Firebase vs. Parse Server | Secrets Unlocked

Firebase vs. Parse Server | Secrets Unlocked
Firebase vs Parse

Are you looking for an effective Backend as a Service solution to power the backend of your applications?

A robust backend of an application ensures its success and enhances its credibility. No matter how attractive your application looks, the absence of a powerful backend can fail your application to deliver the best.

However, when it comes to picking the best backend solution, multiple factors are vital in making a successful selection. Considering compelling features of your preferred services are essential. However, Parse and Firebase are two well-known backend options available. Let’s get deep into these solutions to know which can work the best for you.

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, ML, 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 APIs. Read on to get a sense of comparison between the two and understand why Parse Server is still better.


Google Firebase development platform runs on Google Cloud, and below are some of the striking features of Firebase that seem to be advantageous to the developers. Firebase offers the following features:

Data Storage

Firebase stores the data in JSON format. JSON data is readily available through REST APIs 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 enable us 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 a highly flexible security API. Authentication through Twitter, Facebook, and Google is validated.

Real Time Database

The users need not 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.

Machine Learning

Firebase machine learning kit offers users machine learning features, including language translator, face recognition, and much more.

In a nutshell, the machine learning feature of firebase can provide SDK, which can be integrated with iOS and Android applications with ease. It can bring the machine learning expertise of google to your applications in a more accessible yet powerful way.

Kotlin Extensions

This is one of the most recent Firebase releases in 2020. The KTX libraries are now under beta and available for developers using Kotlin in their Android apps. 

Other Firebase features: App testing, Cloud Firestore, Firebase test lab, remote config, firebase console, crash reporting, Firebase base runs on Google Cloud.

Pricing model for Firebase

When it comes to the pricing structure of Firebase, then, fortunately, it is offering highly flexible plans. You can start with its free account and scale your application’s resources as and when required.

However, the pricing structure of Firebase is based on pay as you go. So you only have to pay for the services you are utilizing in your application.

  Pricing Remarks
Spark Plan Free Limits Apply
Blaze Plan Pay as you go Free usage from Spark plan included

Parse Server

Parse Server is an open-source development toolkit to build backends. The Parse Server self-hosted by the users can be the best platform to develop mobile applications and APIs. This open-source backend has the following features:

Easy to deploy

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

Spreadsheet like database

Parse server offers a feature of integrating a spreadsheet-like database solution for its users. This database feature is meant to store your app and users’ data.

Developers can deploy this database with GraphQL and REST APIs within no time. Even more, creating, managing, and deploying this database is pretty easier.

GraphQL APIs

Parse released GraphQL APIs during 2019. Nowadays, a developer can retrieve data either with REST or GraphQL APIs. To know more, please read here

Data storage

Parse Server has enhanced database functionalities such as performance refactoring, data backup and restore, and indexing. It offers multiple storage options, including S3 and hosting services like Back4app.

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.

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 the Parse Server.


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 when the resulting data changes.

Pricing model for Parse Server

Parse offers two types of hosting solutions given below:

Download and self-host

Users can download the Parse solution and host it on their own server. It can be an effective path for small apps, but scaling larger applications may be a hassle.

Parse hosting services

Users can also utilize Parse Server hosting solutions to run this on their local machines. It can let you develop and test your applications locally or in the cloud easily. Most amazingly, scaling your applications when using parse hosting services is more effortless.

  Pricing Remarks
Self-Hosting Free Download and run on local servers or any cloud provider. 
Managed Hosting $25/mo Plans start at $25/mo with Back4app

Vendor lock-in

The advantage of the open-source development environment is that the developers have complete control over the source code. They have the power of migrating the data to different platforms when required.

Parse Server has long-term stability compared to any such vendor-based platform. Parse Server is undoubtedly better than Firebase to develop Android, iOS, or web application APIs with a strong community background and feature-rich open-source platform.

Parse vs Firebase Quick comparison

Firebase and Parse Server can host Android, iOS, and web applications. Compared to Firebase, Parse is open-source, has multiple hosting options, and no vendor lock-in. On the other hand, Firebase has a more comprehensive set of features and it is supported by Google. 

But as far as Parse Server is concerned, it has all the features of Firebase and many more advantages that it can offer to the users.

  • Firebase has a Free tier and a Pay as you Go plan
  • Parse has the option to download, and hosting plans start at $25/mo
  • Firebase runs on Google Cloud
  • Parse runs on any cloud
  • Firebase is a proprietary technology from Google
  • Parse is an open-source framework
  • Users of Firebase will not have full access to their source code, and IP ownership of app components is denied.
  • Data migration is not as easy as Parse Server.
  • Above all, Firebase users are vendor-locked.

The table below will help you to understand the differences between Parse Server vs Firebase. 

Firebase vs Parse


Services like Firebase and Parse can help developers get rid of infrastructure and other essential services management headaches.

These services come up with their kind of features and benefits. However, when it is about preferring one of these solutions, make sure to see the requirements of your application.

It is because knowing your application’s requirements will let you have a better idea about what will work for you more effectively. Ultimately, you will make a better pick without playing any guessing game anymore. So, read all the details mentioned above and choose smartly.

What is Firebase?

Firebase is Google’s platform to accelerate app development. It provides a unified platform to build Android, iOS, and Web Apps. Admob, Analytics, Authentication, Indexing, Test Lab, and Notifications are some of the features of Firebase.

What is Parse?

Parse is an open-source framework used to speed up app creation without reinventing the wheel. You can self-host it or use specialized services to run it.

Firebase vs Parse: What are the differences?

– Firebase is a proprietary framework from Google.
– Parse is an Open-Source framework.
– Firebase runs on Google Cloud.
– Parse runs in any cloud or specialized vendor.
– Firebase works with REST APIs.
– Parse works with REST and GraphQL APIs.

Comments ( 25 )

  1. James Stewart
    Alysson, thanks for sharing this article. Is Firebase a good option to migrate from
    • Alysson 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!
      • carter
        I cannot use Livequery Parse in my Android or iOS Apps. I have hosted an app in Parse, it works pretty good, but the chat is going down, because i want it to be real time database, and Firebase offers it. Now do you think that its good idea that i should only hosted the chat module with firebase and still running parse for my business model. Or, do you have some real information about how to use Livequery, because it kept showing errors in the cocopoads while running the app.
  2. Higor
    Nice article! Thank you!
  3. Mike Miller
    Open Source is much better and I will avoid vendor lock in.
  4. Kashif
    But Parse is going to close very soon , so the only option is Firebase
    • Alysson Melo will close but Parse Server is open-source and with more than 11k contributors on repository :)
  5. Awa
    What will happen with back4app once swift 3.0 is out? Will the Parse SDK be updated?
  6. xissburg
    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.
    • Alysson Melo
      I would like to invite you to use
    • Alysson Melo
      Have you already used Parse Server at Back4App?
  7. Mahesh
    According to parse official website parse will stop start of 2017
    • Alysson Melo
      This article is about Parse Server, the open source version of
    • Alysson Melo will close but Parse Server is open-source and with more than 11k contributors on repository :)
  8. John Salazar
    Parse Server is a much better option than Firebase.
  9. Florian
    You mentioned that Firebase provides ways for authentication. Does Parse Server offer something similar?
    • Alysson Melo
      Yes. Login with facebook, twitter, LinkeIn, Google+ and others social networks.
  10. Mike A
    You can literally put .json at the end of a firebase realtime database url and you will be able to retrieve the requested data. I am not so sure what it is you mean by it not being JSON.
  11. Himanshu
    Hey, Nice article, does parse server provides infrastructure as well to host APIs and Databases? If not and we use own infra on Amazon will it be cost effective as compared to Firebase, say for example an app with 50K users?
  12. animal onesie
    My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann't imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!
  13. adnan
    firebase offers real time updates to all the users.. if my android app is interactive, and location based then parse can provide this functionality..? lets suppose my app is being used by 100k users... if location of one user is changed on map then that update would be visible to other 100k users in real time ..? firebase offers this realtime solution.. can parse or back4app provide this kind of real time experience to users.. ?
  14. noobs2ninjas
    One thing that this article misses that I think is really important is the convenience of Parses SDK. The "ParseObject or PFObject" class is the default data type that's returned from queries which generally subclasses each platforms Object class. Not only does this parse object class enable easy functions like and object.objectId() but it allows subclassing which, on most platforms, will auto map data values to their instance variable which means no more endless lines of manually mapping values to their model. Add in built-in file saving and auto-referencing and Parse can save many developers hours upon hours of valuable time as well as keeping code much cleaner and shorter. Recently I moved a client from Firebase to Parse which, according to my final merge to master, removed over 5k lines of code. Additionally Id like to point out that Parse now has options to use Postgres.
  15. niacubilla
    Thank you for the article Alysson Melo! Do you have any updated version of the comparison since there's more than 3 year since this article was made and I think some services could be changed/improved. Currently I'm using Firebase for my app, but I want some platform without the vendor lock-in for my next project.

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