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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?
|Fast and real-time updates||Lock-in period|
|Google Analytics and AdSense are supported||No simple way to add “Cloud Code”|
|Offers flexible APIs with the ability to support across different devices, languages, and frameworks||No 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.
|Cheaper with a generous free plan||Lacking documentation|
|Useful scalable database that includes multiple APIs such as GraphQL API and REST API||User 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. ????
|Fully managed service with built-in infrastructure maintenance, security, patching, and scaling||Will 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 faster||Speed 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.
|Fully managed service||Lock-in period|
|Open, flexible, and compatible with most popular programming languages||No standard SQL DB (database)|
|Intuitive user interface||Sudden 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.
|No lock-in||Difficult to set up and configure|
|Backed by Google and Red Hat||Not 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.
|Free||Unreliable 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 others||Stack 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.
|Cheaper than Heroku||Confusing billing|
|Easily expand or reduce capacity in minutes||Enterprise-grade support isn’t offered|
|Wide coverage mean less latency||Steep learning curve for adapting to the system|
|Entire ecosystem of Amazon is present for services and support||Cross-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 deployment||Hard remote access as compared to Heroku|
|Users can efficiently perform remote server deployments||Upgrades can get obstructed|
|Restrictions on Heroku for developers aren’t imposed on Dokku||Documentation needs to be improved|
|Utilizes Easy Git Deploy, which allows you to push Heroku-compatible apps||Doesn’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 updates||Difficulty embracing new AWS features|
|Ability to replicate environments smoothly for testing||Security groups need to be improved|
|Scale horizontally or vertically|
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 faster||Hard to understand logs|
|Developers can focus on designing and testing applications||Steep 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 solution||Problems 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 supported||No buildpack support|
|Free||No profile support|
|Automatic load balancing of apps across multiple servers can be done out of the box||Harder, manual backups|
|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.
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.
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.