Zapier alternatives

Zapier’s price hike is painful. I had a few clients running on the $50/mo plan and Zapier’s decided they need to be upgraded to $300/mo. That’s a big jump, and I not ok with that.

Just curious what alternatives everyone is using.
I currently use-

  • n8n, fantastic at complex logic flows, highly programmable, limited pre-built integrations
  • Pipedream, best I’ve found at programming, has full node support, I’ve built in-house APIs on it. Limited pre-built integrations
  • Make.com, shows tons of integrations, but many aren’t actually developed. A good example is Google My Business reviews, which I have a number of automations that automatically pull those into the CMS. There’s no support for auth, you have to provision the API through Google cloud services manually. Love the pricing though, and decent UX. @ChrisDrit I know this is your fav platform, have the DDoS outages been resolved?

Ideally, my wishlist is reasonable pricing, branching logic, good programming support ( javascript, node, python, c# are all good ) and a decent array of pre-built integrations for quick automations, specifically;

  • Google drive
  • Google docs ( retrieve content and transform to email-compatible HTML )
  • Google my business reviews
  • Mailjet
  • Pipedrive ( CRM )
  • Nutshell ( CRM )
  • Salesforce
  • Webflow, ideally, but can do direct APIs for that, I know its API well
  • Webhooks, with the ability to deliver a custom response

Outages

Yea, they had an attack on the new Make platform, the Integromat side of things wasn’t hit as far I know. It didn’t last too long.

It happens to the best of us, par-for-the-course.

The biggest & most painfully long issue with them was not the attack but the outage with their Webflow module.

It’s hard to know if that was on Webflow’s end (totally could have been) or Make’s end, or both. Nobody is talking, at least to me.

But that lasted for a full 1 month.

I didn’t even notice it until my email inbox got flooded with folks telling me about it.

Why?

Because my live, production sites were not effected. I wasn’t using Webflow with the built-in Webflow module. I usually make the raw connections.

Make (Integromat) is for Advanced Uses

With Make, there traditionally hasn’t been a good reason to (mostly) rely upon the built-in modules for a 3rd party service.

Instead, the winning approach has been to use their raw connection modules for ingoing and outgoing requests. Not for everything, but many things.

At a hight level, that would be HTTP and Webhooks (though it get’s more nuanced than just that).

Also, recent updates to Make turn many of their built-in modules into Webhooks so a line is beginning to get blurred.

Technical Users

Make just isn’t well suited for non-technical beginners.

Technical is NOT defined as those of us who know how to write scripts or engineer large scale software. So being technical and not an absolute beginner covers a wide swath.

Zapier is for Non-Technical Beginners

Sure it has a few advanced features that are easier for technical minded folks to grok.

But…

If someone wants to stay in the non-technical, beginner category (and there is 100% absolutely nothing wrong with that in any way whatsoever) then you have to pay the high tax for saving your own time + effort to skill up.

And that makes sense for a lot of people.

Focusing on your job as an employee. Focusing on driving revenue as a founder. And so on…

Some options:

Try services like:

Regardless of the platform, you’ll always have issues with the pre-built integrations.

Always.

  • They break.
  • They become abandoned.
  • They don’t get fixed fast enough.
  • They don’t fully support the latest API released.
  • They don’t fully support the APIs they do implement.
  • The service has no desire to make those updates (even though they claim they do).

So on, and so on, and so on…

This is why dire hard software engineers (mostly) hate, dare I say despise “no code”.

Lack of control.

And this why non-software engineers (mostly) hate, dare I say despise the thought of “hey! just learning how to code!”.

Difficult. Time consuming. The drawbacks outweigh the benefits.

You can mitigate these issues, to some degree, by paying for the higher priced services (a.k.a. Zapier).

It genuinely takes a lot of work hours to maintain and update those integrations - even if you do offset that to the 3rd party service to create.

But then you rely upon individual 3rd party services themselves to keep their own integration up-to-date and in working order. See above for examples of that not working.

But even the high priced Zapier it’s frustrating with their lack of support for Webflow, along with many others. I can count by number of years I’ve been waiting on Zapier to update some basic Webflow integrations.

Simple fact: They won’t.

You have to weigh the costs & benefits of going:

  • Full custom
  • Full hand holding
  • Something in-between

…and that’ll be different for most everyone.

Maybe someone else can chime in with the exact service that meets your specific needs, though.

:man_shrugging:

@ChrisDrit - Thank you for taking the time to provide an informative and detailed response. You have been accommodating in the forums for people seeking assistance in this area. Kudos to you!

I’m not too fond of building systems bridged together with tools that can break and leave you stranded with nowhere to turn. At least with code, you can throw engineering resources into the problem and have control. Sure, it can cost more, but what is the cost of being out of commission for a month or more with no party owning up to the problem? The chain is only as good as the weakest link. Something project shareholders need to consider carefully.

A few more alternatives that are much more developer centric, open source, can be be self-hosted, and just generally look interesting:

1 Like

Phenomenal. Have you tried any of these?

This is one of my favorite things about n8n, I host my own instance, which lowers cost and frees me from forced upgrades and non-negotiable hosting rate hikes.

I’ve been weighing that, and used to do a build-before-buy, even on our web farm. Webflow was my first big transition to 3rd party tools and hosting environments.

One of the interesting things I’ve found difficult about going back to that approach is that there are a handful of services I’ve come to rely on that use invite-only Google APIs. Google’s built Zapier plug-ins for them, but I can’t access them directly without going through a lengthy contractual gating process for each client individually. Need to rethink some retooling.

That said, I’m using Netlify’s serverless functions a lot more, and building some frameworks on Amazon that are a solid step in this direction. Phenomenally better margins too, if you build it right… like pennies per month. Our first hosting bill just came through at $0.00.

It does make a strong case for this strategy.

I’d like to add Relay.app as another alternative to Zapier. (disclaimer I’m an Engineer there)

  • Pricing: we have very attractive and predicable pricing (this is a comparison with Zapier)

  • Branching logic: we offer “Paths” as a way to set up either simple branching logic or complex logic that lets you leverage AI (e.g. choose this path if the (above) email was a promotional email)

  • Integrations: we have many integrations and we are constantly building more! (Just last month we added 90 new integrations!)

  • Programming support: while we don’t have support to add your own code, our hope is that 1) our product is easy and flexible to use which hopefully removes some of the need for custom code 2) we support both incoming and outgoing webhooks to fill in some of the gaps

  • Customer support: this wasn’t on the original wishlist but if I may say so myself, we have phenomenal customer support. If you want to test this out, just send us an email at support@relay.app :smiley:

  • Additional features: many of our customers also love these features 1) letting users to do approvals/reviews when appropriate (e.g. double check on a document before sending it out) 2) use our built-in AI functionalities to do extract/summarize/generate operations at no extra costs.

A lot of great points were made in this post! Like Zapier, Relay.app is also targeting non-programmers. We are extremely focused on our users and we deliver new integrations with high velocity. We just finished adding a bunch of integrations for Webflow, many of which Zapier don’t have.

If there is something that you’d like us to add, just email us at support@relay.app, and we’ll get back to you within the same day!