PSA: Large databases DO cost additional WU (edit, turns out they don’t)

Okay, I’m really quite annoyed about this.

Here’s Bubble’s WU calculation chart:

Given this, the volume of data in the database should NOT affect WU. A search to return a Thing should cost 0.3 WU for the search (assuming no data returned) whether there’s 100 or 1,000,000 Things in a table. Turns out, this is FALSE.

The docs now say:

  • The volume of data in your database affects the consumption. More data means more to search through, giving the server more work to do.

How much does it cost? NOBODY KNOWS. We’re literally being charged WU for things that Bubble hasn’t said should cost anything (according to their own ‘what contributes to workload’ page), and we don’t even know how it’s calculated.

It’s really quite incredible. I’ve been posting replies on this forum saying ‘yeah DB size doesn’t affect WU’ but it turns out I’m flat out wrong, because this isn’t documented. I only discovered this after contacting support to find out why a Schedule API workflow (not on list) action costed 1,900 WU, when it should’ve costed about 20. You can read my calculations here. Now, it seems that Bubble is charging me about 1,800 WU just to search my database to populate a parameter in my schedule API workflow action?!

Is this a WU moan post? Probably, yeah, because Bubble can’t even answer how this ‘database volume’ and ‘search complexity’ are calculated. If you’re going to charge me for it, how can you not tell me how you’re going to calculate it?

Come on Bubble.


flagged to the team :+1:


Yeah, there are hidden costs on WUs, so the statements of wanting full transparency are not backed up with actions. It’s been more than 12 months since they released the WU pricing and in that time, they seemingly still have yet to get all engineers to sit down and list out fully ALL that contributes to WUs so that they can document it and publicize it, so that developers can have a complete understanding of how to build as effectively as possible within this new era of WU.

This is part of why I am focusing my attention on ways to either use a 3rd party backend or use JSON throughout my apps.

It just doesn’t make sense why there has not been any updates to these documents even as users are reporting to support issues around WUs that uncover undocumented costs, or users asking questions regarding whether or not something undocumented does in fact cost WUs.

Unfortunately, just another feather in the cap for Bubble doing things to cause the faithful to lose faith.


@petter more specific numbers on ‘database volume’ and ‘search complexity’ would be welcome in the docs if you can find out how they’re calculated :sweat_smile:


The crazy part is… they wrote the code to calculate WUs and someone made the algorithm. So someone (or multiple people) at bubble know exactly how this works

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There’s so much thing that doesn’t work with that and we have no answer. Another example:
Why the workflow cost me 1.10 WU while the action (and the only thing that should cost WU) cost 0.6 (that is also high but probably rounded up, but this kind of operation should be cheaper… but that’s another question). Where my 0.5 used WU for this workflow goes? No idea… The trigger shouldn’t be charged because it’s client side…


0.5 WU used to track and measure the WU used :joy: Like using pencils to write down your pencil usage


you are tipping Bubble engine for its work :grinning:


0.6 WU server side workflow action and 0.5 WU make changes to thing (current user) I guess? But that doesn’t align with the logs?

This is a page workflow. No backend involved. Only one action: make change to current user. Done when an dropdown value is updated. So I don’t see any reason for that.


Meh can’t really consider it a moan, it’s totally valid concerns, at some bubble has to realize that only disclosing certain parts of their pricing isn’t acceptable. It happened recently with slugs as well.

If they’re going to charge on a proprietary model that can’t be calculated by the user and reliant on undisclosed information about how their backend works it’s only going to be a matter of time until lawsuits or class actions start.

Bubbles valuation is between $400m-1B they aren’t playing in the small leagues anymore. They have tens of thousands of paying clients with hundreds of millions of combined users of those apps. It’s not a matter of IF but when it will happen with this sort of pricing model where things are incorrectly portrayed and aren’t documented or disclosed.

New pricing bugs or incorrectly portrayed pricing has been a near weekly subject since launch over a year ago. I’m dreading all my own apps and client apps being moved over in October.


WU is a scam. Tell me I’m wrong. Ever since it came out, have only used custom backends and never looked back.

Context: When I can run a full-fledged app with 1000’s of users for FREE x1000, why in the heck would I deal with this? Hehe. (x1000 = as many apps as I want)


@fede.bubble just wanna to draw your attention to this thread.
We have less than 6 months until all apps on legacy pre-WU plans will be forcibly transferred to the WUnderland.

We’ve been asking Bubble for full breakdown about WU consumption for each action for a year. As you can see even highly experienced Bubble veterans communicating in this thread can’t understand why and how much Bubble charges for something that isn’t described in the manual. Developers are looking for some workarounds like using 3rd-party services (like Xano and others) or even moving their/clients apps to other platforms. That’s not a good signal for Bubble, let’s be honest…


Thanks, yeah. I saw it. I shared with the team earlier.

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This is 100% true. I have not ever referred other services or even really worked outside of Bubble as much before the WU came a thing. Now, most of my clients don’t even use Bubble, and most of my other clients are Hybrids (due to immense WU throttling which made 0 sense cause I was able to ran all most backend stuff for free on another platform).

Now I’m not saying using my other platform is making all my apps free without some sort of usage rate, but I can guarantee it’s literally a decimal fraction compared to what Bubble is doing. Especially a page load? Like WTF Bubble. Lol.

You guys’ have been prompting me to make external front-ends for basically all my clients cause your SEO is absolutely terrible, and the page load speeds on a basic front-end type app is dire. When I’m able to use other no-code tools, or frameworks to achieve much faster load speeds with ease, then I know there is something going on. You guys should focus on your compiler or something. This has prompted me to release a new service where Bubble users can generate front-ends with a much cleaner and faster front-end than Bubble could ever achieve. I’m sure you guys will focus on this stuff after your AI, so no worries.

This is my WIP that can host any data statically with 0 load-speed, has better SEO, and can build any type of collection (similar to Webflow).

Your option sets should provide the same thing, but when you guys limit what we can do before the page loads, nothing will beat this.


I offer this service. :rofl:

Coincidentally, I also direct folks towards bubble a lot too.

Not all apps are as strongly affected by Wu. That said, many truly are and aren’t profitable enough or funded enough to go dedicated. Wu is such an arbitrary calculation. How about db size, compute seconds, and allotted ram. Would really simplify things.

These are actual values, not hard to understand values that are not clear, like Wu.


Which platform are you using?

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If you want to know shoot me a DM! I don’t want to start advertising other apps and start another “alternative frenzy” again.


@georgecollier could it be the amount of returned data that made up the bulk of the cost since the search did return 1.2k results.

Not defending WU since I too hate magical numbers but just trying to figure this out until Bubble (if they even will) can provide an answer.

Hi @georgecollier and others,

This one’s totally on me: you are correct that the total volume of the database does not incur a higher WU cost. As such the User Manual is currently not describing this correctly. This is due to an error on my part, and I apologize for the confusion it caused.

It’s being updated as we speak, and I’ll also be looking into how we can avoid stuff like this making it through the review process in the future; obviously errors like this should not make it to publishing. Thanks for pointing it out.

Lastly, a quick reminder that I’m speaking as a member of the community who works on a contract basis with Bubble, not as an official Bubble representative.