Heroku vs PythonAnywhere – Which is the best?

This article will compare Heroku vs PythonAnywhere according to its features and pricing structure.

While cloud computing has been around for nearly two decades now, it is now more than ever that organizations across industries are starting to understand its benefits.

With an exponential increase in data use only in this decade, it is becoming more and more difficult for organizations to manage the increased workload using traditional means. Cloud computing enables these businesses to handle peak workloads efficiently without spending a fortune on upgrading hardware.

Heroku is one of the first cloud computing platforms in the world and now is very popular due to the scaling capabilities enabled by its container-based model. PythonAnywhere is a fully configured python environment that is rapidly growing in popularity ever since its launch.

In the following post, we take a look at the features and pricing models of both Heroku and PythonAnywhere in an attempt to distinguish the two cloud computing platforms.

If you have been wondering about using either for installing and running a Python app, the following should help you make an informed decision for your upcoming projects.

Heroku Overview 

Launched in 2007, Heroku is one of the first cloud computing platforms of its kind, offering Linux-based containers for building and deploying apps in multiple programming languages, including Ruby, Node.js, Java, Go, PHP, Python, etc.

As a result, it is often referred to as a polyglot platform, meaning the output will be the same irrespective of the input language. Heroku seamlessly supports every part of the software production cycle and allows organizations to reduce the time to market.

Similar to PythonAnywhere discussed next, Heroku servers and services are hosted off of AWS EC2. Heroku is based on a managed container system with integrated data services.

Apps run in isolated containers called dynos spread across a “dyno grid”. It offers a wide range of tools and services to developers for building, running, testing, and managing modern applications.

Heroku Features

  • A fully-fledged ecosystem with “add-ons” to customize the functionality of the final app.
  • Virtual containers called dynos for running apps written in multiple languages including Python, Scala, Go, Java, Node, Ruby, Clojure, etc.
  • Custom buildpacks for deploying apps in other languages.
  • Vertical and horizontal scaling.
  • Instantaneous code and data rollback.
  • Custom tools and services focusing on identifying and troubleshooting errors in apps deployed on Heroku.
  • Continuous app delivery with Heroku Pipelines, Review Apps, and GitHub Integration.
  • Notifications for negative trends and threshold alerting
  • Advanced “permission-based” collaboration functionality.

Heroku Pricing

Heroku offers multiple pricing tiers, allowing development teams to pay for resources that they need and cut costs. Here is a brief introduction to their pricing schemes.

  • Free: For personal projects and non-commercial apps, Heroku offers a free tier with up to 1000 dyno hours a month.
  • Standard: Organizations developing business-focused applications and APIs can activate the Standard tier starting at $25/dyno every month. This tier comes with additional features like real-time app metrics, horizontal scalability, etc.
  • Performance: The Performance tier is aimed at organizations developing high-traffic, low-latency applications and starts at $250+ each month. It comes with all features in the Standard app along with some additional features like predictable performance and autoscaling.
  • Private: For large development teams with bespoke requirements, Heroku offers a custom tier for building apps that meet the compliance, control, and collaboration requirements of the organization. 

PythonAnywhere Overview

Founded in 2012, PythonAnywhere is an IDE and web hosting PaaS implementation based on Python. It provides an in-browser server-based Python code editor with syntax highlighting.

Developers can build and host their Python-based web apps directly from their browser without having to install or manage their own server.

PythonAnywhere offers a traditional-server-like development environment that lets developers serve Python apps and edit code as if they were using a development server.

It has been deemed as the recommended way of deploying machine learning-based apps and is preferred by beginners as it has a simple interface and deployment is easy.

PythonAnywhere Features

  • Ready-to-go full-fledged Python web development environment.
  • Support for IPython, Jupyter, PyPy, and CPython.
  • In-browser code editor with syntax highlighting.
  • WSGI-based web hosting.
  • Cron-like scheduled tasks for automation and support for always-on tasks.
  • Powerful servers hosted by Amazon EC2.

PythonAnywhere Pricing

PythonAnywhere offers a comprehensive pricing package with one additional tier over Heroku based on resource allocation. Here is a brief outline of the same.

  • Beginner: A free limited account with one web app on a branded domain name. Low CPU bandwidth, restricted outbound internet, and no support for IPython or Jupyter.
  • Hacker: starting at $5 per month, this tier offers one web app on a custom domain with 1GB disk space and up to 2,000 seconds/day on CPU. You get enough resources to run a website that can handle up to 100,000 hits per day.
  • Web dev: Starting at $12 per month, you get two web apps on custom domains with 5GB of disk space and 4,000 seconds/day on the CPU for various tasks. You get enough resources to run a website that can handle up to 150k hits per day on each web app.
  • Startup: Starting at $99 per month, you get three web apps on custom domains with 50G of disk space and 10,000 seconds/day on the CPU. You get enough resources to run a website that can handle up to 1,000,000 hits a day on every web app.
  • Custom: If you need a combination that is not on the list, PythonAnywhere offers a custom tier with as much disk space as required to run up to 20 web apps on custom domains.

PythonAnywhere vs Heroku Comparison

OverviewCloud platform to build, deploy, and scale apps.Cloud platform to host, run, and code Python.
Programming languagesMultiplePython
Date Launched20072012
Free TierYesYes
PlansHobby for $7/mo
Production for $25/mo
Advanced for $250/mo
Hacker for $5/mo
Web Dev for $12/mo
Startup for $99/mo

What is Heroku?

Cloud platform to build, deploy, and scale apps.

What is PythonAnywhere?

Cloud platform to host, run, and code Python.

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