Top 10 Free PaaS Platforms To Know About

Top 10 Free PaaS Platforms To Know About
Free PaaS Platforms To Know About

Platform as a Service, or PaaS, is one of the most widely used cloud computing models that offers software, hardware, and middleware instances to developers.

In 2024, the worldwide market size of PaaS will hit 176 billion USD, according to a forecast by Statista

Similarly, Statista anticipates that PaaS revenues will reach 244.10 billion USD in 2028 with a CAGR of 14.24%.

It is crucial to know these PaaS revenues are only 143.30 billion USD in 2024. In short, these figures show the rising consumption of PaaS platforms. 

However, it is still troublesome for many developers and businesses to choose an ideal but free PaaS platform. So, this article will share the list of the best free PaaS platforms with their core credentials.

Name Free Tier / Free Trial Pricing
Back4appFree Tier AvailableStarts at $5/month
HerokuNoStarts at $5/month
Engine YardFree Trial Starts at $50/month
App EngineFree TrialPay-as-you-go
DokkuFree to DownloadSelf-hosting only
Platform.shFree TrialStarts at €12.00/month
DigitalOcean App PlatformFree TierStarts at $5/month
Elastic BeanstalkFreeFree (you pay only for the associated AWS services like EC2, S3, etc.)
Cloud FoundryFreeWith third-party hosting
Salesforce Lightning PlatformFree Trial Starts at $25/user/month

What is PaaS?

A computing type where a CSP supplies middleware, software, and hardware resources is referred to as PaaS.

These tools are essential for developing, running, and deploying applications. Besides, Platform as a Service providers are more economical and developer-friendly than on-premises development.

Databases, servers, operating systems, dev tools, networks, firewalls, and storage are the key offerings hosted by PaaS vendors.

The majority of these platforms come with a free tier and follow a pay-as-you-go pricing approach. 

Hereof, Back4app, Dokku, Zoho Creator, and Elastic Beanstalk are popular free-to-start PaaS solutions. 

Advantages of Using a PaaS Platform

PaaS platforms offer plenty of advantages to their users. However, we are only sharing the core ones below:

Reduces Cost

Minimum development cost is the primary benefit of using PaaS platforms. Unlike on-premises deployments, you don’t have to pay for employing servers and their maintenance.

Correspondingly, it is the duty of a PaaS vendor to handle hardware or software updates. 

All in all, this computing approach is responsible for virtual and physical infrastructure. These instances are necessary for managing, running, deploying, and building applications.  

Highly Scalable

Growth is the ultimate goal of every application. Sometimes, it becomes pricey and troublesome when your application gains more traffic using on-premises deployment methods.

Luckily, PaaS vendors let you scale up your instances anytime within clicks. 

In addition, the pay-as-you-go pricing structure of PaaS permits you to pay for utilized resources only. 

Quick Development

The availability of numerous readymade server-side tools, prebuilt templates, libraries, and integrations fastens the development process.

Yes, it is faster to build, run, deploy, and update applications with PaaS compared to conventional approaches.  

Multiple Platform Support

Platform as a Service solutions enable you to script the code once and use it for different devices and operating systems.

Reduction in development cost and quick deployment are indirect advantages of this PaaS trait.

Limitations of a PaaS Platform

Here are some drawbacks of PaaS:

  • PaaS platforms are less adaptable when you compare them with IaaS solutions.
  • Vendor lock-in, dependency over CSPs, and security risks are also prominent disadvantages of using PaaS. 

Top 10 Free PaaS Platforms

Here are the leading free PaaS hosting platforms with free tiers and several other features:

1. Back4app

Back4pp is the finest low-code application development platform that offers PaaS and managed backend services.

With the name ‘Back4app Containers’, it allows developers to deploy and run apps in a containerized environment.

You simply need to integrate your GitHub account with Back4app and can set up the app in a short period.

Besides, you can utilize docker images to host your applications on this PaaS platform. Its Free plan costs you nothing for employing a container on a monthly basis. 

Yes, you can get 100GB transfer, a shared CPU of 0.25, and 256MB RAM for free with the basic plan.

However, if your project’s requirements are more than that, you can also choose Shared or Dedicated programs. The Shared plan bills you $5/month. 

GlobalLogic, PayPal, Rappi, and Adobe are the leading tech companies using Back4app for distinct stacks. 

Core Features

  • Easy Integration & Customization – Back4app Containers is an easy-to-use PaaS platform where you need to connect your GitHub account with this vendor. Henceforth, it becomes seamless to enable repositories necessary to perform app deployment. By the same token, this PaaS solution lets you fully tailor the project. Indeed, you can define the path of the dockerfile and modify the commands for branches.
  • Open-Source – This free PaaS platform comprises various open-source technologies, including Node.js, Docker, Redis, and PostgreSQL. So, it becomes easy for programmers to get documentation and further resources online. 
  • Real-time Monitoring – It lets the dev teams monitor all stats related to their app in the meantime. You can track everything from RAM to CPU and bandwidth through its dashboard. This feature is really helpful in optimizing the app’s overall conduct.
  • Zero Downtime – The robust servers and ready-to-use containers authorize you to build and deploy applications with no downtime. This platform quickly acts on configurations and new commit commands.    

2. Heroku

Another predominant PaaS vendor on our list is Heroku. Established in 2007, Heroku doesn’t come with a free offering, but its economical packages still make it an attractive choice.

Yes, it has built 13 million applications and 2.8 million data stores for its customers.

In the beginning, Heroku’s support was limited to Ruby, but now it grants formal support to several technologies. Java, Node.js, PHP, Go, Python, and Clojure are a few of them.

It allows developers to come up with Git-hosted scripts, and it takes care of the deployment process. Heroku CLI is also an option for setting up an app here.

If we discuss Heroku’s pricing, it asks for $5 for 1k dyno hours under its beginner-level program.

However, its monthly cost begins at $25/month for Standard 1X. You can also use a Price Estimator to predict the cost of your project.

Airbase, Ambassify, HealthSherpa, and ClickMechanic are featured clientele of this PaaS vendor. 

Core Features

  • Runtime – This trait is liable for setting up a containerized environment for running, creating, deploying, and managing an application. The smart containers that are offered to users are famous with the name of dynos. It also authorizes you to deploy readymade docker images.
  • Heroku OpEx – Heroku gives great importance to developer experience. In this regard, it lets you prioritize major dev tasks. Yes, you can focus on the core operations, and Heroku takes care of infrastructure and analyzes the app’s health. 
  • SQL and NoSQL Data Services – The data services of Heroku allot both SQL and NoSQL support to its users. Yes, you can hire PostgreSQL for SQL compliance and Redis for NoSQL data structures. Moreover, using Heroku, you can also leverage data support for streaming apps through Kafka.
  • Secure – With regular scrutiny, Heroku is compliant with PCI and HIPAA. You can employ Heroku Shield to approach sensitive data safely. Additional security layers, private spaces, and stern TLS also ensure security. 

3. Engine Yard

With 99.99% guaranteed availability, Engine Yard is the finest Platform as a Service (PaaS) platform. This fully managed app development platform is operating 12k applications across the globe.

Mainly, if you need a free PaaS for your Ruby on Rails project, choose Engine Yard. It works 50% quicker for RoR applications than other CSPs.

Like the other renowned vendors, you just have to come up with a Git repository to begin the deployment process. Off-the-shelf container images enable you to set up apps without DevOps. 

Although a free trial is available for Engine Yard but, its single instance costs you $50/month under the entry-level package. The Standard plan bills you $180/month per instance with developer center access.

Oxon, Freshdesk, 3Play Media, and TechValidate are a few of the satisfied customers of Engine Yard.

Core Features

  • Private Clusters – The developers who work on dedicated projects want to avoid noisy neighbors. Engine Yard offers private clusters to provide a highly secure, isolated, and configured containerized environment to them. 
  • Continuous Deployment – This platform follows a twelve-factor app methodology. So, workload distribution and development of advanced apps become easy. Correspondingly, no downtime and rolling deployments also play a significant role hereof.
  • Database Support – With powerful backing of AWS data technologies and 20+ years’ experience in handling DBaaS, Engine Yard promises outstanding DB support. It provides database migrations, monitoring, conversions, and upgrades on the fly. 
  • Fully Managed – This fully managed PaaS platform takes care of every hardware or software aspect, from servers and databases to operating systems. It also authorizes you to utilize AWS-based 17 different ways of deploying containers. 

4. Google App Engine

Google App Engine is a highly extensible PaaS product of Google Cloud. Founded in 2008, App Engine is another free-to-start PaaS offering that uses Google’s infrastructure.

GAE provides a fully managed deployment environment for technologies such as Java, Ruby, Go, PHP, Node.js, and C#. 

Especially if you want to build and deploy applications using an agile and serverless cloud environment, don’t ignore App Engine.

Furthermore, it has a free tier option. But when your required instances grow, it follows a pay-as-you-go pricing approach. 

By the way, Google Cloud also gives its new users a credit of $300 for free. You can use this credit within 3 months.  

YouTube, Delivery Hero, Khan Academy, and Snapchat are major clients of GAE, according to StackShare.

Core Features

  • Fully Managed Ecosystem – The fully managed infrastructure improves the overall efficiency of the development cycle. It doesn’t only let dev teams emphasize core competencies, but they can also smoothly integrate with other tools offered by Google Cloud. 
  • Security – App Engine addresses your security concerns without imposing additional costs. Indeed, you can leverage firewall systems and TLS/SSL certifications without paying extra money to App Engine. 
  • Application Versioning – Are you finding a free PaaS provider to handle the different versions of your app? Employ GAE because it provides excellent deployment and development support for distinct variants of your application. 
  • Performance Optimization – To provide a smooth user experience, App Engine comes with several tools like Error Reporting, Cloud Logging, and Monitoring. You can use these valuable tools to analyze the app’s performance and identify a bug. 

5. Platform.Sh is a top-notch all-purpose Platform as a Service (PaaS) platform made public in 2010.

It provides out-of-the-box hosting, development, and deployment support to 100 frameworks and 14 languages. Go, Java, Spring Boot, WordPress, Node.js, PHP, Ruby, Python, and Magento are the leading technologies in this regard.

With great scalability, observability, and developer flow, it has aided 5k customers globally. If we argue about pricing, you can enjoy a 30-day free trial under the Professional Plan.

Notwithstanding, you will have to pay €12.00/month to access developer environments. The Essential package bills you €21.60/month for 0.65GB RAM and 0.65 vCPU.

Adobe, Unity, Pinterest, and The Economist are featured clients of Platform.Sh. 

Core Features

  • Scalability – This vendor increases the provided instances when your app’s traffic spikes because of its auto-scaling feature. It claims to provide 10x energy reduction and 8x higher workload density. However, the auto-scaling trait is only available for dedicated clusters.
  • Security – With DDoS protection, 99.99% availability, and automatic backups, it ensures security and privacy. You can customize the data access for teammates. Similarly, it facilitates you with excellent cyber security as well. 
  • Observability – It provides an all-in-one app observability feature. Yes, you can inspect the script, debug errors, and monitor the overall performance of an app using this trait. 
  • Developer Workflow – This full-fledged workflow allows you to select the programming language and framework of your choice. Similarly, it empowers you with numerous templates, runtimes, CLI, APIs, and Git-centric workflows.   

6. Dokku

If you are looking for the simplest cloud PaaS platform and an open-source alternative to Heroku, Dokku should be your choice.

With the robust backing of Docker, it is smooth to install Dokku on any device. Mainly, Dokku is an ideal service if you want to deploy Heroku-compatible applications through the Git repository. 

If we argue the Dokku pricing, it is a free-to-use PaaS platform. However, if you employ Dokku Pro, it will cost you $849 for lifetime usage. By the way, it is important to know it is a time-limited offer by Dokku.

Correspondingly, as an open-source platform, it holds ample community support. Yes, it also owns 25.8k repository stars on GitHub. According to StackShare, Bonton, DNSFilter, and BotSpace Stack are Dokku’s leading clients. 

Core Features

  • Easy Customization – Dokku enables developers to script plugins using any programming technology. The use of plugins also authorizes you to customize your containerized applications quickly.
  • Less Time to Market – The majority of businesses like Dokku because of quick development and compatibility with renowned app development platforms. You can easily integrate Dokku with AWS, Google Cloud, DigitalOcean, and Heroku to perform deployment tasks.
  • Easy to Use – Unlike other PaaS solutions, Dokku is an easy-to-use containerized environment. It comes with ready-to-use Docker images and thorough documentation. 
  • Straightforward Installation – You can install this PaaS vendor on Ubuntu 16.04 in a breeze. Then, it needs minimum configuration with root access to VMs to begin the deployment process.

7. DigitalOcean App Platform

DigitalOcean is basically an IaaS cloud computing platform made public in 2011. However, to fulfill the PaaS needs, it introduced an App Platform.

This service enables you to publish the app script to DigitalOcean servers without taking care of key infrastructure. 

Besides, this free PaaS product allows you to create static sites, deploy through GitHub, and get global CDN for nothing by using the Starter plan.

However, its Basic plan bills you $5/month if you want to approach hourly app metrics and modern features. 

Adeva, Ersilia, and myCast are the dominant companies using the App Platform.

Core Features

  • Built-in Security – The App Platform nicely deals with security concerns. It provides SSL certification, DDoS protection, and automated OS patching. Similarly, it utilizes managed databases that depend on reliable resources to secure incoming traffic. 
  • Fast Deployments – It is superfast to perform deployments using Git platforms like GitLab or GitHub. You can conduct multiple deployments by pressing the push button after setting up the repository. With rollbacks, you can also undo your recent deployments. 
  • Easy to Scale – You can add more instances whenever your traffic spikes with the App Platform. It lets you use both horizontal and vertical scaling.
  • Support Wide Range of Technologies – It provides excellent support for popular languages and frameworks. Some of them are Django, Python, Java, NodeJS, and PHP.

8. Elastic Beanstalk

If you need an AWS-backed, powerful, and free PaaS platform to set up web applications, don’t skip Elastic Beanstalk.

It not only permits you to focus the code and manage the infrastructure but also seamlessly connects with EC2, S3 Buckets, Simple Notification Service, and CloudWatch.

Luckily, you don’t have to pay anything to access this PaaS solution if you have already subscribed to S3 or EC2 instances.

Also, there is no upfront fee by Amazon Web Services because it works on a pay-as-you-go pricing approach. Withal, the use of the AWS Pricing Calculator could be useful in this regard.

Datadog, Codeship, Papertrail, and Docker are leading users of Elastic Beanstalk. 

Core Features

  • Seamless Customization – Elastic Beanstalk grants you complete freedom to tailor the deployment. Yes, it provides you full control over infrastructural components to perform any customization. 
  • Compliance – The majority of developers and companies prefer using this CSP because of its compliance trait. Yes, it is compliant with HIPAA, PHI, ISO, SOC, and PCI. 
  • Scaling – It is quick to extend instances with this PaaS vendor. It utilizes auto-scaling and load balancing to scale up the infrastructural resources according to the requirements of your projects. 
  • Monitoring – This platform confers more than 40 major metrics to developers regarding the app’s health. By the same token, you can also monitor the CPU and consumption of further instances through AWS X-Ray and CloudWatch. 

9. Cloud Foundry

Cloud Foundry is another trusted open-source PaaS vendor that was made public in 2011.

This multi-cloud platform provides great support to renowned technologies such as .NET Core, PHP, Ruby, Java, NodeJS, Go, and Python. 

It has aided 15k Slack participants in conducting 325k commits across the globe. Contrarily, if we talk about the pricing, it is a freemium offering that doesn’t cost you anything.

Mendix, Intel, VMware, and Bosch are leading customers of Cloud Foundry.   

Core Features

  • Efficient – Cloud Foundry is a highly efficient PaaS that lowers your development cycle to ten weeks. Besides, it authorizes you to economize your project with savings of $100k per dev cycle. 
  • Secure – This is a fully protected solution where you can deploy prototypes to data-sensitive applications without worries. 
  • Easy Integrations – It is easy to connect your app with IDEs, CI/CD, and other dev tools. Smooth integrations also assist you in using Kubernetes more effectively. 

10. Salesforce Lightning Platform

Salesforce Lightning Platform is a low-code or no-code PaaS platform that comes with a powerful backing of artificial intelligence. It authorizes the dev teams to create, deploy, and test applications 68% quicker than rivals. 

Although it comes with a free trial where a credit card is not required but, its monthly cost begins at $25/user under the Platform Starter program. You can get 10 custom objects, process automation, and Lightning App Builder with this plan.

T-Mobile, Schneider Electric, and Stanley Black & Decker are satisfied customers of the Lightning Platform.

Core Features

  • App Builder – This trait lets you leverage all pre-installed services of this Salesforce. You can utilize them to build low-code or no-low mobile or web applications on the fly.
  • Sandboxes – You can decrease your infrastructure cost by up to 25% with this feature. This functionality clones the production ecosystem for secure and quick modifications without influencing the live data. 


In this article, we mentioned one of the finest free PaaS platforms with their core features and pricing details.

So, if you need free tier options with advanced features, choose Back4app, Dokku, Google App Engine, App Platform, and Elastic Beanstalk.

Heroku could also be a great choice if you need a closed-source PaaS provider without a free trial. You will likely pick a suitable vendor according to the requirements of your projects. 

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