Free Heroku PostgreSQL alternatives

Free plan end – Free heroku PostgreSQL alternatives

According to the original Heroku blog post, as part of strategical decisions, starting from November 28 of 2022 Heroku will stop offering free Dynos and Data plans including PostgreSQL. Databases not upgraded to paid plans will be shut down and deleted. So, what’s next? Here we will name some free Heroku PostgreSQL alternatives for those who find always free cloud PostgreSQL database cloud hosting valuable:

  • Personal use
  • Learning: Training demos and laboratories
  • Small companies, SOHO, startups
  • Small projects, low cost solutions, giveaway functional demos

Supabase – PostgreSQL based Firebase alternative

Supabase describes itself as an open-source alternative to Google Firebase, offering free PostgreSQL database cloud instances. Furthermore, Supabase offers API auto generation from database tables (Edge functions) and integrated authentication login pages. The always free tier includes 2 projects and up to 500 MB of database storage which would work for small projects. Additional to the database storage, the free plan includes 1 GB file storage. As Supabase is a fairly comprehensive offer, it has its own drawbacks:

  • Storage may fall short for QA or small production environments
  • Some of its functionality and add-ons are in Alpha state, so keep an eye on it.
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Table editor
Create new table
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SQL editor with To-Do example loaded

Overall, Supabase seems the natural path for free heroku PostgreSQL alternatives and it’s worth to check it out.

ElephantSQL – Basic PostgreSQL cloud hosting

With 5 concurrent connections and 20MB of storage in the free tier (Tiny Turtle), ElephantSQL offers a basic PostgreSQL database for development. Only one user per free “Team” is allowed and most of the tools are locked until you upgrade to a paid plan.

ElephantSQL administration console
SQL Editor

PostgreSQL on IaaS – Full control hosting

There are several offerings in the Always Free tier of some cloud hosting providers like Google, which offers limited time virtual machine instances and Oracle which offers 2 Always Free VM and the possibility of a 4 ARM core VM with 24GB RAM. The obvious advantage is that you have a full featured PostgreSQL server on cloud. Drawbacks of this approach is that you will have to install and configure your database server and take care of not exceeding the free tier limits. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers 2 free instances without usage limits as well as ARM based options (with usage limits). Although there are storage limits, compared with Heroku Data PostgreSQL offering, this option provides better features, configurations and PostgreSQL extensions support.

Another benefit to consider in this setup is the full control of the server. This allows to host additional software products:

  • Full development or QA environments
  • LDAP servers
  • web and application servers
  • Load balancers
  • batch processes

PostgreSQL documentation has instructions on how to install and setup the database on your favorite OS.

PostgreSQL container on IaaS – Easy cloud hosting

Installing a PostgreSQL Docker container on free IaaS is another option too. With few computing resources in the free tier, I suggest to make some benchmarks. The good news: you save a lot of time configuring the PostgreSQL server. This setup presents the same benefits of native IaaS as well as container technologies benefits for a development or test environment (or even production environments).

The official PostgreSQL docker image page has the instructions on how to install and setup this container based alternative.

Oracle Cloud Autonomous Database Always Free

I know, I know, Oracle is not PostgreSQL but an alternative as the Oracle offering has many common features and for most common use cases, DDL and DML translation is straightforward. This Always Free tier is a full featured database with reasonable size and cloud networking limitations but capable enough for development, learning, laboratories, demos, etc. In a previous article we explored how to get a free Oracle Cloud database.

Oracle, Java, and MySQL are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.



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One response to “Free Heroku PostgreSQL alternatives”

  1. […] excellent set of tools for development environments, learning and personal use. As there are other free alternatives, Oracle offers a comprehensive managed cloud […]