Heroku is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) that enables developers to build, run and operate their applications entirely in the cloud. It is popular for its simplicity, usability, and free tier. This allows you to run your application for free using the various free cloud services offered by the Heroku ecosystem.
Heroku recently announced that they will stop offering some free plans starting November 28, 2022.
This is especially relevant if you are hosting the application for a short period of time, perhaps to show potential employers or clients.
Fortunately, there are other options.
Render is a unified cloud for building and running all your applications and websites. It has free TLS certificates, global CDN, DDoS protection, private network, and automatic deployment from Git.
Render offers a free tier for the following services:
- static site: Render’s static site free plan features a fast CDN and an unlimited number of collaborators. Additional features include continuous deployment from Git, 100 GB of bandwidth per month, and custom domains with fully managed TLS.
- database: Render’s free plan features fully managed PostgreSQL and Redis databases. They allow connections from anywhere.
With Render’s free plan, you can start web services and databases at zero cost. However, these programs have certain usage limitations and are designed to help build personal projects and explore new technologies.
Cyclic is a modern cloud architecture with serverless hosting and an easy onboarding experience.
Cyclic is ideal for hosting full-stack MERN applications. Its free tier has up to 100,000 API requests with fast builds and 1GB of runtime memory. The service also includes 1GB of object storage with amazon S3, three cron jobs per application, and 7-day log retention.
Using Cyclic’s free tier gives you an edge over your competition when it comes to inactivity latency. Platforms like Heroku and Render take about 30 seconds to restart the service after a period of inactivity. By comparison, the service takes about 200 milliseconds according to Cyclic’s benchmarks.
Rail is a platform where you configure your infrastructure, develop with it locally, and deploy it to the cloud.
Railway enables you to deploy your web application with one click using its templates. There are over 50 railway templates for web applications built in different languages and frameworks.
Railway’s free tier has 512 MB of RAM, shared CPU/container, and 1GB of disk space. It also offers unlimited inbound network bandwidth, multiple custom domains with SSL, and 5 or 500 hours of usage.
Deta is a free cloud platform for hosting web services supporting Python and Node.js applications. It has built-in API-Key authentication and cron, and has 128 MB of RAM per execution. There’s also 10GB of storage and an easy-to-use, production-grade NoSQL database with unlimited storage.
Unlike other Heroku alternatives, Deta has no paid tiers. According to them, their service is always free.
Fly.io is a platform that lets you host and run small applications for free, and expand at an affordable cost as your needs grow.
The free tier features up to three shared CPUs, 256MB of virtual machines, 3GB of persistent volume storage, and 160GB of outbound data transfers.
Applications hosted on fly.io beyond the above are billed on usage-based pricing.
Other Heroku Alternatives
Other platforms like Vercel, Netlify, and GitHub Pages offer free tiers. But these platforms are great for hosting static sites and full-stack applications. On the other hand, the platforms mentioned here allow you to host your entire web application for free.