Airship Pushing Us Overboard

So it’s been a seriously long time since we looked at APNS providing options, as it’s been the universal default for everyone we’ve worked with since to default to Urban Airship. And, generally, to be perfectly satisfied with their free level of service. Turns out they’ve had enough of us freeloaders:

We’ve discovered that we work best when we’re working closely with our customers to help them solve their problems and implement a mobile-first experience for their users with our complete solution. [Ed. – why, what a polite way to say “getting paid”!] Today, we’re taking some concrete steps toward crystallizing that focus by sunsetting our free Developer Edition product that offers a subset of the capabilities of our complete solution.

If you are using the Developer Edition offering, everything will remain the same for the next six-months until its retirement on December 31, 2014. Between now and then, Developer Edition users can either choose to establish a paid relationship with Urban Airship for access to our push-only product or our full solution suite, or migrate to an alternate solution…

Well, these days when less than half opt in to pushes at all, it’s pretty hard to make a case for that for most of our Airship usage. So let’s see what options there are in the “migrate to an alternate solution” space for the freeloading indie, shall we?

In the messaging-focused provider category:

Appoxeestarts at $500/month

Boxcar — 200 pushes per minute to 100 devices for free; goes up by ppm

Element Wave — unlimited to 5K users for free; trial-only for more

Moblico — trial accounts only

Push IO — trial accounts only

PushApps — 1M pushes to 100K devices from 5 apps for free; notably cheap unlimited plans

PushWizard — 30 messages to one app on unlimited devices for free; smorgasbord of paid additions

PushWoosh — unlimited pushes to 1M devices from 5 apps for free; tiered paid feature sets

TheAppSales — “a good size number” for free

XtremePush — unlimited pushes to 1M devices from 5 apps for free; tiered paid feature sets

In the cloud service space that provide messaging on the side:

Amazon SNS — 1M pushes for free; then $1/1M pushes

App42 — 1M pushes for free; tiered price plans

Asking Point — 3M pushes for free

Kinvey — 5M pushes for free; tiered price plans

mobDB — 600K pushes for free

Parse — 1M pushes for free

If there isn’t something there that suits your feature vs. price requirements adequately, there’s always rolling your own: By far the most popular on github, which we’ll take as sufficient proof of adequacy and not bother looking further, is

Redth/PushSharp: “A server-side library for sending Push Notifications to iOS (iPhone/iPad APNS), OSX (APNS 10.8+) Android (C2DM and GCM – Google Cloud Message), Chrome (GCM) Windows Phone, Windows 8, Blackberry (PAP), and Amazon (ADM) devices!”

but if you want more choice, hey there’s 412 following it thrown up for APNS on Github, go wild.

One last special mention of noodlewerk/NWPusher that lets you do your development with a local OS X application, which certainly would have expedited many of our past projects.

Think we managed to catch all the services currently worthy of short list consideration here; if we missed stumbling over your favourite, of If you have any positive or negative experiences with any of these to share, please do!


blommegard / APNS-Pusher is a nice simple app for sending individual pushes.

Alex | August 18, 2014
  • Mark Johnson August 18, 2014 at 10:29 pm
    PushWoosh customer, just re-upped to a higher paying tier due to growth. Why PushWoosh? Price, Features, Preformance, Support. We need push on demand and scheduled from a UI, we need push via a web services API, we need timezone and language support, we want to know the open rate, we want a way to test pushes, we want reasonable pricing at volume and predictable prices.
  • sylvain August 23, 2014 at 8:55 am
    We use Parse. Pretty happy with it. Works right away. We were using PushWoosh but quality was pretty poor (about a year ago). Support was also lacking.
  • Roie Akavia November 16, 2014 at 5:38 am
    I'm using I'm paying 20$ per month and get all the features that I need with unlimited messaging and devices. consider it as my recommendation.
  • Mike November 16, 2014 at 5:45 am
    Within the low cost range providers I am familiar with , they have a great value plan for $20 per month for unlimited push, and the integration is really easy and simple
  • Laci December 16, 2014 at 7:30 am
    PushWizard is the best. No "1st Million" limits or whatever, just register in 10 mins and send pushes. The number of messages you can send is limited, but for unlimited devices. Their package creator is just perfect. You pay for what you really need.

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