Say Goodbye to Heroku Free Tier

An In-Depth Guide Including Comparisons

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28 November 2022 is a sad day for developers. In case you haven’t heard, Salesforce (the parent organization of Heroku) is ending their free tier plan on this date.

For many years, Heroku has been the de facto standard Platform as a Service (PAAS). So many students and developers deploy their first web application on Heroku. Anecdotally, Heroku has been important to my career.

tl;dr; Doctor. If you are looking for Heroku free tier alternatives, check out free-for.dev/#/?id=paas, i migrated my cron jobs northflank and to heroku dynos kob,

For context, a lot has happened in the year 2022 for Heroku. The two most notable incidents are:

  1. On April 2022, a security breach occurred at Heroku (Event) where the CI and Review app secrets were compromised. GitHub Actions integration was down on Heroku for a few months. Heroku’s communications were objectively bad. I experienced this firsthand when I had to resort to using a GitHub CI Action for my app deployment.
  2. On August 2022, Heroku announces the removal of its free product plans,

If you’ve been watching the internet, you’ve seen people expressing concern about how Heroku is losing its magic, Ever since the security breach incident, I’ve seen more conversations about Heroku alternatives.

Although things started looking bad, everything Heroku had to offer was still great, and I decided to stick with it. So far, that is.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been pushing my demo and small projects off heroku.

If you are still looking for Heroku free tier alternatives, check out God ,github,

While there are a bunch of blog posts and recommendations scattered across the internet now, free-for.dev provides the best coverage. The list comes with a brief description of what each Heroku option does.

Note that my use case is mostly for small scale personal projects. So, everything I wrote may not be ideal for your use case.

  1. Equivalent free tier in terms of CPU and RAM. (spoiler: none of them were that good)
  2. Support for out-of-the-box cron jobs. Ideally, no weird workarounds needed
  3. custom domain
  4. GitHub integration
  5. Support for basic logging and monitoring (ie, CPU, memory, disk, network metrics)

My primary concern is the bandwidth cost of each PaaS and not the supported regions.

Heroku Postgres — since May 2022, I have migrated from heroku postgres to rails, So far, I don’t have any complaints about it. Another option I was looking at was Planetscale, However, I didn’t go for it as it is not Postgres-compatible.

Heroku Dynos Apps – burplist was migrated to kob, After trying other notable Heroku alternatives fly.io, northflankAnd railway, I can safely say that migration from Heroku to CoB requires the least amount of effort and kinks. It works only in my case.

Heroku Scheduler – For my cron jobs, I opted for NorthFlank. Their support for cron jobs is by far the best. Pricing aside, the developer experience is much better than Heroku Scheduler.

Heroku Add-ons – Not applicable in my case. I was relying on the Heroku add-on for monitoring and logging. Thankfully most modern PaaS today support this out of the box.

Unfortunately, the free plans of most Heroku alternatives are not as good as Heroku. For example, most free Compute instances have a shared CPU and 256 MB of RAM (Heroku Free Dynos started at 512 MB of RAM). Not yet considering the limited number of apps allowed.

Surprisingly most of these PaaS still do not support running cron jobs natively. Thanks again to NorthFlank for providing such capability with great developer experience.

For Cobb, the supported regions for the free tier are quite limited at the time of writing this.

Ultimately, render dot com There is another popular option in the market. You may want to check them out.

Updated as of 21 November 2022.

free level

Free Tier Comparison Between PaaS
image credit: author

price ceiling

Pricing Comparison Between PaaS
image credit: author

One thing I haven’t covered here is bandwidth cost (inbound + outbound). This is something you might seriously consider for larger projects.

Maybe I’m biased. There’s no obvious drop-in replacement for the Heroku free tier (at least not on par with Heroku’s generosity). Throwing free plans aside, most don’t offer the same developer experience as Heroku.

In my opinion, the Heroku free tier is one of the best things that has ever happened to software engineering.

I appreciated heroku’s free dyno hours, I didn’t mind that Dynos goes to sleep and only wakes up when needed – this means I can host multiple demos at once and only consume my free limit on demand.

Need to show someone something quickly? Just send them your URL. It will turn on in a few seconds, and I’m totally cool with cold starts. This developer experience is something that not all existing platforms can offer, at least not with their free plans.

While I’m a happy paying customer, it stings to pay $5/month for something I don’t use 99% of the time.

Sadly this is the way it is. The Internet is a twisty place. If you are offering free services on the internet, people will find a way to misuse them. I remember hosting my first url shortener, The service immediately got spammed on my first day of making it public. I had to implement captcha and expiring links to reduce misuse.

Today, whenever I see something available for “really free” (if you know what I mean) made by individuals, I can’t help but wonder how they’ll keep the lights on permanently from Goodwill. I hate to see someone’s best intentions fail. Maybe we should start paying for internet content,

Although I use cloud services like AWS almost daily, PaaS like Heroku will always hold a special place in my heart.

Heroku was amazing. I think it’s done a great job of raising the bar in the PaaS field in addition to indirectly advocating for free education (one way or another).

Heroku, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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