NodeChef – The Best Heroku Alternative

NodeChef is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) which developers, and teams of all sizes can use to deploy, manage and scale their apps whether it’s a simple prototype or a business-critical app. NodeChef combines the best features and leading technologies from companies like Google, Docker, and many more so that your team can use cutting-edge technologies. NodeChef does the heavy lifting for you. But NodeChef is not the only PaaS available to you. Below, we will attempt to show how NodeChef is the best alternative to Heroku, especially for the many out there looking for a viable alternative.

Container Technology

NodeChef Platform and Heroku Platform use the container model to run and scale apps. NodeChef runs your app in Docker containers while Heroku runs your app in containers called “dynos.” Containers are typically run on shared host, yet are completely isolated from each other. Both NodeChef and Heroku provide you with an easy way to scale and manage the number, size, and type of containers your app may need at any point in time. You can scale your apps both vertically and/or horizontally. The advantage NodeChef has over Heroku here is that NodeChef runs your app in Docker containers on bare metal servers while Heroku runs dynos probably on AWS EC2 instances. This means you will experience better performance on NodeChef and this translates into savings as you will not require many docker containers like you will need dynos to make your app performant. As this is all managed, you do not have to worry about managing servers, orchestration, load balancing, failovers, security, and many more.

Popular Languages

Not only does NodeChef allow you to focus on your app and not worry about the underlying infrastructure, it is also flexible as it supports all the popular languages. NodeChef offers dedicated Java hosting, PHP hosting, Node.js hosting, Python, .Net hosting, Ruby hosting, Go hosting, and Elixir hosting You can also bring your own language runtimes and frameworks if you choose. NodeChef support for all languages is implemented via a set of open source Heroku and Cloud foundry buildpacks. This means you can easily migrate from Heroku or any platform that uses either Heroku or Cloud foundry buildpacks without any trouble. With the support of open source buildpacks we are making sure there is no vendor lock-in.

Highly Scalable NoSQL and SQL databases

The majority of apps require a database and this is why at NodeChef, fully managed databases is a core component of the platform. It is most efficient to have your apps and databases running in the same datacenter. NodeChef, therefore, supports the most popular databases: MongoDB, Redis, MySQL, PostgreSQL while Heroku supports only Redis and PostgreSQL. NodeChef databases run on bare metal servers meaning you get the best performance at the lowest cost. NodeChef databases are also rich with features you won’t find in any managed database company. For example, NodeChef managed MongoDB boasts of features like continuous backups and point in time restore, index suggestions and automated indexing, migration to NodeChef with no downtime and many more. All these mean you can sleep more and grow more.

Code Deployments

One of the advantages of a PaaS platform is the ease of deploying your app code and NodeChef is literally the winner in this space by a wide margin. NodeChef provides multiple ways to deploy your code while Heroku provides limited ways. At NodeChef, we support deploying using CLI, upload from dashboard UI or deploying from Git repository. While Heroku supports only GitHub, NodeChef supports GitHub, GitLab and Bitbucket integrations. You can get your app live in seconds. And on top of that, you get free SSL, zero-downtime deployments, IPv6 ready and web sockets, routing rules and wildcard domains, email alerts on container state change and many more.


NodeChef offers built-in monitoring like uptime metrics, response and connect latency of all application containers, real-time structured HTTP logs, number of active clients, requests per second, CPU and memory usage of all containers. This offering is more advanced than what Heroku offers.

Multiple Datacenters

NodeChef offers more datacenters that Heroku, so that you can deploy your apps in regions that best suit your app. NodeChef offers datacenters in US-East, EU-Central, Singapore and Sydney.


It is not in doubt that price is a major factor when choosing any platform to host your apps. And you will see that even though NodeChef does not offer a free tier, it is still the cheapest PaaS available even for a small app. To illustrate this, let’s assume you have built a Node.js app with MongoDB as the database. If you go with Heroku free tier, your app sleeps after 30 mins of inactivity so you are forced to move to the “Hobby” tier which costs $7. Now since Heroku does not offer MongoDB hosting, you need to find another platform for hosting your database. If you go with mLab “Sandbox” plan which is free, mLab states this plan is for prototyping and there is a reason why. You are therefore inclined to move to the shared hosting plan which starts at $15 per GB. So in total you need to spend $22 ($7+$15) to host your small app. However, when hosted on NodeChef it will only cost you $9 or $15 for both the app and database and the best part is all databases are dedicated and run on bare metal servers. NodeChef's value can’t be beat. And the price gets cheaper when compared with the competition for bigger apps as well.


NodeChef offers support for all its customers. In some cases, clients might require premium support. While NodeChef premium supports starts at $300 per month, Heroku charges the greater of $1,000/month or 20% of total bill per month with a minimum commitment of three months. This makes premium support out of reach for many developers and teams.

To conclude, It is not in doubt that application packaging and deployment can get complicated. And that’s the problem Platform as a Service like NodeChef solves. And NodeChef solves the problem better than the competition. NodeChef is the only alternative Heroku platform that offers a simple, yet flexible way to deploy container-based apps. With all this said, there is no need to waste any more time now. Go ahead and deploy your apps. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Happy coding!

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