One of the most common questions we, as a software development agency, get from our clients is, “Which backend as a service platform is the best to work with.” So, let’s look at two of the most popular Low-code Backend tools out there - Supabase and Xano to see how they compare against each other. Throughout 35+ projects we’ve done with both platforms, we have quite a lot of experience working with both Supabase and Xano, and this is our take on which one is better.
The first important thing to understand is the difference between the platforms from the perspective of what kind of projects or apps they were meant to be used for.
Xano is a great option for projects that need to be quickly set up and manage APIs without getting slowed down in extensive backend coding. It's perfect for projects where you want to build web or mobile apps that interact with databases but don't want to spend much time building the backend from scratch.
If you’re trying to build more complex solutions, they offer a wide range of extensions that help integrate third-party services.
Supabase is ideal for projects that require a robust and scalable backend without the traditional hustle of managing servers. It's a powerful solution for more complex applications that need real-time updates, detailed user authentication, and secure data storage.
A simplified explanation would be that Xano can be used for non-production and simple applications, whereas Supabase is better for more complex apps. We as the agency use Supabase in MVP stages as well because it also allows you to be quick with the development process.
Even though Xano in theory does not require any development knowledge, since it’s a pure no-code tool, the learning curve is still quite steep. To work with Xano, you have to have a basic understanding of software development principles; the only thing you don’t need to know is the actual code.
To be able to work with Xano, you’ll need to understand how APIs work and be familiar with data modelling. SQL knowledge also comes in handy, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
Supabase on the other hand, requires actual knowledge of backend development. For you to use Supabase, you’ll need some experience working with SQL, data modelling, and an understanding of authentication concepts. You also need to know your way around real-time communication, WebSockets, serverless architecture, and hosting services.
Even if you are not a backend developer, with the help of AI tools such as ChatGPT, if you understand how to structure the database and how APIs work, you would probably be able to set up your Supabase project, even without knowing SQL or Typescript.
Let’s compare the two from the perspective of features included in the solution.
Xano’s main feature that Supabase does not have is the full no-code approach, which can be useful for beginners just starting software development. Pretty much in all other departments, Supabase is better.
Supabase also has many features that you can do without coding directly in the dashboard, but for more detailed development, you’ll most definitely need to write code.
Supabase has a better built-in authentication system. They can connect with a custom SMTP server to send emails to users to verify them or reset their passwords. Xano has similar features, but you must use third-party extensions, which can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.
Supabase offers real-time database subscriptions, which Xano does not have. This lets your app instantly receive updates when data changes in the database, enabling real-time features like notifications and live feeds.
They both provide self-hosting plans.
When building an app, you also need to think about the future if for example your app pops off and you need to scale it.
While the raw scalability relies on the proper application architecture, efficient database design, and actual implementation of both solutions in your app, in our opinion, Supabase is the better solution if you need a robust, scalable, and efficient solution.
Based on the actual usage of both backends in the apps that we developed, we often see that Supabase performs better with more users on the app.
In the end, the backend is only one part of your app, so let’s take a look at how each solution integrates with other platforms such as FlutterFlow or Draftbit.
Overall, both platforms integrate quite nicely, as they want to co-exist with their complimentary front-end solutions. Many of them have built-in integrations, but we see more of this with Xano and complimentary no-code frontend tools, such as Bravo studio. This is obvious because it makes sense for them to work with one another to allow people with no development knowledge to build simple projects.
Still, in our opinion, with platforms such as FlutterFlow, which are a bit more complex to work with, Supabase integrations have been a bit smoother.
Overall, keep in mind, that all these solutions strive to be co-existent, which makes them easily integrated with one another.
When it comes to security, both are definitely safe. While Xano has more security certifications, you can restrict the user's access to data much more in Supabase with row-level security. In general, the safety of your data relies also on the pure implementation of security measures.
Let’s not forget one important part of your decision about which platform to choose - what costs does each platform bring?
Supabase’s PRO plan for $25 per month is in 95% of cases enough for you to scale the app to tens of thousands of users. This is quite literally insane. You’ll also get most of the features that you’ll ever need.
For the fancier stuff, you’ll have to pay $599 per month, which is still very reasonable, considering that you won’t switch to the Teams plan until you have actually scaled the app and started to make some money out of it. Supabase charges you additionally for file storage, but still, it won’t break your bank.
Xano, on the other hand, is a bit pricier. For many of our clients, the Launch plan, which stands at $59 per month, wasn’t enough, so they had to purchase the $199 per month plan. That’s almost 8 times more than Supabase’s PRO plan.
On the enterprise level, which is compared to Supabase’s team plan, the prices are disclosed, but in any case, it doesn’t make sense to have Xano as your go-to backend solution once you have scaled that much.
In the end, it’s totally up to you and your needs. If you are building a quick prototype or a simple MVP and have little to no backend experience, then Xano is the tool to go with.
But in our opinion, for anything else, Supabase wins. We’ve worked with both and in most cases, our clients have been more satisfied with Supabase.