TRENDS - January 2023

Why developers are moving away from Heroku

Marvin Tekautschitznull

Heroku is a popular platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that allows developers to build, run, and manage applications in the cloud. It is known for its ease of use, scalability, and support for some popular programming languages. However, in recent years, developers have been moving away from Heroku and towards other cloud platforms in recent years. This shift has led many users to believe that Heroku has been on a downward trajectory since its acquisition by tech giant Salesforce.

There are several reasons for this shift. Heroku can be more expensive than other cloud platforms, especially for high-traffic or usage applications. Another reason is control, and Heroku's abstracted infrastructure can make it difficult for developers to have complete control over their applications and their underlying infrastructure. Finally, some developers prefer the flexibility and customization offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

It is important to note that Heroku is still a popular and viable platform for many developers, and the solution is still actively supported by its parent company, Salesforce. However, the trend of developers moving away from Heroku highlights the competitive nature of the cloud market and the constantly evolving needs of developers. This article explores these reasons in more detail and discusses why some developers are moving away from Heroku.

7 Reasons for Developers Moving Away From Heroku

Heroku has long been a popular choice for developers seeking a cloud-based platform to host their web applications. However, there are several reasons why developers are increasingly moving away from the platform and exploring alternative options.

Reason 1: Networking Limitations

One of the main reasons why developers are moving away from Heroku is due to the networking limitations that the platform imposes. Heroku uses a proprietary routing layer between the application and the underlying infrastructure. This routing layer directs incoming traffic to the correct dyno (a lightweight container running a single process).

However, this proprietary routing layer has some limitations that can be a deal-breaker for some developers. For example, using custom domain names with Heroku is impossible, as all applications must be accessed through a subdomain of Having the option of custom domains is a standard must-have for developers who want to brand their applications and use their custom domain names.

In addition, Heroku's routing layer does not support certain features, such as WebSockets, which are essential for real-time applications. The lack of WebSockets can be a significant limitation for developers looking to build real-time applications on the platform.

Reason 2: Costly and Limited Scalability

Another challenge that developers experience with Heroku is its costly and limited scalability. Heroku charges users based on the number of dynos they use and the type of dyno (standard or performance). While this model might seem straightforward, it can quickly become expensive for users who need to scale their applications.

Also, Heroku has some limitations when it comes to scalability. For example, users can only scale their applications up to a certain point, as the platform does not support horizontal scaling, which can be a significant drawback for developers who want to build highly scalable applications.

While Heroku does offer tools for scaling applications, it can take time to achieve the level of scalability that some developers need. For example, if an application experiences a sudden increase in traffic, it can take a while to scale up resources to meet the demand quickly. This can be a limitation for developers building applications that need to handle large amounts of traffic and data.

Reason 3: Very Few Regions are Available

Another reason developers are moving away from Heroku is the limited number of available regions. Heroku only has data centers in the United States and Europe, which can significantly limit developers who want to deploy their applications in other regions globally.

The lack of regions can be challenging for developers targeting specific regions or countries with their applications. It can also be an issue for developers who want to comply with specific data regulations or laws that might differ in different regions.

Reason 4: Lack of Support for Certain Languages and Frameworks

Many developers are moving away from Heroku because of a lack of support for specific languages and frameworks. While Heroku supports diverse languages and frameworks, some are not supported. For example, it does not support Go, a popular language among developers.

Heroku doesn't support certain frameworks, like Django Channels, which is popular for building real-time applications. This lack of support can limit developers who want to use these languages and frameworks on the platform.

Reason 5: Resource Limitations

Another significant reason that developers are moving away from Heroku is the resource limitations that the platform imposes. Heroku limits the amount of memory and CPU resources that developers can use by an application, which can be a significant issue for developers who need to scale their applications to handle large amounts of traffic.

These resource limitations can be particularly problematic for developers working on applications requiring a lot of memory or CPU resources, as they may find their application becomes slow or unresponsive when it reaches its resource limits.

Reason 6: Poor Performance and Frequent Outages

Developers are also leaving Heroku because of poor performance. While Heroku is known for being easy to use, it also receives a lot of criticism for its slow response times and poor performance compared to other cloud platforms.

This poor performance is an issue for developers trying to build high-performance applications, as it can make it challenging to deliver a seamless user experience.

Reason 7: Limited Customization Options

Finally, another reason developers are moving away from Heroku is due to the limited customization options offered by the platform. While Heroku does provide a wide range of tools and features for developers, it does not offer the same level of customization and control as other platforms. For example, Heroku may not support certain language runtime versions or specific server configurations, hindering developers who need these options to build their applications.

Additionally, the customization options available on Heroku may not be as flexible as those offered by other platforms. For example, developers may struggle to easily modify the underlying infrastructure or make specific configuration changes to the environment. The lack of customization options can be frustrating for developers who need more control over their applications and the environments in which they deploy them.

The Bottom Line

Developers are increasingly moving away from Heroku for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common complaints include the high cost of hosting and maintenance, lack of control over the hosting environment, and limited scalability options. While Heroku has a loyal user base and a solid reputation in the industry, more developers are seeking alternative platforms that offer greater flexibility and customization.

As the market for cloud-based hosting services continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how Heroku adapts and whether it can compete with newer or nimbler competitors.

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