Firebase vs Heroku | What are the Differences?

Firebase vs Heroku | What are the Differences?

Are you searching for the right platform to host your website? 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.  As of today, two of the leading options for the hosting of web applications is Heroku and Firebase. It’s no surprise because the two platforms have useful utilities and command-line interfaces that make project deployment easy. Both Firebase and Heroku support custom domains, backend storage, SSL, and many other excellent features that enhance application deployment. This application outlines the merits and demerits of each platform. This information will help you make an informed decision while searching for the right platform for your web or mobile application deployment. Reading this article you will discover:

  • The advantages of Firebase
  • The drawbacks of Firebase
  • The advantages of Heroku
  • The drawbacks of Heroku

The advantages of Firebase

Perhaps, the single most important 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 backend storage that has 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.

The drawbacks of Firebase

The restrictions you will encounter on the backend is one of the major drawbacks of using Firebase. For one, Firebase only supports the use of static file types such as JS, HTML, and image file types. The consequence is that you are not able to run server-side node scripts inside your server instance. This 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.

The Advantages of Heroku

Heroku has features that take care of many of the obvious 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 new-found 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 backend demands that the developer acquire more knowledge regarding server-related functions.

Another feature that gives Heroku an edge is the server logging.  Heroku provides a command-line interface that gives access to process logs in real-time. That is why Heroku developers find it easier to troubleshoot problems, generate reports, and accomplish debugging tasks.

In comparison, Firebase allows the developer to setup the backend easily. But Heroku provides a higher level of flexibility in working with backend. Moreover, Heroku also gives access to many add-ons that enable developers to use a wide array of database technologies such as MySQL, Postgres SQL, Mongo DB, and many more. More so, in Heroku, data is stored separately which gives developers the freedom to perform backend and frontend programming easily.

The drawbacks of Heroku

Hosting applications on Heroku can be cost-intensive in-spite of offering developers free SSL and free startup dynos. 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


Firebase and Heroku are excellent platforms; the best choice will depend on your goals and objectives.  For instance, you should choose Firebase if all you have is 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 on your part. 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 here for more information about backend services: How MBaaS Creates 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 NoSQL and SQL databases.

What are Heroku drawbacks?

Price and Sleeping apps on the free tier.

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