Best Heroku Alternatives in 2021

heroku alternatives

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In the past, businesses had to have both hardware and software infrastructure to develop, test, and launch ???? an app or program. This meant huge servers and computers to implement their solution. Nowadays, the emergence of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) like Heroku helps minimize the hardships of deploying a new program. Although Heroku does provide great service for many IT professionals, businesses can use other better alternatives too.

Introduction to PaaS

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a third-party platform that provides software and hardware tools over the web for application development. There is no need for companies and businesses to build their own IT infrastructure and store components in their servers as the service hosts the software and hardware. And speaking of hosting, if you’re interested in podcast hosting sites, check out this article

Best Alternatives to Heroku

Heroku is established in the IT world as one of the biggest and most popular PaaS, although it is rapidly losing a big market share as many similar services with better offerings have popped up ????. Why is this? The rising costs, latency, lack of language support, and unorganized documentation are just some of the concerns with the service. 

The creator economy has enabled new players to offer services with better features and reliability. So, what are the cheaper and better alternatives to Heroku? Read on to know more.

Firebase – With Free Tier 

As the first on this list, Firebase is a good alternative to Heroku due to its immense advantages and features for developers looking to make building apps easier. Many IT professionals have already switched to the service. So what are you waiting for?

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Fast and real-time updatesLock-in period
Google Analytics and AdSense are supportedNo simple way to add “Cloud Code”
Offers flexible APIs with the ability to support across different devices, languages, and frameworksNo custom permissions
Not designed for collaborative workflows
Limited file support


The platform offers a free plan for up to 100 simultaneous connections. For the paid plans, it has a pay-as-you-go model. Check out this price calculator to compute your specific requirements. 

Back4app – With Free Tier

Offering a lot of features you can’t find in Heroku, Back4app is one of the best open-source services you can find. ???? You’ll be back4more.

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Cheaper with a generous free planLacking documentation
Useful scalable database that includes multiple APIs such as GraphQL API and REST APIUser interface not standardized
Other features such as Cloud Code, Push, and Email Notifications, and Authentication
Faster deployment speed compare to Heroku
No vendor lock-in
Easy and smooth migration from Parse
Open-source software with a larger development community
Secure and accessible data with an automated backup system
Dedicated team for product support and improvements
Architecture designed with product improvement, performance, and productivity in mind


A free plan is available. The paid plan is flexible, starting at $5 a month, the average cost of a Starbucks drink.

Microsoft Azure – With Free Tier

Microsoft Azure, developed by Microsoft, uses virtualization technology, allowing you to emulate CPU functions but on a massive scale. That’s huge. ????

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Fully managed service with built-in infrastructure maintenance, security, patching, and scalingWill need a DevOps to manage your data effectively as Azure doesn’t have the means to manage it
Allows you to connect with Azure App Service with more than a hundred actions to automate and build your apps fasterSpeed due to limited coverage area
Integrate with virtual networks easily with rigorous security


For the free tier, you get a $200 credit on the first month. The paid plan’s prices start at $13 a month and can get higher depending on the features you avail.

Google App Engine – Free Tier Available

If scalability is your concern, then Google App Engine is the service for you. It is another good alternative to Heroku that can enable your app to go big in the future.

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Fully managed serviceLock-in period
Open, flexible, and compatible with most popular programming languagesNo standard SQL DB (database)
Intuitive user interfaceSudden downtimes
Take advantage of Google’s expertise in running big systems and have access to immense data resources for reporting and analytics
Apps are easy to create and maintain


Google offers pricing structures: Standard and Flexible. The service also offers a free tier up to a certain quota. To check the damage, go to this pricing calculator.

Kubernetes or Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) – Free Tier Available

Made for containerized applications, Kubernetes or Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is a powerful tool ⚒️ for building and scaling apps. It is backed by Google and is considered a good alternative to Heroku.

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No lock-inDifficult to set up and configure
Backed by Google and Red HatNot for newbies
Logging and monitoring tools available
Scale easily based on CPU utilization and other factors
Large user base with more than 50,000 commits


A free plan is available, which provides $74.40 in monthly credits. For the paid plan, it starts with a cluster management fee of $0.10 per hour. Check this out to estimate the pricing for your specific needs.

AWS Elastic Beanstalk – Free

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Beanstalk offers features not found in Heroku. This is already starting well. The service is designed with developers in mind.

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FreeUnreliable due to failed deployments
Fast as configuration and setup are  automated Slow deployment speed
Wide range of programming languages are supported like Java, .NET, PHP, Node.js, and Python among othersStack upgrades are done with no information on what has changed
More flexible and powerful than Heroku
Customize almost everything from DBs to security files


Elastic Beanstalk is free. You only pay for AWS resources like Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Cloud Storage (S3).

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) – Free Tier Available

Another PaaS from Amazon, Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is commonly used by IT professionals. It is a great hosting service and provides tools for cloud ☁️ computing.

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Cheaper than HerokuConfusing billing
Easily expand or reduce capacity in minutesEnterprise-grade support isn’t offered
Wide coverage mean less latencySteep learning curve for adapting to the system
Entire ecosystem of Amazon is present for services and supportCross-region communication is unavailable


The AWS EC2 free plan includes 750 hours of usage each month for a year. The platform offers different paid plans: On-Demand, Spot instances, Savings, Dedicated Hosts, and Per Second Billing. Go here for the pricing calculator.

Dokku – Paid

Ease of use is an aspect that is important when choosing a service, and Dokku definitely meets this criterion. It even has step-by-step instructions on how to install the platform. 

Open-source container system for deploymentHard remote access as compared to Heroku
Users can efficiently perform remote server deploymentsUpgrades can get obstructed
Restrictions on Heroku for developers aren’t imposed on DokkuDocumentation needs to be improved
Utilizes Easy Git Deploy, which allows you to push Heroku-compatible appsDoesn’t work across hosts
Affordable paid plan


The price starts at $5 a month through a digital Ocean Plan. That’s cheap.

Engine Yard – Free Tier Available

✊ If your IT team’s expertise is Ruby on Rails, Engine Yard is the service for your business. It was founded in California last 2006.

Constant security updatesDifficulty embracing new AWS features
Ability to replicate environments smoothly for testingSecurity groups need to be improved
24/7 support
Scale horizontally or vertically
Fast deployment


The platform offers a free plan. For the paid plan, pricing starts at $25 under the Pay-as-you-go model. Check this out for more details on pricing.

OpenShift – Free Tier Available

Another open-source platform, OpenShift, is Kubernetes-based and run by Red Hat. It was released in 2011.

Can innovate and go to market fasterHard to understand logs
Developers can focus on designing and testing applicationsSteep learning curve
Scalability and extensibility capabilities
No vendor lock-in
Enables DevOps and department-wide collaboration through containerization


A free plan is available. For the paid plan, the price starts at $50 a month per region.

Netlify – Free Tier Available

Packed with integrated tools and customizable add-ons, Netlify lets you develop, host, and maintain your website or app. ????

Fully managed solutionProblems with deployment and slow loading of sites
Allows developers to build with any integration
Built-in free DNS management and SSL certificates
Designed for front-end developers
Supports smooth, uninterrupted delivery and integration


Netlify’s got you as the service offers a free tier. For the paid plan, the price starts at $19 a month per user. 

CapRover – Free to Download

CapRover is an open-source service that lets you “build your PaaS in minutes.” It is similar to Dokku in the sense that it uses Docker for deployment.

Node.js, PHP, and Ruby are supportedNo buildpack support
FreeNo profile support
Automatic load balancing of apps across multiple servers can be done out of the boxHarder, manual backups
Multiple servers
Nice GUI with a lot of functionality
Single click apps without needing to type a command.


Good news! No need to worry about the bills as the service is free.

Why Devs are Looking For Heroku Alternatives

Switching to a new platform can be hard, but we’re here to help. If you’re doing the switch, you should probably look ???? after these things.

1. Price

Over time, Heroku has become expensive. We can’t blame them as the platform has become very popular with businesses and developers. Luckily, you’ve got other cheaper alternatives offering competitive rates. Thank God for the competition.

2. Sleeping Apps

Heroku utilizes a thing called sleeping apps, and this causes a lag when making an initial request. This means a lot of problems for developers. If you’re looking for an alternative service, make sure this is covered.

3. Latency

Heroku uses AWS, which runs services in only two regions: USA and Europe. This sucks for businesses that have end users in outside regions like Asia and Australia. Other alternatives cover more regions, though.

You Might Ask

Which is better: Netlify or Heroku?

It depends on your needs. Netlify is more focused on frontend developers, while Heroku is geared more towards those on backend. Netlify can do continuous integration out of the box ????, while for Heroku, it can be turned on. Also, Netlify is more for web projects while Heroku is already mobile-ready. Lastly, Netlify has no sleeping apps, while Heroku makes use of this. 

Which is better: Heroku or Firebase?

Firebase allows you to set up the backend easily. Meanwhile, Heroku allows for flexibility in controlling the backend. Firebase is designed to power real-time, collaborative applications, while Heroku lets developers focus on coding their apps. Cliche as it may sound, but it really depends on your goals.

Is Heroku still relevant?

Heroku is still a force to reckon with despite the new competitors showing up. Heroku may lose some market share, and it may or may not improve its services. But thanks to competition, you now have more choices to build and launch your application.

Why is PaaS the best option?

With it, you can quickly test and implement your solution. The sooner you implement, the more success your business gets. What’s better is that with the service, you only pay for what you use which means you get more savings as well. Lastly, the PaaS infrastructure is flexible, allowing for dynamic scaling. You can scale up or down depending on the demand.

Is Heroku better than AWS?

It depends on your goals. Heroku is a PaaS while AWS is a PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS. Heroku is focused more on startups and medium-sized businesses, while AWS best suits large enterprises. This also means that AWS can meet higher computational demands compared to Heroku. Lastly, Heroku won’t require you to have dedicated DevOps maintenance, while AWS will require you infrastructure maintenance specialties.


Heroku is the dominant PaaS in the game, but with the rising costs, the difficulty of use, and other issues plaguing the service, other platforms have stepped up to the occasion. All the alternatives we mentioned are worth giving a shot ????. You just have to consider the size of your app, resources, and customization you will be doing. 

And besides having a PaaS, if you’re interested in expanding your business platforms more through podcasts, check this out for more tips.

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