Firebase Alternatives – Top 10+ Competitors

Firebase Alternatives – Top 10+ Competitors
Firebase Alternatives

The goal of every developer is to create awesome apps.  If you’re a developer, we are here to help you discover some of the best alternatives to Firebase to help take your mobile app development a notch higher.

Firebase continues to innovate and dominate the backend as a service (BaaS) market. It has grown so much that it has become a key component of Google’s mobile strategy. I was a Firebase enthusiastic user in the past, but my concerns about its complexity and cost led me to explore other cloud alternatives. While Firebase offers an increasingly sophisticated array of services that takes care of various development requirements, it’s not always the easiest, fastest, or most affordable option. The article “Reasons Not to Use Firebase” also enlightened me about the risks of using Firebase.

In addition to some first-tier competitors such as Parse, the number of cloud providers has increased significantly.  These companies provide services that benefit small developers in unique ways, such as user-friendliness and affordability.

In this tutorial, you will learn about multiple Firebase competitors. Some are relatively new companies but still provide useful services to developers. The tutorial will cover the following competitors:

  1. Parse – Open Source Backend Platform;
  2. Back4app – Parse Hosting Platform;
  3. Kinvey – Mobile Backend as a Service (mBaaS) for the Enterprise;
  4. Backendless – Mobile Backend and API Services Platform;
  5. Kuzzle – Backend for web, hybrid, or native mobile apps and IoT projects;
  6. Pubnub – Real-time APIs and Global Messaging;
  7. Kumulos – App Performance Management;
  8. Game Sparks – Game Backend Platform;
  9. Hoodie – Generic backend with a client API for Offline First applications;
  10. Deployd – Simple core library, with a modular API for your application.
  11. Amplify JS – Open-source Javascript framework
  12. Heroku – Platform as a service backed by Salesforce

Parse – Why Parse Platform is still a better option?

Parse

Parse is a mobile and web application development platform acquired by Facebook in 2013. The project was open-sourced in 2016 and has enjoyed the support of a robust developer ecosystem since then. Parse is an excellent choice because it is Open Source, has a strong developer community to support the technology, and it’s not a vendor lock-in platform. The downsides are the lack of structured support through the developer community and the requirement of setting up server infrastructure.

Developers worldwide have been engaging in heated arguments regarding the most affordable platform for building and scaling mobile apps. This article shall explore several compelling arguments that justify the reasons why Parse is preferable to Firebase for mobile app development.

Don’t believe me? Keep on reading to understand the logic behind my arguments. The basis of my comparison includes qualities such as vendor lock-in, pricing, hosting options, data storage, and platform features.

1. Vendor Lock-in

Firebase is a Google-backed closed source platform with many excellent features that allow developers to create an MVP quickly. However, vendor lock-in one of its biggest concerns among developers and the main shortcoming of Firebase.

You won’t want to invest time and money, developing an app, and have no control over the source code. It’s not a smart decision. An astute venture capitalist or angel investor would be reluctant to fund your startup if you cannot access your app’s source code. In essence, using a closed source platform may undermine the chances of scaling your app.

On the contrary, the Parse platform was open-sourced by Facebook in 2016 and made available for free download.  The framework can be used under the terms of the BSD License that offers extensive freedom and flexibility to use the software.

Firebase

Closed SourceVendor Lock-In
ParseOpen Source

No Lock-In 

2. Pricing

If you are using Firebase, you should remember that server costs can increase significantly as your app begins to scale. Although Firebase offers a free plan, the free tier’s limitations make it suitable for small apps only. Once your app starts scaling, you need to upgrade to the Blaze plan that does not have a fixed pricing structure. Blaze is a ‘pay as you go’ service plan that bills you based on the server resources your app uses. In essence, you cannot fix the maximum monthly budget for your app. Consequently, you may get unpleasant surprises by the end of the billing cycle.

On the other hand, Parse offers a more flexible pricing option. For instance, top players like Back4app or Digital Ocean provides apps as low as $5/month.  You can upgrade your hosting plan as the need arises.

3. Hosting Options

Firebase offers only one type of hosting setup at Google Cloud platform. So, you are compelled to use Firebase cloud infrastructure and share resources with other applications. This approach is not the best option for complex applications that require customized server settings for optimal performance. Since Firebase does not offer Dedicated Server or Enterprise contracts, you may face several limitations once your app begins to scale.

In direct contrast to Firebase, the hosting option of Parse is highly flexible. You can choose the self-hosting option and deploy your Parse project on your selected server, such as Digital Ocean, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and so on. Alternatively, you can use professional Parse hosting services like Back4app. Another benefit of Parse is the possibility of running your application on dedicated instances and avoiding noisy neighbors jeopardizing your app performance.

 Cloud HostingSelf-Hosting

Dedicated

Servers

Firebase          X           –         –
ParseX

X

4. Data Storage

According to item 1.5 of Firebase’s Terms of Service, the data is stored on US datacenters.

1.5: Data Storage. Unless otherwise provided for by the Paid Services, Customer Data will be stored in the United States (“Hosting Data Location”), except that the Hosting Data Location may not apply to Customer Data copied by Customer or a Customer’s End User to another location or used with other Google products and services.

Firebase Privacy and Security documentation revealed that the platform satisfies GDPR requirements. The document also revealed that the data storage and processing locations may vary by service.

Parse is more flexible in this regard. Given the freedom to host Parse on the server of your choice, the storage of data, and service can be anywhere around the world.

5. GraphQL APIs

One weakness of Firebase is the lack of support for GraphQL API. It works perfectly with REST and has vast documentation for developers. However, Firebase does not support GraphQL at this time. 

The open-source community of Parse released the production version of GraphQL API in 2020. Parse support for GraphQL takes it a step ahead of Firebase.

6. NoSQL Database & Limited Queries

Firebase works with a closed-source NoSQL database for Firestore and the Real-Time database. It imposes users the restrictions of a NoSQL database, including very limited querying and indexing.

On the other hand, with Parse, you can choose between NoSQL and SQL databases. For users looking for the SQL backend as a service, Parse provides the option to use Postgres.

The best Firebase alternatives

Let’s compare Firebase vs several competitors. Below are the best alternatives to Firebase:

Back4App

Back4app is the best Firebase Alternative

Back4app is the most popular Parse hosting platform in the world today. It provides a fully managed backend featuring automated provisioning and scaling of Parse Server applications, backup and recovery, 24/7 monitoring and alerting, web-based management tools, technical support, and much more.

The benefits derivable from Back4app are pretty much the same as Parse along with some extras. Back4app has many other features such as the user-friendly dashboard, extensive logging options, app autoscaling, support, among many others. The downside of this platform is the lack of proper documentation and non-standardized UI inside its documentation page.

Key features are:

  • Scalable realtime database (SQL or NoSQL)
  • GraphQL and Rest APIs
  • Cloud Code Functions
  • Authentication 
  • Notifications
  • File Storage

Pricing plans are flexible and detailed below:

  • Free tier
  • Starter Plan for $5/mo
  • Basic Plan for $25/mo
  • Standard Plan for $50/mo
  • Pay as you Go Plan for $100/mo
  • Dedicated Servers starting at $250/mo

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Kinvey

Kinvey

Kinvey is a fully-integrated, secure, and HIPAA compliant serverless app development platform. It’s an excellent option for enterprises and developers that want to launch highly engaging mobile apps and other digital businesses. Kinvey gives you the freedom to use the frontend SDK of your choice while still providing virtually any backend function you need.

Some of its key features include standards based on open architecture, no cloud lock-in, extensive documentation, and open-source SDKs. The platform boasts 86% faster release cycles, a complete set of tools to deliver high quality, immersive experiences, and much more. Its major downside is its high costs.

Key features are:

  • Serverless backend
  • Microservices 
  • Cloud functions
  • Enterprise connectors

Pricing plans are detailed below:

  • Free trial available
  • Starter Plan for $2,500/year
  • Starter Pro Plan for $5,000/year
  • Starter Max Plan for $7,500/year
  • Business Edition Plan for $15,000/year
  • Enterprise Plans under quotation

Backendless

backendless

Backendless is a highly scalable mobile Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS) platform providing multiple useful features such as user authentication, live audio, and video streaming. Other Backendless features include message filtering, push notifications, auto-scalability, data persistence, file storage, geo-location, cloud-code, analytics, and custom business logic.

It has all you need to build awesome mobile apps without worrying about server issues. This platform’s drawbacks include conditional message delivery, limited free version, limited resources of the server, which may affect the performance. Moreover, development features are somewhat limited on this platform, making it challenging to perform tasks requiring complex server logic.

Key features are:

  • Visual Programming
  • User Management
  • Realtime Database
  • APIs
  • Push-Notifications

Pricing plans are detailed below:

  • Free tier
  • Developer Plan for $15/mo
  • Cloud 9 Plan for $25/mo
  • Cloud 99 Plan for $99/mo
  • Limitless Plan under quotation
  • Fully managed plan under quotation

Kuzzle

kuzzle

Kuzzle is a ready-to-use, on-premises backend platform designed to power and unify innovative applications for web, mobile, and IoT. Its unique selling points include reducing time-to-market (TTM) of digital products by 40% and the increase of Return on investment (ROI) on innovation cycles.

The Kuzzle backend is an open-source solution that includes a scalable server, a multiprotocol API, and an administration console. It also offers a set of plugin engines that provide advanced functionalities, including real-time pub/sub, blazing fast search, and geospatial queries.

The top reasons developers prefer using Kuzzle over other mobile backends are its persistent storage, Realtime exhaustive filters, multiprotocol support, etc. To use Kuzzle, follow the guideline to download it on your machine. It is also possible to test this platform’s features on the cloud by installing it from AWS Marketplace.

Key features are:

  • User authentication
  • Realtime database
  • Geofencing
  • Admin console

Pricing plans are detailed below:

  • Free tier
  • Managed cloud edition for $1,200/mo

Pubnub

pubnub

Pubnub is an easy-to-use and secure global Data Stream Network (DSN) API that allows developers to connect, scale, and manage realtime applications and IoT devices. 

Apart from its core services, which are Publish/Subscribe, Pubnub Functions, and ChatEngine, Pubnub offers a collection of “building-block” services for any type of realtime application. These services include Offline Mobile Push, Real-time Analytics, Storage/Playback, AES Encryption, Online Presence Detection, Access Management, Multiplexing, and much more. 

The benefits of Pubnub include its simple pricing model, a separate API for managing accounts, flexible integration with custom applications, and client API availability in many technologies and programming languages. This platform’s demerits include the supported message payload size, which is 1.8 kb by default, and the lack of an exclusive isolation level.

Core features are:

  • Realtime communication platform
  • In app chat
  • Alerts and notifications

Pricing plans are detailed below:

  • Starter plan for $49/mo
  • Custom pricing plans

Kumulos

Kumulos

Kumulos is a secure, easy-to-use, and powerful mobile app performance management platform trusted by thousands of app developers across the globe. It lets you link your client-side mobile app to its backend cloud-based storage, setting you free from the hassle of managing your own backend infrastructure.

One of its noticeable features is granular permissions, which is beneficial for mobile app development companies. Its downside is its incomprehensive documentation.

Core features are:

  • In-app messaging
  • Analytics 
  • Crash Reporting
  • App Store Optimization

Game Sparks

gamesparks

Game Sparks is a cloud-based backend development platform for game developers. It helps them build their server-side components without having to set up and run a server. 

What makes this platform so impressive is that it’s completely open, scalable, and customizable. These features make it an ideal framework for building your game backend capability and integrate with existing components. Moreover, its rich social and messaging features help increase players’ engagement and retention rates. So far, we haven’t found any demerits of this platform on the internet.

Core features are:

  • Social Multiplayer
  • Metagame economies
  • Scaling

Pricing plans are detailed below:

  • Development Plan for Free
  • Starter Plan for $299
  • Enterprise Plan under quotation

Hoodie

hoodie

Hoodie is a simple, self-hosted, and offline JavaScript backend that utilizes a no-backend technology that makes development tasks more straightforward. Developing web apps on Hoodie is easy, fast, and manageable. Some of its key features include Node.js integration, no backend programming, and a dream-code driven API that makes coding easy to grasp and understand.

It supports offline development, which means it functions without internet connectivity, and much more. Just like most platforms, it does have some drawbacks as well. For instance, it has a tiny developer community compared to other mobile backends and cannot access Google docs when there’s no internet access.

Deployd

deployd

Deployd is an open-source API design and deployment platform that empowers developers to quickly design, customize, and deploy an API for their application. It consists of a simple core library, with a modular API for extending your application.

Deployd’s local development-friendly design makes it easy for you to build and test APIs while developing your user interface quickly. Some of its features include user management, session management, secure access to database APIs directly from untrusted clients, and support for extension through node modules and npm. All APIs exposed over REST / HTTP can be hosted by modern cloud platforms. Its major downside is that it only supports a NoSQL database.

AWS Amplify

AWS Amplify

AWS Amplify is a cloud-based development platform designed to provide a faster way of building web and mobile applications. It is one of the leading platforms that help developers create and deploy secure, scalable, and flexible applications without hassles.

AWS Amplify comes with a complete set of libraries, incredible UI components, and toolset. It has an attractive and easy to navigate user interface that fosters the development of functional and sleek backend services. Developers can integrate these backend services to their iOS, React, Android, Angular and ionic applications. 

Core features are:

  • Authentication
  • Datastore
  • APIs (REST and GraphQL)
  • Storage
  • Analytics 

AWS Amplify offers a free tier as well as a Pay as you Go plan. The paid version of AWS Amplify is pretty flexible, though. The pricing structure is based on two components given below:

  • Build and deploy is for $0.01 per build minute.
  • Hosting feature for $0.023 for every GB stored monthly and $0.15 per GB served.

Heroku

Heroku

Heroku is a cloud-based Platform as a Service that allows developers and companies to build, deploy, manage, improve, and scale their applications more efficiently. Heroku provides an electric avenue to transform an application idea into a working product. 

Heroku’s complete service range is effective, fast, flexible, and highly reliable for development purposes. These features make the tasks of creating applications less stressful for developers. Furthermore, developers can reduce the stress of app management by using run-time application services with Heroku.

Core features are:

  • Smart containers
  • Continuous integration
  • Scalable hosting

Pricing is easy to understand and detailed below:

  • For the beginners or developers who want to experiment with their basic cloud application, free version of Heroku is the best to consider.
  • Hobby package is available at $7 monthly, which can be effective for anyone owning a small business or want to work on any personal project.
  • If you need Heroku services for any project with professional standards then professional standard package starting from $25 monthly.
  • Performance package starting from $250 is amazing to consider for the ones who want to build applications with high traffic and require more space.

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Vendors Overview

For a compressive vendors review, please check our BaaS Comparison Tool

 

Vendor

Open SourceLock-InSupportDocumentation

Remarks

Firebase

NoYesYesYes 
ParseYesNoNo

Yes

 

Back4app

YesNoYesYes 

Kinvey

NoYesYesYesFocus on the enterprise

Backendless

NoYesYes

Yes

 

Kuzzle

YesNoYes

Yes

 

Pubnub

NoYesYesYes 

Kumulos

NoYesYesYes 

Game Sparks

NoYesYesYes

Focus on game development

HoodieYesNoYesYes 
DeploydYesNoNoYes 

 Pricing

Vendor

Free TierPaid Tier

 

Starts

Remarks

Firebase

YesPay as you Go

Spark Plan

(Free)

Blaze Plan

(Pay as you go)

Parse

YesN/A

Open Source project. Downloading is required and the app has to be hosted in a cloud provider.

Back4app

Yes$5.00/mo

Free Plan

Starter ($5/mo)

Basic ($25/mo)

Standard ($50/mo)

Pay as you Go $100/mo

Dedicated Servers $250 and on

Kinvey

Yes$2,500/year

Starter $2,500 per year

Starter Pro $5,000 per year 

Starter Max 7,500 per year

Business $15,000 per year

Enterprise (Under quotation)

Backendless

Yes$15/mo

Free Plan

Developer $15/mo

Cloud 9 for $25.00/mo

Cloud 99 for $99.00/mo

Other plans available under quotation

Kuzzle

Yes$1,200/mo

Free

From $1,200/mo

Pubnub

Yes$49/mo

Free

Starter $49/mo

Custom Pricing Available

 

Kumulos

No$50/mo30 days free trial

Game Sparks

Yes$299/mo

Development (Free)

Standard ($299)

Enterprise (under quote)

Hoodie

YesN/A

Download only

Deployd

 

YesN/A

Download only

Deployment

Vendor

Cloud

 

Services

Dedicated Servers

On-Premises

Self-Hosting

Firebase

YesNo

No

Parse

NoNo

Yes

Back4app

YesYes

Yes

Kinvey

YesYes

Yes

Backendless

YesYes

Yes

Kuzzle

YesYesYes

Pubnub

YesNoNo
KumulosYesNo

No

Game Sparks

YesYesYes
HoodieNoYes

Yes

DeploydNoYes

Yes 

Features

Vendor

Core Features

Firebase

Realtime DatabaseUser AuthenticationCloud MessagingData
Storage
Push NotificationsAdWords
&
AdMob

Remote Config

Parse

Push NotificationsEasier In-app purchasesAnalyticsRole-based access controlData securityEasy deployment

Pointer Permission

Back4app

Facebook and Twitter IntegrationAutomatic
E-mails
Class Level Permissions (CLPs)Push ConfigScheduling, and segmenting Push NotificationsGlobal ConfigParse Server Dashboard

Kinvey

Data Storage & ModelingUser AuthenticationPush NotificationsApp EncryptionCloud CachingData Security

Microservices Management

BackendlessSocial login for your appRelational data storageQuery-based data searchConstraints & ValidatorsUser AuthenticationSend Push Notifications

Your own cloud code

Kuzzle

AuthenticationNotificationsReal-time GeofencingData managementOffline ManagementReal-time data syncAdvanced search
PubnubIoT Device ControlReal-time updatesStorage & PlaybackStream ControllerPush NotificationsAnalyticsAccess Management
KumulosPush NotificationsCrash Reporting & DiagnosticsAutomatic reporting & analyticsApp Store OptimizationAgency ConsoleSupports iOS, OSX, PHP, as well as AndroidClient App Portal
Game SparksSocial & MultiplayerMeta-game & economiesLive game operationsCore PaaSIntegrationsInfrastructure & operationsMatchmaking
HoodieNo backend technologyDream-code driven APIOffline supportAmazing and dedicated communityA backend for all your appsRuns locally and can be hostedNon-coding contributors
DeploydNo boilerplateAPIs built of plug-and-play resourcesIntuitive web-based dashboardEasy deploymentFlexibility through modularityJavaScript throughout

A library to end all libraries

Conclusion

These are ten of the best alternatives to Firebase that we compared based on user engagement, pricing, hosting, deployment, and features. As a hardcore developer, you might have made your choice already. However, this list would be useful for those who are yet to decide or plan to change the infrastructure they are currently using.

Don’t let your backend become a bottleneck for your app. Make a wise decision by taking the time to choose a scalable, flexible, uncomplicated, and cost-efficiency development platform.

Did you like this post? Sign Up Back4App for FREE.

What is Firebase?

Firebase is a Backend as a Service platform acquired by Google and that accelerate application development.

What are the disadvantages of Firebase?

– Proprietary technology
– Vendor lock-in
– Does not work with dedicated servers
– Does not provide Enterprise contracts
– Does not have GraphQL APIS

What are the best alternatives to Firebase?

– Back4app
– Parse
– Backendless
– Kinvey
– Pubnub
– Kuzzle
– Kumulos
– GameSparks
– Hoodie
– Deployed


Comments ( 11 )

  1. ReplyCraig
    Thanks for the article, I'm currently looking at alternatives that are available.However, could you possibly clear something up - using Firebase and Back4App as a comparison, if I use the Blaze calculator and try and set similar items to about the same levels, I'm getting a price comparison of ~$40/month (Firebase) vs $99/month (Back4App Advanced).Admittedly I could be missing something specific as it there is no one to one mapping between items, but the items I've changed for Firebase from the free tier are:- Realtime database increase to 4GB stored - Cloud firestore increase to 4GB stored - Storage increase to 250GB stored - Cloud functions increase invocations to 6M (5M not available), GB-seconds to 2M, CPU-seconds to 1M and egress to 25GBAre you able to provide any further details?Regards, Craig.
  2. Replylmcarreiro
    Excellent post. I would change the column "Lock-In" to "No Lock-In", because we usually look at these tables and all the "Yes" values as something good, like a wanted feature, and the "No" as something good that is missing. So when you see a "Yes" in the column "Lock-In" for Firebase and a "No" for Parse, it is not clear at first that it is a good thing for Parse and a bad thing for Firebase.
  3. ReplyEwout
    Great comparison! I hope this is allowed here, but I would like to take this opportunity to point your readers to another open source Firebase alternative called AceBase. Its functionality is similar to Firebase's realtime database and has a number of additional features such as index creation (including fulltext and geo indexes), fast querying, object type mappings, limiting nested data retrieval, binary data storage, and more. In contrast to Firebase, it encourages the storage of nested data to allow for less data duplication and easier management. It is capable of running as a standalone local database, and in a client/server mode with user authentication and authorization rules. Because it is built for Node.js it can run literally anywhere, all packages and full source code is available through npm. Thanks! Ewout
  4. ReplyDonald Bough
    I still see Firebase as the winning competitor. If someone gets large enough where functions as a service and the options from Firebase are too locked in, then it's time to saddle up and build your own backend. If I want the convenience of a BAAS, I certainly wouldn't want to deal with infrastructure even if it's open source. Doesn't that defeat the purpose?
    • ReplyAlysson Melo
      That is really a good point but what if you could have the best of both words? That's what we do at Back4App. Please try us out and let me know your thouthts. Best!
  5. ReplyKita
    How have you not featured AWS Amplify? IMO better than firebase. They also have a more comprehensive Git-based hosting solution. Checkout amplify.aws
  6. ReplyJesse
    I've looked at Firebase extensively for work. With the latest database for Firebase (Cloud Firestore) you can choose from many regions where you want the database to be hosted including locations in Europe and Asia. Firebase also has a completely free tier if you have a small app. The cost after that seem pretty reasonable for what you're getting. Also you always own the data and if you get tired of using Firebase there are tutorials on how to export the data into Mongo DB.
    • ReplyAlysson Melo
      What if you need customization on application level? After getting this Backup, what you will do with that? Probably you will have to rebuild all your App backend and a great part of front-end. Those are problems that an open source solution can solve to you and also at any moment you can do all the hosting by yourself, that is freedom. :)
  7. ReplyRajdip
    Thank you for providing such a good informative article about firebase alternatives. I don't know about it, but after reading your article, I get information about firebase alternatives. I like the way of your explanation. thanks again for posting this article.
  8. ReplyUniversal fever
    Do you have cheaper and good option for student to start with before launching on bigway on professional and expensive platform?

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