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Exploring Supabase, the Open Source Backend for Developers

· 4 min read
Bekah Hawrot Weigel
Developer Experience Lead

Today is day 26 of my 29 Days of Open Source Alternatives series, where I'll be exploring open source alternatives to proprietary software in the categories of Game Development and Multimedia, Development Tools and Platforms, Productivity and Collaboration Tools, and more. If you'd like to see the list of the open source alternatives I'll be covering this month, head over to my 29 Days of Open Source Alts Page.

If your skillset is in front-end but you need to implement a backend for your project, there are a lot of options out there. But are they all equal? Do they have a good developer experience? Do they have the features you need, including database integration, user authentication, data updates, and secure file storage solutions? Are they transparent about the project development? By default of its open source status, Supabase has all of those things. But how does it compare to the other proprietary solutions?

Traditional BaaS (Backend as a Service) products are often limited, and there can be concerns with proprietary platforms around transparency, customization, and cost efficiency. As an open source project, Supabase allows you to see its codebase, and you have the opportunity to customize the project in the ways that work for you. They also have clear pricing guidelines, with a free tier that allows you to test it out.


  • Managed Postgres Database: Provides a scalable relational database with Postgres.
  • User Authentication: Support for email, social logins, and magic links, in addition to customizable options.
  • Real-time Updates: Subscriptions and serverless functions allow for real-time data synchronization for dynamic applications.
  • File Storage: Secure file uploads with CDN scaling for efficient content delivery.
  • Intuitive API & Console: Well-documented API and user-friendly management console allow for an effient workflow.

Comparison with Proprietary Solutions

FeatureSupabaseFirebaseAWS AmplifyAzure Cosmos DB
Open SourceYesNoLimitedNo
PricingTransparent, pay-as-you-goFree tier, per-usage costsFree tier, per-usage costsPer-usage costs
DatabasePostgres (relational), Supabase Realtime supportFirebase Realtime Database: A NoSQL JSON DatabaseAmazon DynamoDB (NoSQL) and Amazon Aurora Serverless (relational)Cosmos DB (multi-model database service)
AuthenticationBuilt-inBuilt-inBuilt-inIntegrates with Azure AD

Open Source Strengths

Because transparency can be really important when choosing your backend as a service, checking out the Supabase repository is necessary. We see a lot of healthy levels of contribution and collaboration. The team is very efficient at getting their issues closed and pull requests merged in. Likewise, they have a good star:fork ratio, meaning that people aren't just watching the project, they're contributing to make it better.

Supabase dashboard

If we zoom into the community, we see consistent contributions from a variety of people over the last thirty days. It's great to see a well-distributed contribution chart, to reassure users that Supabase is widely supported.

Contributor graph

Supabase also offers thorough documentation, tutorials, and an active community.


Supabase appeals to a wide audience, including personal projects, start-ups, and companies. If you're interested in using Supabase, but you're not convinced, tracking its open source contributions might help to convince you of its dependability.

We'd love to hear your stories of using Supabase. Share your experiences in the comments below.

We're coming to the end of our series this week. If you want to hear more about what I learned writing 29 posts on open source alternatives this month, sign up for our newsletter where I'll share my takeaways.