Firebase vs Heroku | What are the Differences?

Firebase vs Heroku | What are the Differences?

This article will discuss the differences and similarities between Firebase and Heroku; it will highlight the pros & cons of each provider and explain the pricing structure.

Are you searching for the right platform to host your application? It is essential to ensure the platform you choose will serve your immediate and long-term needs. Your hosting platform becomes more critical when you intend to host a web application.

Two of the leading options for the hosting of web applications are Heroku and Firebase. It’s no surprise because the two platforms have useful utilities and command-line interfaces that simplify project deployment.

What is Firebase? 

Firebase is the application development platform from Google Cloud. Using Firebase, developers can accelerate backend development and outsource the hassles of managing servers.

Firebase Core Features

  • NoSQL Databases
  • Notifications
  • Authentication
  • Analytics


Firebase Pricing

  • Free Tier 
  • Resource-based above the Free Tier

The advantages of Firebase

Perhaps, the most critical advantage of using Firebase is that it takes care of the hassles of server-side programming. When you choose Firebase, you will receive production-ready NoSQL back-end storage with a GUI tool for performing manual data entries.

Moreover, Firebase takes complete control of issues relating to security and privacy through SSL encryption applied to all projects automatically.

And if you purchase a domain name, you can get a fully branded website or web application. All that is required is to direct the Address value of your domain to Firebase Server. 

Please read the article Top 10 Firebase Advantages to learn about this platform’s benefits.

The drawbacks of Firebase

The restrictions you will encounter on the backend are one of the significant drawbacks of using Firebase. For one, Firebase only supports static file types such as JS, HTML, and image file types.

The consequence is that you cannot run server-side node scripts inside your server instance. It means that you will have limited control over server-related processes.

Although you still have access to the Google “Black Box.” You can access an interface for performing some server-side configuration, such as changing the HTTP headers. But your ability to work with the backend is still restricted.

Want to know more about Firebase competitors? The article Firebase Alternatives might interest you.

What is Heroku? 

Heroku is the PaaS platform from Salesforce. It expedites app development and empowers developers to create, run, and operate apps solely in the cloud.

Want to know more about Heroku alternatives? The article Heroku Alternatives is worth reading. 

Heroku Core Features

  • Deploy, manage, and scale apps
  • Multiple databases 
  • Dedicated servers 
  • Team collaboration 
  • Enterprise contracts

Heroku Pricing

  • Free Tier (available until November 28, 2022)
  • Hobby Plan at $7 per month 
  • Standard Plan at $25 per month

For more information, please refer to Heroku’s pricing page. 

The Advantages of Heroku

Heroku has features that take care of many of the apparent disadvantages of Firebase. The “Dynos” feature allows developers to run Heroku apps in an independent application container.

This is how developers deploy Heroku apps within their own server container. Consequently, Heroku developers have the newfound freedom of working with the backend.

Unlike Firebase, Heroku developers can work with 404’s, redirects, server-side routing, and many other server-related functions. However, working with the backend demands that the developer acquire more knowledge regarding server-related functions.

Another feature that gives Heroku an edge is server logging. Heroku provides a command-line interface that offers access to process logs in real-time. Heroku developers find troubleshooting problems, generating reports, and accomplishing debugging tasks easier.

In comparison, Firebase allows the developer to set up the backend easily. But Heroku provides a higher level of flexibility in working with the backend.

Moreover, Heroku also gives access to many add-ons that enable developers to use many database technologies such as MySQL, Postgres SQL, and many more. Heroku data is stored separately, allowing developers to perform backend and front-end programming efficiently.

The drawbacks of Heroku

Hosting applications on Heroku can be cost-intensive despite offering developers free SSL and free startup Dynos (valid only until Nov 28, 2022). Most of the time, developers are compelled to subscribe to additional services when using Heroku.

A typical example is a requirement to subscribe to the $7/mo. “Hobby Dyno” as a condition for accessing “free SSL.” You should have a decent budget if you want to host your app on Heroku.

Want to know more about Heroku? The article Heroku vs. Netlify might interest you.

Firebase vs Heroku | Comparison

  Firebase Heroku
Parent Company Google Salesforce
Category BaaS PaaS
Developer Centric Yes Yes
Free Tier


(Until Nov 28, 22)

Dedicated Servers No Yes
Enterprise Contracts No Yes
Coding Flexibility Low High
Databases NoSQL




Ease of Use Easy Easy


Firebase and Heroku are excellent platforms; the best choice will depend on your goals and objectives.  

For instance, you should choose Firebase if you only have an MPV with a reliable backend. But Heroku is the ideal platform when you need the flexibility of controlling what happens at the backend. But remember that setting up your app on Heroku will require in-depth knowledge, additional time, and extra effort.

Both Firebase and Heroku are well-established, and getting the platforms up and running is not difficult. Just remember that Firebase affords you convenience while Heroku provides a higher level of flexibility.

See this article for more information about backend services: How does MBaaS create value?

General FAQ

What are Firebase advantages?

Manages backend infrastructure, production ready environment, NoSQL easy to use interface.

What are Firebase drawbacks?

Proprietary technology, black box implementation, and limited access to the backend.

What are Heroku advantages?

Higher level of flexibility, real-time logs, and multiple databases.

What are Heroku drawbacks?

Price and Sleeping apps on the free tier.

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