5 Heroku Alternatives for Free Full Stack Hosting

5 Heroku Alternatives for Free Full Stack Hosting

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Heroku has discontinued its free tier, leaving developers seeking new platforms. Here are 5 full stack hosting alternatives to Heroku's free plan.

Why Developers Loved Heroku's Free Tier

Heroku offered a popular platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model, letting developers build and run apps entirely in the cloud.

The free tier provided valuable development resources. It granted access to Heroku's wide range of cloud services, including databases, monitoring, and add-ons.

This enabled building full stack apps for free. The convenience and usability of Heroku led to widespread adoption.

But after being acquired by Salesforce in 2010, Heroku ended some free services in 2022 to push monetization. This has developers looking for alternatives.

Top Heroku Alternatives

While not a perfect substitute, these platforms offer free tiers for full stack hosting:

1. Render

Render provides unified cloud hosting for sites and apps. Their free tier includes:

  • Static sites with custom domains, SSL, and continuous deployment.
  • Web services hosting with auto-scaling.
  • Managed PostgreSQL databases and Redis caches.

Render lacks Heroku's breadth of add-ons, but covers core needs for cloud hosting. Fast autoscaling and modern infrastructure make it favorable for production services.

2. Railway

Railway offers deployments with just a click. It has templates for apps in languages like JavaScript, Python, Go, and more.

Verified accounts get a free tier similar to Hobby plans. This provides 500MB RAM and shared CPU cores.

Easy setup and built-in logging/monitoring make Railway great for quick prototyping and testing. But limited resources prevent extensive production use.

3. Deta

Deta (formerly Deta) provides fully managed app hosting and backend services. Each app gets dedicated servers, security, and data storage.

Deta has no paid tiers yet - usage is free by default. There are also no current limits, which makes Deta very flexible.

4. Cyclic

Cyclic specializes in hosting full stack JavaScript apps with its integrated dashboards and monitoring.

The free tier includes 1GB memory, 10k API requests, 1GB storage, and cron tasks. Fast boot times help with scaling.

5. Fly.io

Fly.io offers highly-scalable app hosting with per-second billing. There is no set "free tier", but free monthly resources include:

  • 3 shared CPUs
  • 256MB RAM
  • 3GB storage
  • 160GB egress

Fly.io makes it easy to scale up as needed. But costs can quickly add up without careful resource optimization.

Key Considerations for Free Hosting

When evaluating Heroku alternatives, keep these key factors in mind:

Supported Languages - Some platforms only support certain languages/frameworks. Opt for flexibility.

Resources - Compare free CPU, memory, storage, and bandwidth allowances. These vary widely.

Uptime & Reliability - Research uptime track records and redundancy capabilities for mission-critical apps.

Ease of Use - Look for simple deployment, logging, and management. Friction slows development.

Scaling Costs - Pay attention to how pricing changes with scale to avoid surprise bills.

Limitations - Many free tiers restrict usage or resources. Understand these to prevent disruptions.

No one platform will be ideal for every use case. Evaluate options against your specific needs and priorities.

Migrating from Heroku's Free Tier

Switching providers requires migrating apps and services:

  • Export data from Heroku Postgres databases to import into new systems.
  • Configure add-ons like logging, monitoring, and caching on the new platform.
  • Adjust code to run properly in the new environment. Test rigorously.
  • Change DNS to point your domain at the new hosting provider.
  • Transfer files like images stored on Heroku.

Expect some development effort to smoothly transition off Heroku. Allocate time for troubleshooting bugs and optimizing performance.

Conclusion

Heroku's discontinued free tier left a gap in the market. But capable alternatives have emerged to meet demand for full stack hosting options.

Carefully evaluate provider features against your needs. Focus on essentials like languages, resources, reliability, and costs.

Migrating apps involves effort. But platforms like Render, Railway, and Deta now make full stack hosting accessible for lean budgets.

The ecosystem adjusted to fill Heroku's absence with competitive offerings. Savvy developers have their pick of capable heroku alternatives to build apps affordably.

The cloud hosting landscape still offers free tiers for those willing to invest time into migration. Don't let Heroku's policy change stop your next project. With due diligence, you can find a new home for full stack apps and continue building.

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