What is BaaS – Backend-as-a-Service?

What is BaaS – Backend-as-a-Service?
Backend as a Service BaaS or MBaaS

Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) is a cloud-based platform designed to streamline and automate backend development tasks.

It efficiently handles complex aspects of cloud infrastructure management, making it easier for developers to focus on creating applications.

By outsourcing server responsibilities, you can devote all your time to the frontend or client-side development. BaaS comes equipped with tools that can help you create backend code quickly.

With its ready-to-use features like scalable databases, APIs, serverless functions, social media integrations, file storage, and push notifications, you’ll be able to speed up the development process with ease.

Using BaaS means you can develop at lightning speed, cut engineering costs, and keep your focus on what matters most – your core business.

Key Takeaways

  • BaaS Simplifies Development: Streamlines backend processes, reducing coding effort.
  • Feature-rich and Scalable: Offers real-time updates, cloud storage, and scalability.
  • Efficiency vs. Customization: Balances rapid development with some loss of custom control.

What are the features of a backend as a service?

Are you curious about what features are typically included in a backend as a service? A backend as a service (BaaS) can provide your application with a multitude of features that can be deployed seamlessly.

Scalable BackendOffers both NoSQL and SQL options for flexible data management.
APIsSupports GraphQL and REST for versatile data access.
Cloud Code FunctionsEnables custom business logic execution in the cloud.
User AuthenticationProvides secure user sign-in capabilities.
Social IntegrationIntegrates with platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.
Email VerificationEnsures user authenticity through email validation.
Push NotificationsSends timely updates and alerts to users.
GeolocationOffers location-based services and functionalities.
Database GUIProvides a graphical interface for database management.
LogsRecords and stores application activities for review.
CDN and CacheEnhances content delivery and speeds up response times.
InfrastructureIncludes security, auto-scaling, data backup, DB optimization.

Let’s explore some of the most common features found in a BaaS:

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Backend as a Service

Using a BaaS platform can help you solve two important problems: managing and scaling your cloud infrastructure, as well as speeding up your backend development. 

The benefits of using a Backend as a Service can be categorized into both business and technical aspects. Here are a few major advantages of using a Backend as a Service:

  • Lightning-fast development speed that helps you get your app to market quickly and efficiently.
  • Reduced development price since BaaS services eliminate the need for developers to spend extra time creating backend systems from scratch.
  • Serverless architecture that frees you from the hassle of managing infrastructure, allowing you to focus on building a great app.

BaaS makes it easy to outsource your cloud management responsibilities, increase your productivity, and reduce your costs. For small to medium-sized businesses, these benefits can be particularly attractive.

Cost SavingsBusinessSave on backend/infrastructure engineer costs by outsourcing to a BaaS provider.
Fewer Developers NeededBusinessReduce backend developer headcount while maintaining productivity with BaaS.
Faster Time to MarketBusinessBaaS accelerates software delivery, seizing market opportunities quickly.
Outsource Cloud Infrastructure ManagementBusinessFocus on core development by offloading cloud infrastructure management to BaaS.
Simplified Cloud Infrastructure and ScalabilityTechnicalBaaS offers easy cloud setup and scalable solutions without server management hassle.
Focus on Frontend DevelopmentTechnicalFrontend developers can concentrate on UI/UX, as BaaS handles backend tasks.
Eliminates Redundant Stack SetupTechnicalBaaS removes the need for redundant server architecture, streamlining development.
No Need for Boilerplate CodeTechnicalUse BaaS pre-built modules and APIs for common tasks, enhancing development efficiency.
Standardized Coding EnvironmentTechnicalBaaS provides a consistent coding environment, easing team integration and understanding.
High-Value Code FocusTechnicalBackend developers can focus on critical, application-specific code with BaaS.
Ready-to-Use FeaturesTechnicalBaaS offers built-in functionalities like authentication and data storage.
Clone Apps and Testing EnvironmentsTechnicalBaaS enables app cloning and safe testing environments for various scenarios.
Focus on Business LogicTechnicalDevelopers can prioritize application business logic, improving quality and user experience.
Security and Backup ReadinessTechnicalBaaS provides built-in security and backup solutions, ensuring application reliability.

As with any technology, there are some downsides to using a BaaS. Here are a few potential disadvantages:

  • Limited flexibility, compared to custom coding, can make it difficult to implement certain features that require more control over the backend infrastructure.
  • Reduced ability to customize the backend since BaaS services often provide pre-built APIs and configurations that may not meet all of your app’s needs.
  • Vendor lock-in for closed source platforms, which can limit your ability to switch providers or make changes to the code if the BaaS vendor goes out of business or changes its terms of service.

When to use a backend as a service?

Are you wondering about the best scenarios for using a backend as a service? Here are some use cases where BaaS can come in handy:

  • Developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP): When building an MVP, the focus is on quickly creating a functional product that you can test with your target audience. Using a BaaS can help speed up development by providing pre-built backend features and services, allowing you to focus on building the front end.
  • Developing Stand-alone Apps with Few Integrations: If you need to develop a simple app that doesn’t require complex integrations, using a BaaS can be a cost-effective solution. By using a pre-built backend, you can avoid the time and expense of developing your own custom backend.
  • Enterprise Apps That Aren’t Mission-Critical: For enterprise apps that don’t require high levels of security or reliability, using a BaaS can be an efficient solution. It allows developers to focus on building business-specific features rather than managing infrastructure and maintenance.

Overall, using a BaaS can save time and resources, making it a smart choice for certain use cases.

Who should use a backend as a service?

A backend as a service (BaaS) platform is designed for app developers who want to speed up their development process and outsource low-value or repetitive tasks to a third party.

It is best suited for frontend engineers with limited knowledge in backend development and backend engineers who want to streamline their development process. 

Backend as a Service Real-Life Use Cases

While there are many types of projects that can benefit from using a BaaS, some common backend as a service examples include Real-time applications, transportation apps, social networks, games, etc.

Using a backend as a service to build a SaaS app – The 1001 Dubai Use Case

Meet 1001 Dubai, a mobile commerce provider creating apps for supermarkets and convenience stores in the Middle East.

With over 80,000 downloads and hundreds of clients, they distribute their app via the Software as a Service (SaaS) model.

To power their app’s backend architecture, they use a backend as a service. This means they don’t have a dedicated team to handle server operations as they’ve outsourced their entire infrastructure to a backend provider.

Scaling a backend to millions of users – Two4Tea Case Study

Two4Tea is a French mobile game development company that’s passionate about creating engaging games.

Their most successful game, called Fight List, is a trivia game that’s been downloaded over 55 million times across the globe.

With thousands of concurrent users playing Fight List in seven different languages, it’s safe to say that the game is a big hit.

However, Two4Tea needed to find a way to keep up with the growing number of users and ensure that the game remained fast and reliable.

By using a BaaS platform, they were able to scale up from just a few users to thousands of concurrent users quickly and efficiently.

This allowed them to keep the game running smoothly while also continuing to add new features and improvements over time.

Using a BaaS to build a marketplace and save costs – VantageBP Use Case

Meet VantageBP, the superhero SaaS company that helps brands fight against counterfeit products, identify sneaky resellers, and shut down unauthorized sales on over 100 online marketplaces.

Using BaaS has allowed VantageBP to speed up its product launch, validate its MVP much faster, and eliminate the need for a DevOps engineer, saving them more than $500k.

Their infrastructure can scale up automatically without any worries about downtime or pesky DevOps issues.

In the words of Joren Winge, VantageBP’s CTO:

The nice thing is that I don’t have to worry about uptime, scalability, or DevOps issues. Joren Winge, VantageBP CTO

What Frontend Technologies Can A BaaS Support?

So, what frontend technologies can a BaaS support? Generally, most BaaS providers are able to support a wide range of web and mobile frameworks, such as:

  • Web development frameworks like React, Vue, and Angular
  • Mobile development technologies like iOS Native (Swift or Objective-C) and Android Native
  • Cross-platform frameworks like React Native, Xamarin, Flutter, Kotlin, Ionic, Unity

Backend as a Service vs. Cloud Providers: What’s The Difference?

Backend as a Service (BaaS) and Cloud Providers offer different services that cater to different needs. We’ll cover the definitions first to make these concepts easier to understand.

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides the basic infrastructure such as servers, storage, networking, and virtualization.

IaaS providers like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure offer infrastructure resources that can be used to build and manage applications.

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides a platform for developers to build, deploy, and manage their applications.

PaaS providers like Heroku and Engine Yard offer a preconfigured environment that includes operating systems, web servers, and databases, making it easier to develop and deploy applications.

  • Backend as a Service (BaaS)

Backend as a Service (BaaS) is a type of cloud service that provides a complete backend solution for mobile and web applications.

BaaS providers like Back4App, Parse, and Firebase offer features such as user authentication, push notifications, file storage, and database management.

These services can save time and effort for developers who don’t want to spend time building their own backend infrastructure.

  • Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)

Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) is a type of BaaS that specifically caters to mobile app development.

MBaaS providers offer services that are optimized for mobile devices, such as offline data synchronization, native SDKs, and mobile-specific analytics.

MBaaS providers like Back4App, Parse, and Firebase offer pre-built backend services that can be easily integrated into mobile apps.

In summary, while IaaS and PaaS provide basic infrastructure and development platforms, respectively, BaaS and MBaaS offer pre-built backend services that can be used to quickly build and deploy applications.

IaaS vs PaaS vs BaaS Backend as a Service

BaaS vs. Custom Backend – What are the differences?

When building an app, you have two options: create a custom backend or use a BaaS framework. Here’s how they differ:

Custom Backend:

  • You build your backend from scratch and manage the infrastructure
  • Pros: provides flexibility and the customization options
  • Cons: higher development costs and longer time to market

BaaS (Backend as a Service):

  • Provides ready-to-use building blocks and code-generation tools
  • Pros: faster development process and reduced time to market
  • Cons: less flexibility and standardized architecture

Here are some examples to help illustrate the differences between custom coding and using a BaaS.

Example #1: Backend as a Service vs. AWS EC2 Instances

Imagine you want to build a new software project without using BaaS. Before you dive into developing the backend code, you need to set up the servers. Here are the steps:

  1. Log in to AWS or any other cloud.
  2. Go to Instances.
  3. Launch Instance.
  4. Select the Operating System, Instance Size, and Type.
  5. Configure Instance Details like the number of instances, Network, IP, Monitoring, and other settings like Auto Scaling, IAM, etc.
  6. Add Storage.
  7. Security Settings.

Now, your instance is up and running, but you still need to install the web server, database, framework, etc.

Once that’s done, you can start coding. This process can take a few hours to more than a day for large environments, depending on the skills of the backend developers.

However, if you use a backend as a service, the same process will take just a few clicks and a few minutes to set up.

Example #2: BaaS vs. Custom Coding Login Features

Picture this: You’ve set up your server and are ready to start building your application’s first feature. For example, that feature is a social login with Facebook.

Now, if you outsource the development to an offshore company, it’ll cost you $25 per hour and take around 16 hours to complete – bringing the total cost to $400.

But, if you opt for a BaaS (Backend as a Service), you can get the same feature implemented in less than an hour.

This means you’ll save 15 hours of development time and $375 and it’s a good deal for such a simple task!

Example 03 – GDPR security settings

GDPR privacy requirements are pretty complicated, and the The rules for GDPR privacy can be hard to understand, and it takes a lot of work to put them into action.

This includes things like making sure data is secure when it’s being sent over the internet and encrypting data that’s stored on servers.

Depending on how big and complicated the project is, it could take more than 100 hours to get everything done.

If you’re working on a small or medium-sized project, it might make sense to hire a backend as a service company to handle all of this.

They can spread out the cost of making sure everything is GDPR compliant across many different apps, so it won’t cost as much for each individual app.

But if you’re working on just one project, all of the costs will fall on that project. Even if it’s successful, it could take a long time to make up the money spent on making sure it’s GDPR compliant.

What Is The Backend as a Service Market Size?

The industry of Backend as a Service (BaaS) is growing rapidly, with the market predicted to increase from $2.8 billion in 2022 to around $27.9 billion in 2023, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of 23%.

This growth can be attributed to two main factors – the widespread use of mobile devices and BaaS’s ability to enhance mobile development productivity. Here is a list of the key players in this market.

Backend as a Service Providers

Here is a summary of the BaaS providers in 2023. For more information about each provider, please read the article Backend as a Service Providers – A Comprehensive Comparison.

NameHeadlineKey FeaturesPricing
Back4AppTop BaaS ProviderScalable DB, APIs, Notifications, AuthenticationFree, Paid starts at $15/month
ParseOpen-Source App FrameworkAPI Server, Dashboard, SSO, File StorageFree, hosting costs vary
FirebaseGoogle’s Comprehensive BaaSReal-time DB, Analytics, Hosting, Growth toolsFree tier, Paid as per use
CloudkitApple’s Backend PlatformNative SDK for iOS, iCloud authenticationFree and Pay as you go
BackendlessOnline and Local HostingUI Builder, Cache, 24/7 SupportFree tier, Paid starts at $15/month
AWS AmplifyServerless Integration with AWSAnalytics, AR/VR, APIs, CDNFree tier, Pay as you go
Azure MobileMicrosoft’s BaaS SolutionSecurity, Offline Sync, AD IntegrationsPay as you go
KiiBaaS for IoT and Mobile AppsData Management, User Management, NotificationsDetails not specified
8BaseWeb App PlatformServerless, Business Logic, GraphQL SupportStarts at $25/month
NHostServerless BaaSDB, API, Authentication, StorageFree, Paid starts at $25/month
SupabaseOpen-Source Firebase AlternativeDatabase, Instant API, Real-time SubscriptionsFree, Paid starts at $25/month
AppwriteOpen-Source Backend ServerDatabase, Security, FunctionsFree, self-hosted
KuzzleFeature-Packed PlatformReal-time DB, Geofencing, Admin ConsoleFree, Paid support starts at €500


In software development, applications have different components, such as a frontend, a backend, and APIs that connect them.

A backend as a service (BaaS), also known as mBaaS for mobile apps, is a cloud computing model that automates the development of backend code.

Along with this, BaaS providers are responsible for deploying, managing, and scaling applications.

The implementation of BaaS has many advantages, such as reducing the time to launch an app, lowering development costs, and outsourcing infrastructure management.

Some of the most common features of a BaaS include scalable databases, APIs, cloud code functions, notifications, and authentication.

BaaS platforms are often compared based on their pricing models, feature sets, and ease of use. Some of the most popular BaaS solutions include Firebase, Supabase, Appwrite, and Kuzzle.

Depending on your application’s specific needs, one of these options may be the best fit for you.

Regardless of your choice, there are plenty of options out there, so research and find the one that’s right for you.

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