Under 100K Monthly Visitors for the next 6+ months? Go with Heroku, not AWS
April 25, 2019

Under 100K Monthly Visitors for the next 6+ months? Go with Heroku, not AWS

Ben Gelsey | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Heroku

As a Ruby on Rails freelancer/consultant (and website owner) I often am tasked to choose the initial hosting stack for my client's new websites/app backends. While Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the new "nobody got fired for buying IBM," I always advise my clients to start with Heroku. With Heroku, your developers will waste zero time on boilerplate configuration tasks that every website needs. Sure, Heroku might cost 2x more than AWS (after all, they themselves are built on AWS), but if your fixed cost in developer time is also 2X, then as a startup you'll come out way ahead using Heroku.
In summary, if you want brain-dead simple hosting for popular web frameworks like Ruby on Rails, NodeJS, to this day nobody beats Heroku.
  • Amazingly clear and straightforward documentation (versus the quagmire of AWS docs).
  • Deploy your entire site in one command.
  • Setting up asynchronous job processing for long running operations (e.g. sending emails, making external API calls).
  • A wonderful portfolio of tightly-integrated add-ons in their marketplace.
  • Large price jumps between certain resource tiers (2x Dyno for $50 per month versus Performance Dyno for $250). Free Postgres next jumps to $50 per month.
  • Marketing/Branding to non-technical stakeholders. As the years pass, I've had to fight more to convince stakeholders on the value of Heroku over AWS.
  • Improve Buildpack documentation. This is one area where Heroku's documentation is fairly confusing.
  • Saves myself and other developers time; we can focus on the website functionality, not boilerplate hosting issues.
  • No noticeable downtime I've experienced in 6 years of usage. They're solid.
  • Keeps the focus on the product, not the hosting.
To this day no other PaaS matches Heroku in ease of use and maturity. If you want to stay 100% focused on your unique product/service rather than wasting time on boilerplate hosting issues, I can highly recommend Heroku. I personally use it for all of my own websites (flightsmachine.com) and also recommend every client I work with to use Heroku (4 different projects so far). Don't bang your head against the wall fighting with the cumbersome AWS Elastic Beanstalk (like I tried once). It's not worth it unless you are a high traffic site (+100,000 monthly visitors).
TransferWise, Crashlytics, Scout, IBM Cloud Databases (formerly Compose), JIRA Software, JW Player, Mailgun, Hotjar, Zoom, GitHub, CloudFlare, MongoDB, Redis
Heroku is great if your developer's time is more valuable than your expected hosting bill. I'd put the magic number at 100,000 monthly users for a typical site. If your traffic will be below this for the next 6+ months, then Heroku is a no-brainer over more complex and unwieldy competitors like AWS. Only invest the effort in AWS when your traffic is high enough to merit it.

Heroku Platform Feature Ratings

Platform management overhead
Platform access control
Services-enabled integration
Development environment creation
Development environment replication
Issue monitoring and notification
Issue recovery
Upgrades and platform fixes