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Introducing Unit-based Pricing

Alex BoswellDecember 08, 2022

Today we are introducing a new measure of consumption for the Browserless Subscription platform. We are calling it Unit-based pricing, and it replaces our previous Usage-based pricing. We are also switching from usage-based plans to monthly subscriptions, and introducing a forever free subscription!

Before anyone starts to sweat, let us assure you that there will be no changes to accounts on legacy plans. If you do want to switch over, we can help you with that!

What are the new plans?

We are keeping it simple. There is a free plan and three paid plans. It’s important to note that the free plan can run a maximum of 10 concurrent browsers at the same time, whereas the paid plans can run 1,000 concurrent browsers. Larger plans are available, feel free to get in touch if that is of interest!

Why the change?

We have spent a lot of time with customers trying to help them understand how much Browserless will cost. Over and over again we have seen that customers know how many Sessions they need, but equating that into time is much less predictable. The internet can also be fairly volatile – a website that took 5 seconds to load might suddenly take 20 or more. Units are closely equivalent to Sessions, so it made a lot more sense to us and we think it will make things more predictable for customers. 

Usage-based plans also led to less predictable Browserless costs for customers. Our new monthly subscriptions cost less per Session and allow customers to have more predictable monthly costs. If you go over your plan we now have Unit based overages, so your service won’t just stop!

Last, and not least, we wanted to have a forever free plan! This helps individual developers prototype, or hobbyists experiment indefinitely. We think many folks will benefit!

What is a Unit?

A Unit is mostly equivalent to a Session. Each webpage you scrape, each PDF you generate, or each test browser you launch is a Session, and will be one Unit. If a Session is long-lived, every 30 seconds of that Session is a Unit; so a 75-second Session would be 3 Units. Here’s a quick chart to gauge what a Unit might look like:

Note: 98% of users’ Sessions are less than 30 seconds

Best practices on unit-based plans

It’s important to be mindful of how many units you’re consuming, especially when there are unexpected timeouts or errors, which can cause your browser to hang after your connection with the browser is unexpectedly terminated. Units will keep counting as long as that browser is alive, so it may end up using more units from your subscription than intended.

The best practice here is to always use try/catch blocks to ensure your browser is closed once you’ve finished using it, here’s a complete tutorial on making your script bulletproof written by Joel Griffith.
As a safety measure, you can also specify a custom TTL of your browser by setting the &timeout flag to a number of milliseconds that your session will normally return in. The default timeout for connections is 15 minutes, i.e. 30 units, but if you’re sure your browser should not take longer than something like 1 minute, you can specify the timeout to 60000, limiting browsers to consume a maximum of 2 units, even when they do hang.

Is anything else changing?

Along with this, we are making updates to our Dedicated offering; consolidating the offering to a single size, which we are calling Standard (hint: there’s an Enterprise size out there, talk to sales). Standard is the same size of machine that we use for our Unit and Usage-based fleet, making any transitions from one to the other less risky and easier to compare. We made this change because customers were simply not having a good experience on the less powerful offerings. This is more simple and it means everyone will get great performance with Browserless!

More questions? Talk to us!

If you have any additional questions, or you would like to switch your account to one of our new plans, please reach out. Thanks!

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