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What is Zero

Zero is an open source tool which makes it quick and easy for startup technical founders and developers to build everything they need to launch and grow high-quality SaaS applications faster and more cost-effectively.

Zero sets up everything you need so you can immediately start building your product.

Zero was created by Commit.

Why is Zero good for startups

As a technical founder or the first technical hire at a startup, your sole focus is to build the logic for your application and get it into customers’ hands as quickly and reliably as possible. Yet you immediately face multiple hurdles before even writing the first line of code. You’re forced to make many tech trade-offs, leading to decision fatigue. You waste countless hours building boilerplate SaaS features not adding direct value to your customers. You spend precious time picking up unfamiliar tech, make wrong choices that result in costly refactoring or rebuilding in the future, and are unaware of tools and best practices that would speed up your product iteration.

Zero was built by a team of engineers with many years of experience in building and scaling startups. We have faced all the problems you will and want to provide a way for new startups to avoid all those pitfalls. We also want to help you learn about the tech choices we made so your team can become proficient in some of the great tools we have included. The system you get starts small but allows you to scale well into the future when you need to.

Everything built by Zero is yours. After using Zero to generate your infrastructure, backend, and frontend, all the code is checked into your source control repositories and becomes the basis for your new system. We provide constant updates and new modules that you can pull in on an ongoing basis, but you can also feel free to customize as much as you like with no strings attached. If you do happen to make a change to core functionality and feel like contributing it back to the project, we'd love that too!

It's easy to get started, the only thing you'll need is an AWS account. Just enter your AWS CLI tokens or choose your existing profile during the setup process and everything is built for you automatically using infrastructure-as-code so you can see exactly what's happening and easily modify it if necessary.

Read about the day-to-day experience of using a system set up using Zero

Why is Zero Reliable, Scalable, Performant, and Secure

Reliability: Your infrastructure will be set up in multiple availability zones making it highly available and fault tolerant. All production workloads will run with multiple instances by default, using AWS ELB and Nginx to load balance traffic. All infrastructure is represented with code using HashiCorp Terraform so your environments are reproducible, auditable, and easy to configure.

Scalability: Your services will be running in Kubernetes, with the EKS nodes running in an AWS Auto Scaling Group. Both the application workloads and cluster size are ready to scale whenever the need arises. Your frontend assets will be stored in S3 and served from AWS' Cloudfront CDN which operates at global scale.

Security: Properly configured access-control to resources/security groups, using secret storage systems (AWS Secret Manager, Kubernetes secrets), and following best practices provides great security out of the box. Our practices are built on top of multiple security audits and penetration tests. Automatic certificate management using Let's Encrypt, database encryption, VPN support, and more means your traffic will always be encrypted. Built-in application features like user authentication help you bullet-proof your application by using existing, tested tools rather than reinventing the wheel when it comes to features like user management and auth.

What do you get out of the box?

Read about why we made these technology choices and where they are most applicable.

Check out some resources for learning more about these technologies.


  • Fully configured infrastructure-as-code AWS environment including:
    • VPCs per environment (staging, production) with pre-configured subnets, security groups, etc.
    • EKS Kubernetes cluster per environment, pre-configured with helpful tools like cert-manager, external-dns, nginx-ingress-controller
    • RDS database for your application (Postgres or MySQL)
    • S3 buckets and Cloudfront distributions to serve your assets
  • Logging and Metrics collected automatically using either Cloudwatch or Prometheus + Grafana, Elasticsearch + Kibana
  • VPN using Wireguard (Optional)
  • User management and Identity / Access Proxy using Ory Kratos and Oathkeeper (Optional)
  • Tooling to make it easy to set up secure access for your dev team
  • Local/Cloud Hybrid developer environment using Telepresence (Optional)


  • Golang or Node.js example project automatically set up, Dockerized, and deployed to your new Kubernetes cluster
  • CI pipeline built with CircleCI or GitHub Actions. Just merge a PR and a deploy will start. Your code will be built and tested, deployed to staging, then prompt you to push to production
  • File upload / download support using signed Cloudfront URLs (Optional)
  • Email support using SendGrid or AWS SES (Optional)
  • Notification support for sending and receiving messages in your application (web, mobile, SMS, Email, etc.) (Optional) (In Progress)
  • User management integration with Kratos and Oathkeeper - No need to handle login, signup, authentication yourself (Optional)


  • React example project automatically set up, deployed and served securely to your customers
  • CI pipeline built with CircleCI or GitHub Actions. Just merge a PR and a deploy will start. Your code will be built and tested, deployed to staging, then prompt you to push to production
  • File upload / download support using signed Cloudfront URLs (Optional)
  • User management integration with Kratos - Just style the example login / signup flow to look the way you want (Optional)
  • Static site example project using Gatsby to easily make a landing page, also set up with a CI Pipeline using CircleCI (Optional)

Getting Started

See the getting started guide at the Zero docs site.

Building blocks of Zero

Project Definition:

Each project is defined by this project definition file, this manifest contains your project details, and is the source of truth for the templating(zero create) and provision(zero apply) steps.

See zero-project.yml reference for details.

Module Definition

Module definition defines the information needed for the module to run (zero apply). Also declares dependency used to determine the order of execution with other modules.

See zero-module.yml reference for details.

Zero Default Stack

System Architecture Diagram

The core zero modules currently available are:

Project URL
AWS Infrastructure
Backend (Go)
Backend (Node.js)
Frontend (React)
Static Site (Gatsby)

Contributing to Zero

Zero welcomes collaboration from the community; you can open new issues in our GitHub repo, Submit PRs' for bug fixes or browse through the tickets currently open to see what you can contribute too.

We use Zenhub to show us the entire project across all repositories, so if you are interested in seeing that or participating, you can can check out our workspace

Building the tool

$ git clone
$ cd zero && make build

Running the tool locally

To install the CLI into your GOPATH and test it, run:

$ make install-go
$ zero --help

Releasing a new version on GitHub and Brew

We are using a tool called goreleaser which you can get from brew if you're on MacOS: brew install goreleaser

After you have the tool, you can follow these steps:

export GITHUB_TOKEN=<your token with access to write to the zero repo>
git tag -s -a <version number like v0.0.1> -m "Some message about this release"
git push origin <version number>
goreleaser release

This will create a new release in GitHub and automatically collect all the commits since the last release into a changelog. It will also build binaries for various OSes and attach them to the release and push them to brew. The configuration for goreleaser is in .goreleaser.yml


Why is my deployed application not yet accessible?

  • It takes about 20 - 35 mins for your deployed application to be globally available through AWS CloudFront CDN.