In the world of deploying and managing web applications, having different choices is a great thing. Heroku has been a popular option for developers because it’s user-friendly, but there are many other options available that might better fit your specific needs. Whether you want more control over your applications, the ability to handle bigger projects, or want to save money, there are alternatives to Heroku that could be perfect for you.
Building an application is not an easy task. Apart from the core product many other underlying services and infrastructure have to be looked into. This can be helped with Heroku as it serves as a service managing the underlying work required. In this article, we’ll show you the top 10 alternatives to Heroku that are gaining popularity among developers.
What is Heroku?
Heroku is a fully managed PaaS(Platform as a Service). In earlier days, developing a new project was accompanied by many other responsibilities like managing the underlying infrastructure, storage, networking, and monitoring to keep the project running. The developers had to spend time addressing these underlying infrastructures as well. But Heroku in the picture allows the developer to focus on the core project while the underlying serves, hardware, and infrastructure are well managed.
Heroku introduced a technology that makes deployment, scaling, and managing apps easier and faster. It supports various programming languages like Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, Node.js, etc. The virtual containers in Heroku are called Dynos.
Why Heroku Alternatives?
Based on many user experiences and as discussed above in the disadvantages, the following seem to be the major reasons why we need an alternative for Heroku.
- Cost-Intensive: The pricing model of Heroku is based on dynos which are the virtual containers used to run instances. The price of the instance increases as we scale the dynos vertically and horizontally. Apart from that the additional plugins and add-ons used to provide specific functionalities are paid. Thus, Heroku is not so pocket-friendly to many users.
- Sleeping Dynos: In the free tier, dynos within some time of inactivity go to sleep to free up the resources. Once triggered to wake up again, it takes some delayed time in seconds after getting the web request. Thus, users with single dynos are forced to scale up to a plan adding to the cost of the project.
- Limited region Availability: Heroku runs on AWS, which provides a large option of regions. But Heroku provides only two regions, the US and Europe. Thus, customers from other regions face some delays as compared to US and European customers.
Top 10 Heroku Alternatives
Taking all the factors mentioned above in mind, the following can be seen as effective Heroku alternatives:
- Google App Engine
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk
- Digital Ocean App Platform
- Engine Yard
- Azure App Service
1. Google App Engine
Google App Engine is a PaaS(Platform as a Service) by Google that helps users easily and efficiently host their applications and backends. It supports various programming languages like Java, Python, Node.js, Go etc.
- It provides autoscaling and automatic load balancing. It ensures high availability and that the user does not face any downtime.
- It can be easily integrated with other Google services such as Cloud Storage, Cloud Pub/Sub, Cloud SQL and many more. It can also be integrated with other third-party services such as git, Jenkins etc.
Pricing: The Google App Engine free tier provides processor, storage, API(Application Programming Interface) calls and concurrent requests up to a certain extent.
2. AWS Elastic Beanstalk
AWS Elastic Beanstalk is a DevOps service by AWS that helps deploy and scale web applications and services. It supports various programming languages like Java, PHP, .NET, Python, Ruby, Node.js, Go etc.
- It can be easily integrated with other AWS services like Amazon S3, Amazon EC2 etc. providing users a great overall experience.
- It offers automatic scaling capabilities, which means that as your application’s traffic or load increases, Elastic Beanstalk can automatically add more resources to handle the demand, and it can scale down when the load decreases.
Pricing: Although, AWS Elastic Beanstalk does not provide a free tier plan. But, new AWS users get a 12-month free tier where they can get an experience with basic AWS tools and after the free tier is up, a pay-as-you-go plan can be initiated.
Netlify is a platform for web developers to host their websites in the cloud without managing any servers in the backend. It provides a great platform to deploy static websites.
- It offers continuous deployment where the changes made to your website are automatically reflected once they are committed to the repository.
- Netlify can be easily integrated with version control services like GitHub and GitLab allowing users to easily manage their applications.
Pricing: Netlify offers a pay-as-you-go plan where we can buy and use resources as per our needs.
4. Digital Ocean App Platform
Digital Ocean App Platform eases our task of building, deploying and managing applications. It is an easy-to-use service that quickly deploys your application within minutes. It supports various programming languages like PHP, Python, Django, Node.js, Go etc.
- It can be used to deploy static sites, containerised applications and databases.
- Along with that, it provides autoscaling of instances to manage traffic efficiently.
Pricing: It provides a free plan to users before they commit to the service. The free plan includes a basic support plan, deployment of serverless functions and three static or container-based apps.
- It provides a cloud-based NoSQL database to manage data. Its authentication service provides easy-to-use UI and SDKs to authenticate users to the application.
- It also serves as a safe and secure hosting platform.
Pricing: Firebase comes with a free tier plan called the Spark Plan which can be upgraded as a pay-as-you-go plan.
Kubernetes also known as ‘K8’ is a container orchestration tool developed by Google. It is used for the automation of app deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications.
- It is a PaaS(Platform as a service) that addresses various infrastructure-related tasks so that the developer solely focus on coding and innovation.
- It provides autoscaling, load balancing and lifecycle management for the deployed application. It simplifies container management on multiple hosts.
Pricing: Kubernetes proves to be inexpensive and the open-source version is free of cost and can be downloaded from its repository on GitHub.
7. Engine Yard
Engine Yard is a PaaS(Platform as a Service) that provides easy tools to deploy and manage your application on the cloud. Engine Yrad runs over Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure. It focuses on the deployment of Ruby on Rails, PHP and Node.js.
- It provides easy scalability and an uptime guarantee. While it manages the underlying infrastructure, the company can focus on the core product and idea thus saving engineering time.
- It supports various database solutions, including PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Redis. Engine Yard simplifies database setup, configuration, and scaling.
Pricing: Engine Yard trial comes with a 7-day trial of private cluster and $100 AWS credit.
8. Azure App Service
Azure App Service is a cloud-based platform to build, deploy and manage apps. It supports various programming languages like .NET, Java, PHP, Node.js, Python etc. It provides a scalable and highly available platform for developers to build, deploy, and host their applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.
- It provides high flexibility and scalability. It can be easily integrated with other Azure services like Azure SQL Database, Azure Cosmos DB etc.
- It provides built-in authentication and authorization mechanisms, including integration with Azure Active Directory, social identity providers, and custom authentication options.
Pricing: Azure App Service provide a free tier plan including 1GB of storage, free HTTP and custom domains and continuous deployment by integration with version control tools.
Back4App is a cloud-based platform used for building, deploying and scaling applications easily. It provides storage, API hosting and user authentication. It allows users to run their applications in isolated containers equipped with necessary dependencies.
- It provides real-time monitoring of containers and automatic deployment. The containers are easily scalable.
- It can be integrated with version control tools like Github to provide continuous deployment.
Pricing: It provides a free tier plan before committing to a paid one. The free model contains processing power along with storage and docker containers.
Vercel is a one-stop solution for managing, deploying and scaling static and dynamic sites. It supports frontend frameworks like React, Vue.js and Angular and backend languages like Node.js and Go.
- It has powerful CLI tools for easy development and deployment. Its seamless integration with Github ensures continuous deployment.
- It also provides features like hot reloading, instant rollback and automatic SSL certificates.
Pricing: It provides a free tier plan including CLI integrations, built-in CI/CD and automatic HTTPS/SSL.
This article provides various alternatives to Heroku compared against features, pricing models, flexibility and compatibility with various programming languages. The choice among the various alternatives provided depends on the use case of the user and the need for the project. Small projects or MVPs can be supported by Back4App or Firebase but for more extensive and large-scale projects services like AWS Bean Stalk and Azure App Service seem a good fit.
FAQs on Heroku Alternatives
1. What is Heroku, and why would I consider alternatives?
Heroku is a cloud platform that simplifies web application deployment. You might consider alternatives if you need more control, scalability, or cost-effectiveness than Heroku provides.
2. Are these alternatives suitable for small projects, or are they mainly for larger applications?
These alternatives cater to a wide range of project sizes. Some are excellent for small projects, while others are designed to handle large-scale applications.
3. How do I choose the right Heroku alternative for my project?
Consider your specific project requirements, such as programming language support, scalability needs, and budget. Each alternative has its strengths, so choose the one that aligns best with your needs.
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