Dokku vs Firebase

A huge part of modern application development is getting the projects out of the development machines and into the web where the users can actually use the products and benefit from them.

Mobile app development is made significantly easier with the help of platforms like Dokku and Firebase, which handle the source code deployment and other messy server configurations, allowing developers to improve the actual app and its user experience.

Let’s take a look at two such platforms, Dokku and Firebase, and compare them to find which one better suits your requirements.

What is Dokku? 

According to the GitHub page of Dokku, it is a docker based Heroku that helps you build and manage the application development lifecycle.

Essentially, it is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) software that runs on your server and handles tasks like managing sites into docks or containers, moves the source code, builds SSL certificates, domain assigning, etc. Unlike Heroku, it is open-source, and you can install and run it on your own infrastructure.

Dokku is purpose-built to provide developers with a simple and hackable app development environment to allow them to quickly transfer their codes from their hardware to the cloud. It emulates the inner workings of Heroku, allowing you to use it on inexpensive cloud providers and run Heroku-compatible applications in isolated containers.

Dokku Core Features

  • Smallest PaaS implementation

Dokku uses Docker under the hood to build and run applications in separate containers. It is one of the smallest PaaS implementations that significantly improves the productivity of the developers by providing the tools and services necessary to reduce the time taken for backend infrastructure management. It supports several platforms like Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS.

  • Heroku emulation

As stated earlier, Dokku allows developers to push applications using Git, where they are built and packaged into isolated containers. When you push an application, it builds the app using Heroku Buildpacks, ensuring platform compatibility. It builds and manages the application lifecycle on your behalf, allowing you to focus on improving the user experience. You can also customize the build process by providing your own Docker files.

  • Customizable proxy management and Nginx config

Since it runs multiple apps on the same server, Dokku will have to manage different domains for each server to ensure that they are accessible at all times. It also manages the Nginx config and automatically assigns the subdomains when you create an app on a server.

Dokku Advantages 

  • Free and open source

Dokku provides a good balance between cost and functionality and control. It itself is free and open-source and developers get a functional and feature-packed platform where they can build and deploy their applications. Dokku also supports Git deployment and lifetime application management right out of the box.

  • Rich command-line interface

Dokku supports multiple app hosting and everything on the platform can be accessed from the rich command-line interface. The CLI has its own set of application-specific, container-specific, environment variable-specific, and proxy commands that allows developers to quickly build and deploy apps.

  • Plug-in support

Dokku itself is built out of plugins and uses plugn to unlock additional functionality. The comprehensive Dokku plugin ecosystem allows the main application to remain slim and modular without compromising on any additional features like database access.

What is Firebase? 

Firebase is a Google-backed mobile app development platform that provides you with all the necessary tools and services required to develop high-quality applications and grow your business. It is a cloud-based Backend as a Service (BaaS) platform that can be used to deploy high-quality applications without delving into server-side programming.

The primary advantage of using Firebase is its versatility, as it can be deployed for various situations to solve different requirements. It seamlessly integrates with Google and third-party services to improve the functionality of the platform and provide developers with more options to track metrics, securely authenticate users, host static and dynamic websites, etc.

Firebase Features

  • Real-time database: The Firebase NoSQL database is based on the JSON document protocol, which allows developers to store and sync the data among clients in real-time. In addition, the data can be accessed across all devices without the need to code for multiple platforms.
  • Powerful analytics: Since it is powered by Google, Firebase is backed by Google Analytics, which provides one of the most comprehensive analytics tools available on the market. Track unlimited records for up to 500 events that uniquely matter to your organization and take the necessary action based on these metrics.
  • User engagement tools: Firebase also offers multiple tools for user engagement and business growth, which can be linked to third-party services to improve the overall functionality of the application. For example, you can link a defined user segment to AdWords and improve the targeting for your marketing campaigns.

Firebase Advantages

  • Easier A/B testing

Courtesy of Google Optimize comes Firebase A/B Testing that allows developers to test any updates introduced to their applications and better optimize the app experience. This initial testing is crucial to test the response and see if the new updates get the expected ROI before they are rolled to the general audience.

  • No server-side coding

One of the most common reasons why developers prefer Firebase is the robust operational functionality that allows them to create top quality applications without having to code for the backend. Since Firebase easily integrates with third-party services, it can be used to develop a variety of static and dynamic applications with multiple attributes like hosting, storage, etc.

  • Crash reporting and fixing

The direct advantage of Google Analytics and Optimize is that Firebase SDK automatically logs and the developers and testers get notifications about the bugs and crashes in real-time. These errors can then be identified and fixed at the earliest.


Your preferred choice of app development platform will be based on the product and experience that you want to deliver to your audience.

You will need to consider several factors including the developer’s preferred choice of tools and how many parts of the process you need to automate in the app development lifecycle.


What is Dokku?

According to the GitHub page of Dokku, it is a docker based Heroku that helps you build and manage the application development lifecycle.

What is Firebase?

Firebase is a Google-backed mobile app development platform that provides you with all the necessary tools and services required to develop high-quality applications and grow your business.

What are the differences between Dokku and Firebase?

– Dokku is open-source
– Firebase is closed-source
– Dokku is free to download
– Firebase provides Google Cloud hosting

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.