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Google App Engine vs Heroku: What are the differences?

  1. Scalability: Google App Engine and Heroku have different approaches to scalability. App Engine provides automatic scaling where it dynamically allocates resources based on the application's needs. On the other hand, Heroku allows manual scaling by letting developers choose the number of dynos, which are containers where applications run. This gives developers more control over scalability but requires manual adjustments.
  2. Pricing model: Google App Engine uses a pay-as-you-go model, where you only pay for the resources you use. It offers a free tier for basic usage. Heroku, on the other hand, has a more transparent pricing model with fixed plans for different levels of usage. This can be advantageous for predictable workloads but may not be as cost-effective for fluctuating usage patterns.
  3. Ease of deployment: Heroku makes deployment easy with its simple and streamlined process. Developers can push their code to the Heroku Git repository, and the platform handles the rest, automatically building and deploying the application. App Engine also provides an easy deployment process, but it requires developers to use the App Engine SDK and configure the deployment settings.
  4. Supported languages: Heroku offers support for a wide range of programming languages, including Ruby, Node.js, Java, Python, and more. App Engine also supports several languages, but it has a more limited selection compared to Heroku. This can be a key factor for developers who prefer working with a specific language.
  5. Backend services: Google App Engine provides built-in support for various backend services like Cloud Datastore for NoSQL databases, Cloud Storage for file storage, and more, making it easier for developers to build and integrate these services into their applications. Heroku, on the other hand, does not offer such built-in services and requires developers to integrate with external providers.
  6. Vendor lock-in: While both platforms allow you to build and deploy applications, there is a difference in vendor lock-in. Heroku is a platform built on top of infrastructure providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), which means you can easily switch to another provider if needed. Google App Engine, however, is a more integrated platform and comes with some level of vendor lock-in, as the backend services and infrastructure are tightly linked to Google Cloud Platform.

In Summary, Google App Engine and Heroku differ in their approach to scalability, pricing model, ease of deployment, supported languages, availability of built-in backend services, and level of vendor lock-in.

Decisions about Google App Engine and Heroku
Ben Diamond
Web Designer & Developer at Self-employed · | 6 upvotes · 15.6K views

As I was running through freeCodeCamp's curriculum, I was becoming frustrated by Replit's black box nature as a shared server solution for Node app testing. I wanted to move into a proper workflow with Git and a dedicated deployment solution just for educational or non-commercial purposes. Heroku solved that for me in spades.

Not only does Heroku support free app deployment if you don't use their extra service handlers, but you can directly hook into your GitHub repos and automatically update the app whenever you commit to the main branch. It's a simple way to get an app running as fast as possible if you wish to share a proof of concept or prototype before moving to dedicated servers.

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The started on Heroku (both app and db) like most of my projects. The db on Heroku was on the cusp of becoming prohibitively expensive for this project.

After looking at options and reading recommendations we settled on Render to host both the application and db. Render's pricing model seems to scale more linearly with the application instead of the large pricing/performance jumps experienced with Heroku.

Migration to Render was extremely easy and we were able to complete both the db and application moves within 24 hours.

The only thing we're really missing on Render is a CLI. With Heroku, we could manage everything from the command line in VSCode. With Render, you need to use the web shell they provide.

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I'm transitioning to Render from heroku. The pricing scale matches my usage scale, yet it's just as easy to deploy. It's removed a lot of the devops that I don't like to deal with on setting up my own raw *nix box and makes deployment simple and easy!

Clustering I don't use clustering features at the moment but when i need to set up clustering of nodes and discoverability, render will enable that where Heroku would require that I use an external service like redis.

Restarts The restarts are annoying. I understand the reasoning, but I'd rather watch my service if its got a memory leak and work to fix it than to just assume that it has memory leaks and needs to restart.

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Pros of Google App Engine
Pros of Heroku
  • 145
    Easy to deploy
  • 106
    Auto scaling
  • 80
    Good free plan
  • 62
    Easy management
  • 56
  • 35
    Low cost
  • 32
    Comprehensive set of features
  • 28
    All services in one place
  • 22
    Simple scaling
  • 19
    Quick and reliable cloud servers
  • 6
    Granular Billing
  • 5
    Easy to develop and unit test
  • 4
    Monitoring gives comprehensive set of key indicators
  • 3
    Really easy to quickly bring up a full stack
  • 3
    Create APIs quickly with cloud endpoints
  • 2
    Mostly up
  • 2
    No Ops
  • 703
    Easy deployment
  • 459
    Free for side projects
  • 374
    Huge time-saver
  • 348
    Simple scaling
  • 261
    Low devops skills required
  • 190
    Easy setup
  • 174
    Add-ons for almost everything
  • 153
    Beginner friendly
  • 150
    Better for startups
  • 133
    Low learning curve
  • 48
    Postgres hosting
  • 41
    Easy to add collaborators
  • 30
    Faster development
  • 24
    Awesome documentation
  • 19
    Simple rollback
  • 19
    Focus on product, not deployment
  • 15
    Natural companion for rails development
  • 15
    Easy integration
  • 12
    Great customer support
  • 8
    GitHub integration
  • 6
    Painless & well documented
  • 6
  • 4
    I love that they make it free to launch a side project
  • 4
  • 3
    Great UI
  • 3
    Just works
  • 2
    PostgreSQL forking and following
  • 2
    MySQL extension
  • 1
  • 1
    Able to host stuff good like Discord Bot
  • 0

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Cons of Google App Engine
Cons of Heroku
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 27
      Super expensive
    • 9
      Not a whole lot of flexibility
    • 7
      No usable MySQL option
    • 7
    • 5
      Low performance on free tier
    • 2
      24/7 support is $1,000 per month

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is Google App Engine?

    Google has a reputation for highly reliable, high performance infrastructure. With App Engine you can take advantage of the 10 years of knowledge Google has in running massively scalable, performance driven systems. App Engine applications are easy to build, easy to maintain, and easy to scale as your traffic and data storage needs grow.

    What is Heroku?

    Heroku is a cloud application platform – a new way of building and deploying web apps. Heroku lets app developers spend 100% of their time on their application code, not managing servers, deployment, ongoing operations, or scaling.

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    What companies use Google App Engine?
    What companies use Heroku?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Google App Engine or Heroku.
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    What tools integrate with Google App Engine?
    What tools integrate with Heroku?

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    Blog Posts

    Sep 29 2020 at 7:36PM


    PythonSlackG Suite+17
    Jun 19 2015 at 6:37AM

    What are some alternatives to Google App Engine and Heroku?
    We take the complexities out of cloud hosting by offering blazing fast, on-demand SSD cloud servers, straightforward pricing, a simple API, and an easy-to-use control panel.
    AWS Lambda
    AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you. You can use AWS Lambda to extend other AWS services with custom logic, or create your own back-end services that operate at AWS scale, performance, and security.
    Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.
    AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    Once you upload your application, Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring.
    Amazon EC2
    It is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
    See all alternatives