A recent Gartner study suggests that global spending on cloud computing could reach $597.3 billion in 2023, representing a 21.7% growth rate. The value has almost tripled during the last four years. This shows that the industry is rapidly developing, and the demand is increasing, with Heroku vs AWS being a critical debate.
Both platforms have numerous tools and services that could suit your apps or programs’ deployment and scaling needs in various ways. However, due to their variations, they have distinct applications and are not direct competitors in the same market.
In this AWS vs. Heroku guide, we will outline the capabilities of both platforms, their disadvantages, use cases, and how they differ. We hope this in-depth analysis can help you choose a platform that best suits your project. But first, what is cloud hosting, and why are cloud technologies so crucial in the modern world?
Table of Contents
- What is Cloud Hosting?
- What is AWS?
- What is Heroku?
- Heroku vs AWS: The Differences
- So, What to Choose as a Startup in 2023?
What is Cloud Hosting?
In essence, cloud hosting is the capability to avail websites and applications on the internet using the cloud. It involves pooling computing resources from a network of physical and virtual servers to allow for greater flexibility and scalability.
Why Cloud Services?
Cloud services are a perfect example of technology’s relentless progress and how it influences modern life. Below are the key benefits of cloud technologies in the context of hosting business operations:
- Cost reduction: One of the most significant advantages of using cloud hosting is its inexpensive nature compared to traditional methods of administering and maintaining infrastructure.
Businesses significantly waive the cost of on-premises hardware, software, and data centers through cloud computing providers like Heroku vs AWS.
Similarly, companies rarely have to incur the costs of maintaining and upgrading hardware. They also save on energy costs since they don’t have to run or power on-site IT infrastructure.
- Increasing speed: With cloud hosting, businesses demand servers, databases, development, and infrastructure resources.
This ensures that projects are developed quickly, overcoming time to market and enhancing efficiency. Companies also have better opportunities and capacity planning.
- Great scalability: One of the main reasons why numerous companies opt for cloud technologies is the enhanced scalability guaranteed by these services.
Developers can extend their projects vertically and horizontally, depending on their needs. Cloud hosting increases the bandwidth, storage, and computing resources within a few clicks and lets you pick your preferred server location.
- Improved productivity and performance: Since cloud hosting providers don’t use single or conventional data centers, they can guarantee performance improvement.
Furthermore, project productivity is enhanced when development teams emphasize the core competencies. This leads to less time being spent on racking and stacking.
- Enhanced security and stability: Cloud hosting providers are always on high alert and employ several measures to secure and stabilize their platforms.
This includes preventing security risks through Identity and access management (IAM), identity providers, cloud firewalls, multifactor authentication, and encryption.
They also have regular backups and disaster recovery mechanisms to ensure the platforms’ reliability for building, deploying, and hosting applications.
What is AWS?
AWS is short for Amazon Web Services, the world’s most popular cloud computing platform. The service launched by Amazon in 2006 has more than 200 products, covering various computing models, including CaaS, Paas, Iaas, and SaaS. Numerous large corporations, such as Samsung, Medlife, Disney, and Vanguard Group, are known to use AWS in their tech stacks.
The most popular AWS services include:
- Elastic Compute Cloud (or EC2)
- Amazon Simple Storage Service (or Amazon S3)
- AWS Lambda
Advantages of AWS
The main advantages of using AWS vs. Heroku include:
- Cost-effectiveness: Whether using it long-term or only for a short while, AWS remains cost-effective. Compared to rivals, its charges are very reasonable.
Moreover, it has a free tier for startups or those unaware of its products. Similarly, AWS pricing vs. Heroku is better. AWS users can pay for only the instances they use since the service has a Pay-as-you-go pricing model.
- A broad range of products and services: AWS has a wide range of products and services.
One platform can have over 200 products spanning numerous categories, including databases, computing, networking, content delivery, storage, identity compliance, analytics, security, and machine learning.
- Security: A team of global security experts handles the AWS physical infrastructure, its software, and operational complexities.
Amazon’s robust backing also makes the platform highly secure for programmers everywhere.
- Reliability. Due to its enhanced scalability, AWS is a reliable cloud hosting provider.
Whether you want to use it for a high-traffic program or a small application, it works well, and you only have to make a few clicks to extend or reduce instances.
- Availability in multiple regions. AWS has physical servers in numerous parts of the globe, which is why so many users prefer it.
Disadvantages of AWS
When comparing Heroku vs AWS, AWS services are more complex and need more orchestration and maintenance than Heroku. Generally, it suits companies with DevOps teams, either contracted or in-house, due to the execution of complex management tasks. Other disadvantages of using this platform include:
- Unreliable deployment without error descriptions
- The process of deploying AWS is very lengthy, as even a simple website could take 15–20 minutes
- Updates and new stack versions are less frequent
- You have to deploy your app yourself using Capistrano, recipes, or manually
- It is not easy to launch multiple app instances using AWS
What is Heroku?
Started in 2007, Heroku is one of the top Platform as a Service (PaaS) vendors available in the world. It is built on top of AWS infrastructure. Its resources are more manageable and channeled.
Businesses and development teams use Heroku’s container-based and PaaS products to develop, extend, and deploy advanced apps. Some prominent companies using this platform for various tech stacks include Salesforce, PensionBee, Cambly, and Quikly.
Advantages of Heroku
The advantages of Heroku vs AWS as a cloud hosting solution include:
- Simplicity: Heroku has a straightforward deployment process that suits users of all types, from experienced developers and DevOps engineers to startups and big enterprises.
The platform can mask all complex servers, storage, and networking functionalities. You, therefore, only have to make a few clicks to deploy your app through its user-friendly interface. Creating a new version or updating software is also very simple.
- Stability: Heroku’s stable nature is another reason it is popular among developers. The platform’s operations can continually run for extended periods without any errors.
It is maintained by experienced technical and administrative experts, with Standard and Premium Support options.
- Security: Heroku offers a secure computing environment, mainly through its authoritative practices. The platform’s hardware and servers are regularly updated to curb vulnerabilities.
Heroku also complies with various international safety standards. Furthermore, it hosts its infrastructure with highly secure AWS data centers.
- Scalability: Heroku runs its applications using highly scalable containers called ‘Dynos.’ The horizontal scaling permitted by these containers allows businesses to enhance instances significantly.
This way, you can enlarge your memory, CPU, and further resources as your software or app project grows. Similarly, Heroku has an autoscaling option that automatically extends resources to suit your application’s needs.
- Uniformity: Heroku vs AWS has uniform, continuous operations and services like other cloud platforms. Regardless of your app type, the quality of the platform’s service is always the same.
Disadvantages of Heroku
The main disadvantages of using Heroku include:
- Heroku does not allow users to run any other services on its dynos.
- The platform has low network performance.
- When you want to add more dynos or dynos workers, you have to incur a cost of $35 per month. This can be costly for businesses with large and high-traffic apps.
- Inbound and outbound latency is high.
- Heroku dynos are frequently unreachable for several reasons.
- This platform could be better for running heavy computing projects.
- There is a limitation on the types of instances you can run.
Heroku vs AWS: The Differences
The best approach to the Heroku vs AWS debate is to know how the two cloud models differ. AWS is an IaaS platform offering developers the required products to create a development environment. On the other hand, Heroku is a PaaS that provides a ready-to-use environment where developers can shove code, conduct simple configurations, and run applications.
Below are more ways in which the two cloud computing solutions differ.
1. Type of Business
Heroku vs AWS in PaaS is a great choice when running an enterprise project or startup. This is because the PaaS platform has ready-made tools that your staff can use but need help managing. All you need to do is adjust settings that match your project or functions and avoid interfering with what your project does not need.
However, if you have a medium- or large-scale business and require high-quality AWS App Development, you should go for AWS offered as an IaaS. Such a platform will give your development team full control over the computing infrastructure to enhance business growth.
2. Deployment Speed
Heroku suits many small businesses and startups because it provides ready-to-use tools. Considering the specific business and its requirements, developers must feed the code, make changes, finish deploying at incredible speeds, and begin servicing the application.
Heroku vs AWS comes with everything already configured for startups, from server setup automation to provisioning. Furthermore, you will have exclusive power-packed benefits such as health tracking and other complex features.
On the contrary, AWS is an excellent fit for companies with large-scale operations since the platform has diverse products and services that make deployment faster and more flexible. AWS requires expert DevOps experts to manage its interface and deployment so they can handle its massive volume of information and operations.
Regarding Heroku pricing vs. AWS, you must carefully compare costs and evaluate all the charges. For Heroku, the prices are based on the tools and resources powering your apps, for instance, add-ons and several dynos (virtual machines). For each hour of use, Heroku costs $0.05.
On the other hand, the pricing structure of AWS is based on the total number of services you use at varied costs. Since AWS has several services and products, you could pick what is convenient and fitting for you and only pay for that. Per hour of use, AWS generally costs $0.013.
4. Ease of Use
Heroku vs AWS can deploy within several clicks and minutes from zero to live production without pre-setup. To make it easy for startups to use the platform, it comes with everything already configured, from server setup to provisioning. Furthermore, you get dedicated power-packed benefits such as health surveillance and other advanced features. All you have to do is determine the prerequisites and make your preferences on the platform.
With AWS, you need the help of experts who can manually intervene and manage its interface and deployment, handling its vast details and operations. The hosting system is not easy for beginners and suits sophisticated products developed by professionals. Managed services experts can help ensure the hosting system’s flexibility and enable you to set it up well.
5. Infrastructure Management:
Heroku rarely needs infrastructure management as it is offered as a Platform as a Service (PaaS). Its demands, settings, and level of operations are well managed and balanced with the pre-built setup, allowing teams to focus on auto-scaling in real time to avoid interfering with underlying server settings and load balancing.
On the contrary, AWS is available as an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) product. This means that companies will require the technical expertise of a skilled developer to develop and deploy it. Still, AWS will always be the better choice for organizations that handle countless traffic every day.
Regarding integrations, there are several differences between Heroku and AWS. For Heroku, there is a vast marketplace full of third-party add-ons you could easily integrate into an application, such as logging tools, caching services, and databases.
Integration is easy and continuous since the platform has Heroku CI, a fast, visual, low-configuration test runner. While AWS offers a vast range of integrations and services, its setup could need more configuration and management.
7. Monitoring & Logging
Librato and Heroku Dashboard are some of the Monitoring tools made available by Heroku. AWS also has several tools for handling Monitoring activities, such as AWS Trusted Advisor and Amazon CloudWatch.
About Logging options, Heroku has Papertrail, Coralogix Logging, and Heroku Logging Add-ons. AWS, on the other hand, has AWS CloudTrail and CloudWatch Logs as its logging options.
8. Geographical Region
Regarding admin support, there are clear differences between Heroku vs AWS. The main geographical regions where Heroku offers support include the USA, Europe, Australia, and Japan.
As for AWS, the company has expanded its operations in more than 25 regions worldwide, including South America, the USA, China, Asia Pacific, and Europe.
9. Scalability & Availability
Since Heroku is a Git-based cloud system, it is easy to deploy, and with CLI, using the platform is trouble-free. It also allows you to scale your operations horizontally.
With additional traffic, you can seamlessly boost your existing system with more resources, such as Dynoss (virtual application containers). Furthermore, since Heroku has a distributed architecture that automatically pushes restart in case of a failure in the dynos, applications are always highly available.
A GUI management console handles all the setup and monitoring, and a sophisticated configuration CLI for AWS. Both functionalities make using AWS very easy. Teams can manually scale resources or use the auto-scaling feature as they condense or expand the resources to suit their demand.
Furthermore, AWS comes with various advanced tools and services, such as AWS Lambda and Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud). These functionalities handle automatic failover and expectantly perform automatic code execution, foreshadowing the situation. In essence, they improve the overall reliability and availability of applications. Additionally, Amazon CloudWatch readily offers enhanced monitoring and logging.
10. Storage & Database Options
Heroku has several storage and database solutions to manage your application data. However, you have to consider the size and structure of your data to find a solution that best suits your business structure. The top common Heroku vs AWS storage and database solutions are:
- Heroku Redis: A quick and scalable key-value data store.
- Heroku Postgres: A fully managed regional database service rooted in PostgreSQL.
- Apache Cassandra: An open-source NoSQL database with great scalability and availability.
- Cloudcube: Offers file storage in Amazon S3 and has a GUI interface to make it easy to share files.
- MongoDB: A document-aligned database whose data model is flexible and scalable.
- Apache Kafka: Distributed data stores that apply to ingest and, in real-time, process data streaming.
AWS also allows you to conveniently and seamlessly manage data with its top storage and database solutions, including the following:
- Amazon DynamoDB: A managed NoSQL database service with quick and steady performance.
- Amazon S3: An object storage service where you can store and access data.
- Amazon EBS: A block storage service that offers raw block-level storage that you can attach to EC2 instances.
- Amazon ElastiCache: A managed in-memory service speeding up dynamic web applications by recouping data from quick memory caches rather than sluggish disk-based databases.
- Amazon RDS: A managed regional database service that supports popular engines, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Postgres SQL, and MySQL.
- Amazon Glacier. Lowly-priced archival storage service for secure and durable database storage that you can use for long-term backup and archiving.
So, What to Choose as a Startup in 2023?
When looking for a lightning-fast setup, Heroku has an intuitive command line that helps you finish the process within 10 minutes. The platform also has Git Push for easy deployment, numerous add-ons to help you optimize work, and flexible auxiliary functionalities like Docker and Redis. The platform offers a free tier if you want to experiment with cloud computing.
Undoubtedly, Heroku vs AWS Cloud is the ideal choice for beginners. Furthermore, since it does not need a DevOps team to set it up, it may be an excellent choice for low-budget projects. However, most startups find this platform an ideal launching pad as it is straightforward.
On the other hand, AWS is mostly adored due to its cost-efficiency. While it may have complex usability, Amazon has filled it with numerous web hosting products and features that allow you to enhance your projects significantly.
This includes supplementary tools like Lightsail, EC2, and Lambda that let you improve your web hosting experience and manage your cloud infrastructure. However, you will usually need a DevOps team to take full advantage of the AWS platform and its functionalities.
|Heroku Vs AWS: What to Choose?|
|Use Heroku If:||Use AWS If:|
|You are a beginner or a startup;||You have already familiarized yourself with Amazon web products;|
|Your priority is time and not money;||You want full control over the server and environment configurations;|
|You only want to deal with app creation rather than handling infrastructure routine operations||Your objective is to have a flexible infrastructure|
|You want to deploy and test an MVP.||You need auto-scaling and want to avoid numerous functions related to app deployment.|
|You do not plan to spend money on hiring a DevOps team.||You have strong DevOps skills or are ready to hire corresponding experts;|
|Your products must be updated regularly.||Your projects need vast computing power (over 14 GB RAM dynos).|
Now that you have all the essential AWS vs Heroku facts, which hosting services provider do you think is the best? The truth is, while both platforms have similar goals, their use cases vary significantly. When choosing between the two, you need to understand the features your company is after and the amount you are prepared to pay for them.
Compare Heroku vs AWS pricing keenly and determine which makes more sense for your business. This is critical if you need to expand or downsize your operations regularly. You also have to ascertain your team’s skill sets (particularly DevOps) in your team before picking any of the two platforms. The best choice is the one that helps you achieve your business objectives while simultaneously keeping your developers productive.
Furthermore, making a good decision after an insightful Heroku vs AWS comparison should be easy. You need to know the amount of attention you want to give to your cloud hosting platform. If you only want to concentrate on your project without having to tinker with the hosting system’s infrastructure now and then, Heroku is the best pick. However, if you want complete control over the system and its configurations, AWS is ideal.
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Q. Is AWS Faster Than Heroku?
AWS offers a wide range of services, including computing, networking, and storage, that allow you to fine-tune performance. Heroku prioritizes ease of use and abstracts many technical details, which could cause fine-tuning limitations. However, the performance of each platform depends on your specific use case.
Q. Is Heroku an AWS Competitor?
Not really. Heroku is a PaaS product built on AWS infrastructure. While the two platforms are not direct competitors, they have overlapping services. AWS offers IaaS and other cloud services, whereas Heroku abstracts more complexities for developers.
Q. What Are the Advantages of Heroku Over AWS?
Heroku vs AWS is known for its developer-friendliness and simplicity. It is a quick way to deploy applications and a great choice if you want to focus on development without focusing too much on server management.
Q. Is Heroku Owned by AWS?
No. Heroku is not and has never been owned by AWS. It was acquired by Salesforce in 2010. However, Heroku hosts its platform on AWS infrastructure.
Q. Which Is Good for Small Businesses, AWS or Heroku?
In the Heroku vs AWS comparison, we see that both Heroku and AWS can be ideal for small businesses, depending on their needs. Heroku’s simplicity may be appealing to a business with limited technical expertise, Heroku’s simplicity may be appealing. AWS offers more control and flexibility but may need more technical knowledge to optimize.