Firebase vs. Parse Server

Firebase vs. Parse Server

Google has recently released a new version of Firebase. It provides a unified platform to build Android, iOS, and web Apps. Admob, Analytics, Authentication, Indexing, Test Lab, and Notifications are some of the new features introduced in the latest version of Firebase.
Parse Server is a better choice to build new apps or API’s. Read on to get a sense of comparison between the two and to understand why Parse Server is still better.



There are still many Android and iOS apps that have Parse as their backend. But since Facebook has given a deadline to migrate these apps, developers are on a constant lookout for alternatives. Firebase from Google is one such alternative that can host web apps.
Below are some of the striking features of Firebase that seem to be advantageous to the developers.

Data Storage

Firebase stores the data in JSON format. JSON data is readily available through REST API’s or by using client libraries. The data is stored in the cloud and thus can be accessed from anywhere.

Real-time data sync

Firebase is designed with a model-observer scheme which is most useful for interactive apps. Any change in data done on the server is updated to the registered clients in real-time. The data syncs almost instantly on the client devices.

Cloud messaging and remote customization of apps enables to update the app variables instantly.

Authentication and data security

It is robust, cross-platform APIs for Android and iOS apps. It also supports Javascript with highly flexible security API. Authentication through Twitter, Facebook, and Google are validated.

Central Database

The users need not have to worry about hosting data as Firebase will take care of it. With a central database, Firebase can update all the users with real-time data.



Google is supporting Firebase similar to how Facebook supported Parse. But now, Facebook has shut down Parse and developers have been presented with the open source version of it. Here are some of the best features of Parse Server.



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Parse Server

Parse Server is the open source version of Parse that has been supported by a strong community of open source developers. In fact, Parse Server has worked on the shortcomings that were present in Parse and retained the good things that were present in Parse. With the Parse Server self-hosted by the users, it can be the best platform to develop new Android or iOS apps or API’s.


Easy to deploy

Parse Server needs infrastructure that runs on Node.js and it supports Express web app framework. Once you have the data ready in the database, you don’t need any significant changes to the client code to run your applications.

Data storage

Parse used MongoDB to store data and Amazon S3 bucket to store file system. Parse Server has enhanced database functionalities such as performance refactoring, data backup and restore, and indexing.
With Parse Server, users can choose a file system of their choice. There is also an option of storing files in JSON format as a backup. These JSON files can be imported whenever needed.
Parse had a cap on the number of queries, cloud functions, and database triggers but Parse Server has no such limitations.

Pointer permission

Parse Server has managed to ensure data security without changing client code. Pointer permission is one of the most recent updates for the Parse Server and is available in the latest version of Parse Server.


Parse was well-known for its dashboard and Parse Server has all the amazing dashboard features of Parse. The dashboard enables users to manage and configure their apps and send push notifications.

Live Queries

Users need not make the same queries every time they need data. Users can construct a query and Parse Server will fetch real-time data as and when the resulting data changes.


Vendor lock-in

The advantage of open source development environment is that the developers have full control over the source code. They have the power of migrating the data to different platforms when they require.
When Facebook announced the shutdown of Parse, developers had to migrate data and application to another BaaS or MBaaS. With such an experience, trusting any other BaaS may seem unacceptable to them anymore.
Parse Server has long-term stability compared to any such vendor-based platforms. With a strong community background and feature-rich open source platform, Parse Server is undoubtedly better than Firebase to develop Android, iOS or web application API’s.

Quick comparison

Firebase can host Android, iOS and web applications and so does Parse Server. But as far as Parse Server is concerned, it has all the features of Firebase and much more advantages that it can offer to the users.

  • Users of Firebase will not have full access to their source code and IP ownership of app components is denied.
  • With embedded platforms, REST API’s of Firebase cannot be implemented quickly.
  • Reporting tools are not strong enough in Firebase.
  • Data migration is not as easy as Parse Server.
  • Firebase does not support simple Geo queries.
  • Parse Cloud Code is much superior compared to even the latest version of Firebase.
  • Above all, Firebase users are vendor-locked.




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Comments ( 19 )

  1. ReplyJames Stewart
    Alysson, thanks for sharing this article. Is Firebase a good option to migrate from
    • ReplyAlysson Melo
      Hi James. Actually Firebase its not a good option for Parse migration. Using Firebase you should learn how to use a new technology, rewrite all your backend App, rewrite all the API communication (front-end) and manually migrate all your database data. Additionally I think the Firebase still have the same problem that had, the vendor Lock-in. Parse Server now its open source and have, so you can enjoy a powerfull framework without locks! I recommend you use a Parse Server hosting solution. Try back4app!
  2. ReplyHigor
    Nice article! Thank you!
  3. ReplyMike Miller
    Open Source is much better and I will avoid vendor lock in.
  4. ReplyKashif
    But Parse is going to close very soon , so the only option is Firebase
    • ReplyAlysson Melo will close but Parse Server is open-source and with more than 11k contributors on repository :)
  5. ReplyAwa
    What will happen with back4app once swift 3.0 is out? Will the Parse SDK be updated?
  6. Replyxissburg
    I have been working on migrating to parse open source for a month or two now and it's been a pain in the ass. It has a bunch of bugs that don't get fixed. They're hard to debug and sometimes even understand what's going on. I randomly have issues with ACLs, getting access denied errors which stops happening if I sign out and sign in again. Another huge issue I have is that a few times the server just hanged, stopped responding, no errors, no nothing... had to restart it. That is terrible and unacceptable. This cannot be used in production.
  7. ReplyMahesh
    According to parse official website parse will stop start of 2017
    • ReplyAlysson Melo
      This article is about Parse Server, the open source version of
    • ReplyAlysson Melo will close but Parse Server is open-source and with more than 11k contributors on repository :)
  8. ReplyJohn Salazar
    Parse Server is a much better option than Firebase.
  9. ReplyFlorian
    You mentioned that Firebase provides ways for authentication. Does Parse Server offer something similar?
    • ReplyAlysson Melo
      Yes. Login with facebook, twitter, LinkeIn, Google+ and others social networks.
  10. ReplyDavid
    Firebase doesn't store data as JSON... It's on Mongo or at least used to be.
    • ReplySteven L
      MongoDB and most NoSql databases store things as JSON. If you want to get really technical it stores documents in Binary JSON which just extends JSON to give it additional field options

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