Yesterday I received an email from Heroku saying that they are bringing some changes to their services. I initially thought they are going to bring some new features but then thought why would they email me to inform me about those new features? As I suspected, they removed the free tier. Maybe they are now targetting only the bigger clients and getting rid of people who are using their service for free. I'm sure there will be lots of people getting affected because of this decision. Considering the fact that server costs are getting high, many service providers have increased their operating costs. So this is no wonder to me.
Today I read an article from @geekgirl and I thought it would be good to add my perspective to this topic and also provide some alternatives that are available and especially the ones I use frequently. I once used to be a heavy Heroku user. If I remember it right it was during the early days of Steem. I was looking forward to creating my own bots and I did not know where to host them. Someone showed me a way to Heroku and as it was free, it was very comfortable for me to host my apps there.
Later I moved to other solutions. I got my own servers from Privex and started using them for hosting. I was able to get a decent server for like 5$ and that is when I started exploring cloud services. So, Heroku was my first hosting experience in the cloud. I still have one of my personal bots hosted on Heroku and now that it is paid, I'll be moving it to one of my servers. I don't have a need to get a paid plan on Heroku and continue using it. Let me discuss some alternatives I have been using.
Deta is the best alternative for me. I came to know about this from someone. It was initially hard for me to understand how it works and how to host my services there but then later after exploring, I found it out that it was very comfortable. I primarily use Deta for the following purpose:
- Hosting APIs
- Hosting websites
- Scheduling CRON jobs
- Microservices (Serverless)
The services are free and they have some limitations to prevent abuse but we can still do workarounds. I guess they have enough funding and that's one of the reasons why they are able to give these things for free. Please note the above services can be used only for lightweight projects. For heavy processing, we have to use our own servers. Sometimes I might need temporary database storage for my apps and I use Deta for them.
This is the next interesting service we have with a free tier plan. Supabase also offers a premium plan but for small projects, the free plan is more than sufficient. This is mostly for people who would like to use SQL databases. Supabase also has other facilities like social logins, authorization, and access control apart from just the database alone.
This is considered as an alternative for Firebase where the difference is having a Postgres database instead of a No SQL database. But people also ask them for alternative databases and they might plan for something in the future. I have some services using supabase and it is very good. We can also use it in our own self-hosted environments. The best thing about Supabase is their documentation which is very clear and good for beginners.
This can be considered as an alternative for hosting web API or microservices. It is not necessary that we have to use a paid service. If our service is not going to use a server, then Lambda is a good alternative to use. I personally tried them and started using them for a while but it was painful to get started and do all the learning. I had to learn many things about AWS services. Even though Lambda falls under the free tier there are a few dependencies that can be paid one for AWS users.
They also have a free tier plan and when o looked at it last time, some of the features were really amazing for a free tier and we can create a virtual machine in the free tier if I'm not wrong. AWS also provided that feature but they offer it only for one year. Anything beyond that becomes a paid service. Also, the virtual machines on AWS were not reliable. I had hardware failure issues. I'm not sure about Oracle. I have not used them though but hopefully, someday I might use them.
There are also other free services out there as an alternative for Heroku but maybe I will try to cover them in some other article. Deta is currently the top-notch service I have been using.
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