Web Services I Use and Love

I use many services every day to get my job/life organized and completed. I thought that I’d make a list of the services I use and rely on day to day.

This blog is hosted at HostGator and in several years, we’ve never really had any problems. Their support is quick whenever I’ve posted a question or needed help. Their pricing is inexpensive, the service is robust and if you’re looking for an inexpensive shared host, I’d recommend them. (Affiliate link)

Amazon Web Services
From S3 to CloudFront to EC2, Amazon’s tools are well engrained in my daily workflow, whether its content delivery, backups or servers to test things.

Digital Ocean

This may be a company you haven’t heard of, but you will. They offer cloud-based servers starting at $5 a month – and all VPS’s use solid state drives for better speed. I’ve spun a few up to test and have been really pleased with their ease of use and speed. We’re running a new university service on one as a test. They have a free trial period if you want to try them out. Using the code SSDGEEK20 will get you a $20 credit, basically giving you 4 free months of service.

Oh, SendGrid, you make my life so easy. You take the headache out of managing transactional emails and we’re even transitioning to using SendGrid as part of our email marketing toolkit. I wrote about SendGrid here last year. (affiliate link, but they have a free plan you can use.)

There are many project management system, but Basecamp has worked really well for me. It’s been instrumental to us keeping track of our projects, especially since my promotion to creative director last year. Now, I’m keeping track of projects and both on and off-campus service providers, printers, and staff. It really has made life somewhat bearable. This is another product that I use at JCU and Gas Mark 8.

Higher Ed doesn’t pay what the private sector does, so if you’re like me, you do freelance work on the side. The part that was always the worst was invoicing and keeping track of who paid and who hadn’t. Freshbooks takes away all that pain, and it’s been fun to watch them continue to add new features that make life easier. They will email invoices or even snail mail them out for you with a return envelope included. I use it for my personal work (friends and family) and our web consultancy, Gas Mark 8. (affiliate link)

This has proven to be an invaluable tool in our day-to-day work, whether it’s easily sharing files, screenshots and more. I have it set to auto-upload screenshots I take (and I take a few every day) and copies the link for that drop for you so you just have to paste it into the browser, Twitter client or IM conversation and it’s there. It’s that simple. It’s not just for screenshots, however. You can drag any file to it and it knows what to do. I’m happy to pay a few bucks a month for this service.

If your inbox is anything like mine, its pure chaos. SaneBox learns your email habits to help you be more productive. I’ve tried it out for a few weeks and it’s been pretty interesting. You’ve got give them access to your inbox, so just be aware of that. (affiliate link)

Last, but not least, is Spotify. It’s technically a web service, but not like the other ones. I love music. I don’t like to be without it. I open this when I get to work in the morning and close it when I leave. I listen to it on the drive home and then on my laptop while I work into the evening.