Heroku or Amazon Web Services — Which is Best for Your Startup?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Heroku are two of the most commonly used cloud-based solutions that are used for the deployment, monitoring, and scaling of web and mobile apps. Both AWS and Heroku are ideal when it comes to cloud hosting applications, but which one should you choose if you are a newbie who is building their first mobile or web application?


Arriving at one out of the many cloud-based solutions available becomes even more difficult when we realize the wide range of products that Amazon Web Services itself has to offer, before we even begin to consider Heroku!


Here we look at some of the aspects of AWS and Heroku, that will help you arrive at the ideal cloud hosting option most suited to your needs:


AWS vs Heroku for Startups


When comparisons are drawn between Heroku and AWS, Heroku is usually compared with the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) cloud hosting service provided by AWS. But the question remains, whether this comparison is fair and acceptable, as we explain here while highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of the cloud hosting services as well.


What are Heroku and AWS?

AWS Elastic Compute Cloud


Elastic Compute Cloud, which is at the forefront of Amazon’s product offerings, is an Infrastructure as a Service offering. This service dictates that a server infrastructure be deployed before implementing an application on it.


Elastic Compute Cloud provides the building blocks, while developers select the best available tools for an application and then manage them. Developers configure and maintain the virtualized servers manually, add the required data, setup the preferred OS and provide ample backup by linking the backup servers to the main ones.




Heroku is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) product that is based on AWS and is completely different from Elastic Compute Cloud.


It is imperative to note the difference between Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service when deploying and supporting applications on cloud-based solutions. Heroku is simpler to use as compared to Elastic Compute Cloud as it affords developers a ready runtime environment and application servers, and also provides seamless integration with various development instruments, a pre-installed operating system, and redundant servers.


Once developers build an application and push it to Heroku using Git, all management is done via the Command Line Interface.


Comparisons between AWS Elastic Compute Cloud and Heroku are like comparing a microwave to a toaster. Both devices are used for heating food, but they work differently. AWS EC2 and Heroku – although both cloud-based solutions – are each used to reach different goals.


The product that is a direct rival to Heroku is Elastic Beanstalk, which is another Platform as a Service product offered by AWS.


AWS Elastic Beanstalk


Cloud hosting options such as Heroku and AWS when compared, are in effect weighing Heroku against Elastic Beanstalk. Elastic Beanstalk was introduced by AWS to simplify application deployment.


Applications are implemented on Elastic Beanstalk by running commands in a Command Line Interface or by using the Management Console. Once deployed, it manages infrastructure without continuous oversight.


We generally do not need to set up capacity provisioning, load balancing, or scaling. Elastic Beanstalk uses EC2 instances to host your application, so migrating from AWS Beanstalk to EC2 is easy.




When choosing between AWS and Heroku, businesses primarily need to consider the costs, whether managing infrastructure in-house is better or rely on a ready platform that manages the entire infrastructure – facets which any eminent app development services entity that provides cloud-based solutions can determine.


In summary, AWS Elastic Compute Cloud should be implemented when:

  • Infrastructure flexibility is required from the first deployment of the application
  • Businesses are willing to spend more time on new versions of the app
  • The project demands voluminous data processing resources


And you should use PaaS solutions when:

  • Businesses have to deploy and test a Minimum Viable Product
  • Businesses want to improve the application quickly through evaluations
  • Businesses cannot afford a DevOps engineer or engineers
  • The data processing resources required are comparatively low


If you do choose AWS, it is imperative to ensure that you work with a renowned app development services company such as Smart Sight Innovations. And if rapid application development is your highest priority, consider Heroku or Beanstalk.


Keep in mind that one can always switch between the PaaS and IaaS solutions should hosting plans change or if the application demands a custom infrastructure. It is strongly suggested to begin with the appropriate solution immediately.

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