Gigalixir vs Heroku – Which is the best?

This article will explore the differences and similarities between Gigalixir vs Heroku. It will cover the core features and pricing of these two platforms.

Platform-as-a-service models are growing exceptionally popular nowadays, allowing organizations to meet the increased demands of apps among users.

These cloud computing models deliver a platform that can be used to build, deploy, and manage business applications without the need to develop and maintain the backend infrastructure required by these apps. Easy access to a host of tools and services means developers can focus solely on writing and improving the code, thereby improving the productivity of the organization.

Heroku is one of the oldest PaaS implementations of its kind, offering container-based cloud computing to organizations. Originally supporting only Ruby, Heroku now supports and can host applications written in a wide range of languages.

Gigalixir is one of the newer implementations primarily written for Elixir, but now also supports a few other languages like Ruby, Node.js, and Java. 

In the following post, we take a look at the features of each platform in brief. If you have been wondering about a PaaS model for your upcoming projects, the following overview should help you make an informed decision.

Gigalixir Overview

Gigalixir is a fully-featured, production-stable PaaS implementation built primarily for the Elixir programing language and Phoenix framework.

Being a PaaS model, Gigalixir allows developers to create enterprise-level applications without forcing them to build production infrastructure or deal with maintenance and operations.

One of the best features of Gigalixir is that it allows developers and organizations to choose the closest cloud or region to keep the latency low. On AWS, it supports us-east-1 and us-west-2 regions and on Google Cloud Platform, it supports us-central1 and Europe-west1.

Gigalixir Features

  • Distributed clustering: Arguably one of the coolest features of Gigalixir is distributed clustering and the end-use is endless. Developers can have distributed Phoenix channels without Redis, distribute workload evenly across machines, keep one global process per game, etc.
  • Limitless: On a single node, Phoenix can maintain over two million persistent, bidirectional WebSocket connections. Gigalixir does not do daily restarts, does not limit connections, or restrict SSH access, allowing developers to develop high-efficiency, responsive, fault-tolerant, scalable apps easily.
  • Cost-efficient: Gigalixir eliminates the need for using paid services like Redis, Memcached, etc. Distributed channels with clustered nodes mean you do not have to run multiple instances unnecessarily. Moreover, Gigalixir offers a ton of free, built-in tools for monitoring app instances.

Gigalixir Pricing

Gigalixir has only two pricing tiers, a free and a standard tier. Here is a brief overview of the pricing tiers.

  • Free tier: The free tier is no-credit-card free and provides 1 instance up to a size of 0.5 and 1 free tier database. You get zero downtime deploys, WebSockets, automatic TLS, hot upgrades, SSL connections, and Data import/export. On the free tier, if developers do not deploy anything in over 30 days, the app might be scaled down to 0 replicas, which Gigalixir says is better than sleeping instances.
  • Standard tier: On the standard tier, organizations pay $10 for every 200 MB of memory per month. The Gigalixir website has a price calculator where you can get a total price estimate by adjusting the probable replica size, number of replicas, and database size.

Heroku Overview

As discussed in the introduction, Heroku is one of the first cloud computing PaaS models and offers a wide range of tools and services that can be used to build, deploy, and manage modern apps in the cloud.

It is based on a managed container system with integrated data services and features a powerful ecosystem for running and managing modern applications.

Heroku platform follows a developer-centric and production-centric approach for app delivery. As a result, the platform focuses on removing mundane tasks out of the way and adds features to improve developer productivity.

It seamlessly supports every part of the software development lifecycle and helps organizations get apps out in the market quickly and easily.

Heroku Features

  • Heroku ecosystem: The Heroku platform provides three fully managed data service add-ons, i.e., Postgres, Redif, and Apache Kafka, providing trusted database options at the terabyte scale. Elements can be used by developers to customize the functionality of the apps however they see fit.
  • Runtime: Heroku runs the applications inside dynos, i.e., isolated Linux containers on a fully reliable and managed runtime environment. Developers can simply deploy their apps to a build system that can compile an app ready for execution.
  • OpEx: Operational Experience is a key part of the platform that focuses on troubleshooting and solving common issues as quickly as possible. Heroku provides a set of tools for quickly identifying negative trends and alerts you immediately when something goes wrong.

Heroku Pricing

Heroku offers multiple tiers of pricing options, which mainly depend on the number of dynos (Linux containers) available for running the apps. Here is a brief overview of the various pricing tiers:

  • Free: Heroku offers a free tier for trying personal projects and non-commercial applications, where it offers 550 to 1000 dyno hours per month.
  • Standard: For developing business-focused apps and APIs, the Standard tier starts at $25 per dyno per month. Includes features like simple horizontal scalability, app metrics, etc.
  • Performance: This tier is for building high traffic, low latency apps and starts at $250 per month. Includes features like autoscaling, predictable performance, etc.
  • Private: The custom pricing Private tier is for building apps that meet the control, compliance, and collaboration needs of large-scale organizations and need full network isolation and dedicated resources.


While Heroku is arguably one of the most versatile PaaS implementations out there, Gigalixir brings certain advantages when it comes to Elixir apps.

Stuff like clustering just works seamlessly and there are no daily reboots. Meanwhile, the scaling on Heroku is easier to understand and deploy, but developers get more granularity in Gigalixir. 

The final decision, therefore, depends massively on the type of app you are developing and the features you will need to deploy this app.

If you are unsure, contact the experts at one of the leading app hosting companies with your requirements and they will be able to help you select the best software solutions for your upcoming projects.


What is Gigalixir?

fully-featured, production-stable PaaS implementation built primarily for the Elixir programing language and Phoenix framework.

What is Heroku?

First cloud computing PaaS models and offers a wide range of tools and services that can be used to build, deploy, and manage modern apps in the cloud.

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