month of your time to keep NS working on another platform, you do not belong over there.


Heroku has been a reliable stable platform for years.   Many thousands are running Nightscout on the Heroku platform, many dozens know how to install, upgrade, maintain, troubleshoot NS on Heroku.   You can find help pretty much around the clock in many different languages if you are having a NS problem on Heroku.   And, all the features are supported.


There has been some other noise about database size.   You can pay more for Atlas and get more space if you don’t want to keep your database clean.   But, going in twice a year and clicking the “clean up” options in the menu shouldn’t be too burdensome for most people.   There have been bugs in various Loop versions that improperly wrote too much stuff to the Device status table or Profiles table.   But both of those are also easy to clean out (and there are many people who can help you).   The half gig free with Atlas is more than enough data for your normal user.  

But, if you want to support one of the NightScout as a service providers and are willing to live with their support and feature limitations, and you can afford to pay the premium for their service, they can be a low hassle option.  In some cases, if you have multiple sites for multiple users, the for-pay NightScout service providers may actually be cheaper.  Check with them for details on family plans etc.

But seriously, if your site works, and has worked for years, just go in and click the box to pay the $7 a month.    You can always come back in a few months when one of the other options are a bit more baked-in and decide to switch.

You might even come back and pick the option for the $5/month Heroku offering to allow for two NightScout sites, if they do indeed roll out that rumored option.

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