Heroku and New Relic
Most of my recent development has been hosted with Heroku. I really enjoy their service, but they certainly don't envision me as a practical customer. I host a few different sites that are lucky to get 500 monthly visits, such as this one. It's not that I don't want to pay for hosting, I just can't pay the $36 per month to host a full-time Heroku dyno.
New to hosting with Heroku
For those of you that may be new to hosting with Heroku. Heroku, offers a command-line option for hosting web applications, using the powers of git. Everything is sunshines and rainbows, except that with a free usage tier, they will shut down the app if it has not been accessed within the last half hour. Shutting down the server requires that the next poor visitor wait ~10-20 seconds before the page loads on the visit. So, I wan't people to visit these sites without getting frustrated.
New Relic is awesome
Now, of course I looked for the cheapest possible alternative and found New Relic. New Relic offers a feature called Availability Monitoring. This will ping your site every 20 seconds to check its availability. This circumvents the Heroku server shutdown, but what I found was so much greater. New Relic simply provides all the analytic feedback I never knew I needed. Page response times, database query times, and around-the-clock speed of your application. For example, if I didn't trust my Google Analytics that nobody was viewing my projects page of GeeryDev, New Relic can verify this through my database queries.
But best yet, in case one of websites has gone down, my best friend New Relic will send me an alert email within 20 seconds. Now, hopefully this is not something that I ever need to rely on, but it does seem comforting.
I try to validate my misuse of Heroku by thinking that they don't care, and when my websites begin to scale, I will be sure to start dishing out for multiple dynos. But I think the truth of it is... Heroku is a Salesforce.com company, and until I become an enterprise customer, they're not concerned with whatever beer money I'd be willing to throw their way for a low-cost alternative.