Render vs Heroku


We’ve built Render to help developers and businesses avoid the cost and inflexibility traps of legacy Platform-as-a-Service solutions like Heroku. Our customers often tell us Render is what Heroku could have been. This page explains why so many former Heroku customers consider Render to be the best Heroku alternative.

Pricing

  • Heroku pricing is prohibitively high. Heroku customers running production and staging workloads typically see cost reductions of over 50% after switching to Render, often saving thousands of dollars every month.

    Here is an example of how Render helps you reduce your cloud bill, especially as your applications scale.

    Instance RAMHerokuRenderMonthly Savings (%)
    512 MB$25$772%
    1 GB$50$1570%
    2.5 GB$250$5080%

    All prices are per instance per month, and Heroku’s free and hobby instances aren’t included. Hobby tier instances do not support horizontal scaling or zero downtime deploys, both standard Render features.

Flexibility

  • Render does not enforce a response timeout for HTTP requests. Heroku has a hard response timeout of 30 seconds and it can not be configured or changed.
  • Render Disks offer convenient block storage for data that needs to persist across deploys. You can also use them to run stateful applications like MySQL, Elasticsearch, Mongo, MinIO (S3-compatible object storage), and persistent Redis without depending on expensive third-party addons. Heroku can not store data across deploys.
  • Render offers native support for static sites with a global CDN, and full-featured cron (scheduled) jobs which are missing on Heroku.
  • With Render’s built-in private networking and service discovery you can create Redis and Elasticsearch instances that are inaccessible over the Internet. Heroku only provides this feature in Private Spaces, an enterprise offering which costs several thousand dollars more per month compared to Render.
  • With Render’s native environments, you get complete control over how your application is built: run anything from a single build command to a complex shell script. Deploying to production is no more difficult than running your code locally. Heroku requires buildpacks, which can be hard to understand and customize. Render removes the complexity of buildpacks while retaining many of their benefits like suggested build and start commands.
  • Render’s managed PostgreSQL instances have built-in IP access control as an additional layer of security. It isn’t possible to limit public Internet access to Heroku PostgreSQL outside of the enterprise Private Spaces offering.

Developer Experience

  • Heroku is easy to use compared to AWS, but our customers tell us Render is even easier. Simply connect your GitHub or GitLab repository on your Render dashboard and the platform auto-suggests commands to build and start your app. Once deployed, every Git push automatically builds and updates your app.
  • Render applications can use secret files and shared environment groups, making runtime configuration much more powerful compared to Heroku apps.
  • Render offers native, fully customizable cron jobs which can run a simple script or your application code at any frequency or at any time of the day, month, or year. Heroku’s native scheduler only supports three recurring frequencies: once every 10 minutes, once a day, and once a month.
  • Render offers native support for Docker with multi-stage layer caching; all you need is a Dockerfilein your Git repository; Render automatically builds the Docker image and deploys it on every push.
  • Render offers fully automated and completely free SSL for custom domains, including wildcard domains, an increasingly common feature still missing on Heroku.

Performance and Reliability

  • Heroku serves all content over HTTP/1.1. However, major browsers have supported HTTP/2 since 2015. Render serves all requests over HTTP/2, falling back to HTTP/1.1 for older clients. This minimizes simultaneous connections to your Render apps and reduces page load times for all your users.
  • Render’s load balancers automatically compress HTTP responses from your apps using Brotli and gzip compression, making your Render apps significantly faster especially over mobile and low bandwidth connections.
  • Heroku applications are forcefully restarted every 24 hours, losing in-memory state (e.g. caches) and disrupting websocket connections. Heroku application restarts can also create downtime, and avoiding them requires signing up for more expensive plans. In contrast, Render does not have scheduled (or unscheduled) restarts, and every Render application comes with zero downtime deploys.
  • Applications hosted on Heroku have no way to self-heal; Render lets you define custom HTTP health check paths for your services and automatically restarts unresponsive apps.

Customer Focus

  • Render offers all its customers community and email support staffed by the same world-class engineers who build the platform. Compared to Render, Heroku directs users to community support channels like Stack Overflow multiple times before they can file a ticket; they also need to pay an additional $1,000/month to chat with a Heroku support engineer.
  • Render’s product roadmap is public. You can submit feature requests and get notified as soon as we start working on them. This keeps us accountable and helps us understand your needs better. Heroku’s public roadmap was last updated over ten years ago.