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The 9 Best Free, Paid, and Open-Source Heroku Alternatives

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The 9 Best Free, Paid, and Open-Source Heroku Alternatives
Author: DuploCloud | Tuesday, May 14 2024

For developers ready to make the switch

Ever since its founding in 2007, Heroku has helped developers and engineers build and deploy apps while bypassing infrastructure headaches. It essentially makes the journey from idea to URL smoother. After nearly two decades, the platform-as-a-service (PaaS), which Salesforce acquired in 2010, remains popular due to its ease of use and support for multiple platforming languages.

However, Heroku has its limitations. Its regional service makes it challenging to launch global apps, and some developers find it difficult to scale on the platform. Additionally, the elimination of its free tier in November 2022 left some DevOps teams scrambling to find another budget-friendly solution. If you’re among those ready to make the switch, we’ve rounded up the nine best Heroku alternatives on the market.

Paid Heroku Alternatives

You might be wondering why you should pay for an app development platform when there are free options available. The truth is, free Heroku alternatives (more on those below) are generally the lowest tier of service each solution offers, with limited features. If you’re switching from Heroku because you’ve outgrown it, your DevOps processes are likely complex enough that they need a more powerful option.


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Microsoft Azure App Service

Microsoft Azure is one of the biggest cloud computing platforms on the market, and its Azure App Service helps developers create apps and deploy them on scalable cloud infrastructure. Like Heroku, Azure App Service supports a variety of programming languages, including .NET, .NET Core, Java, and Python. The platform uses Microsoft Azure’s cutting-edge security features, load balancing, autoscaling, and automated management, and you only pay for the Azure compute services you use. However, it does have some drawbacks, among them a lack of remote desktop capabilities and limits on third-party management tools.


While Azure App Service is popular among enterprise-level businesses, Aptible is built for start-ups just beginning to scale. Its website boasts “Heroku-like automation in your own AWS,” which means developers can gain complete visibility and control over AWS resources and organize their infrastructure. Though it is a paid service, Aptible’s pricing is meant to grow as its clients do. However, reviews note a steep learning curve and a limited feature set.

Free Heroku Alternatives

For those with smaller projects and tight budgets, Heroku’s free alternatives offer an on-ramp to budding app developers. You won’t find the advanced features or enterprise-level service of the paid options above, but these four choices are ideal when you’re just starting out. 

AWS Elastic Beanstalk

A giant in the cloud computing space, Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Beanstalk allows for the deployment and scaling of apps with no additional cost. You’ll only pay for AWS resources, making this a strategic Heroku alternative for those already utilizing Amazon’s cloud services. Reviewers have called it “effortless” and praised the low costs associated with using it, though some reviews mention instability and lag.


Billing itself “the modern software delivery platform,” Harness is trusted by many of the world’s biggest companies, including Citi and United Airlines. Its free tier includes a code repository, continuous integration/continuous delivery, and up to 10 projects a month in Harness Chaos Engineering, among other features. If your project doesn’t require extensive resources, Harness may be worth checking out — but be aware that users have reported account managers using aggressive upsell tactics to paid tiers with incomplete features.


If you’re a hobbyist, student, or independent developer, Render’s free tier may fit just right. Render allows solo devs to speed up the process of launching web apps through a starter pipeline that includes 500 minutes a month and 100GB of bandwidth. Users praise its simplicity and ease of use, as well as its reasonable pricing tiers. Though the free tier has a very specific target audience, it’s a solid way for the DevOps-curious to get their feet wet and build their first app in the cloud. However, members of the Render community have questioned its reliability, with issues like “deploys not working” and “complete services outages” becoming alarmingly common.


As a low-code backend platform, Back4app aims to expedite and scale application development by eliminating the need for DevOps entirely. It offers free plans for “developing, learning, and prototyping” in three key areas: Backend as a Service, Container as a Service, and AI services built on ChatGPT 3.5 Turbo. Like Render, the unpaid options are more for indies and those learning the process as they go along. Reviewers have called it “very easy to use” and the “best choice for your next app.” 

Open-source Heroku Alternatives

While no-code and low-code platforms have reduced the need for extensive code-writing, some developers prefer a little more agility. If that’s the case, you’ll find these open-source platforms especially flexible, particularly because of their supportive communities that are always working to make improvements.


GitLab began as an open-source project in 2011 before evolving into an “open-core” DevOps platform. This business model allows for the monetization of open-source software. Its privacy-first approach to AI ensures that your code remains your code, meaning GitLab won’t use it to train its own AI models. Global enterprises, including Lockheed Martin, use GitLab for its compliance framework, security at scale, and its ability to significantly increase cycle time.


As “the smallest PaaS implementation you’ve ever seen,” Dokku is another promising open-source Heroku alternative. Dokku helps developers build and manage Heroku-compatible apps on inexpensive cloud servers and “use the extra cash to buy a pony or feed kittens.” App creators can run Dokku in any cloud environment and write plugins in any language, offering the kind of flexibility that many developers seek in open-source solutions.

Streamline DevOps Processes With DuploCloud

If you’re ready to put your DevOps on autopilot while accelerating your time to market, DuploCloud can help. The DuploCloud platform offers automated provisioning and cloud services, as well as top-tier security controls that adhere to up-to-date compliance guidelines. Whether you’re at the startup stage or rapidly scaling, our goal is to empower developers by focusing on innovation and growth. Get in touch to learn more.

Author: DuploCloud | Tuesday, May 14 2024