Looking for the best Node.js hosting for your next application project? In this post, I’ll share a variety of premium and free Node.js hosting services for users of all knowledge levels.
In total, the options that we’ll cover are:
Keep reading for a more detailed look at each platform!
1. Heroku (www.Heroku.com)
Heroku is a cloud application platform that offers free Node.js hosting, which is a pretty big draw by itself. Of course, there are some limitations, and, much like free WordPress hosting, you’ll probably want to go for paid hosting for a serious project. But if you’re okay with those limitations and are just looking for free Node.js hosting to play around with, it’s a good place to start!
Heroku also offers paid plans, which are also a good option depending on your needs.
So what are the limits for Heroku’s free Node.js hosting? Namely:
- 512MB of memory
- Sleeps after 30 minutes of inactivity
- Only one user
- Comes with a limit of 1,000 “dyno hours” for your entire account (if you verify with a credit card – otherwise it’s only 550)
If those restrictions get in the way of your plans, Heroku’s paid plans can still be affordable, starting at just $7.
Heroku is well-documented, offers easy scaling, and is just generally pretty developer friendly.
You’ve probably heard of Amazon Web Services because it powers like…the entire Internet. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s pretty, pretty popular.
Through its many integrated services, AWS makes a great option for hosting Node.js applications.
While there are a lot of different services to choose from, you’ll most likely want to start with Elastic Beanstalk, which “makes it easy to deploy, manage, and scale your Node.js web applications using Amazon Web Services.”
You just need to upload your code, and then AWS handles deployment and provisioning. Plus, there’s no special charge for the Elastic Beanstalk service – you still only pay for the actual AWS services that you use.
Another interesting option is Lambda, which offers a serverless hosting approach.
If you aren’t super familiar with AWS yet, you can check out the “Deploy a Node.js Web App” project guide to learn the basics and get your app up and running.
3. DigitalOcean (www.DigitalOcean.com)
DigitalOcean, the popular cloud infrastructure service, also makes a good option for Node.js hosting and lets you spin up a new Node.js Ubuntu droplet with just a few clicks. Or, you can also create your own droplet and set everything up yourself.
It’s not the best option for inexperienced users because you’ll need to manage the infrastructure yourself, but the prices are affordable and DigitalOcean makes it super easy to scale your application as needed.
You can get started with a new droplet for as little as $5 per month, and you’ll have your choice of eight different data centers on three different continents.
4. A2 Hosting (www.A2Hosting.com)
A2 Hosting is one of the few “traditional” hosts to offer a dedicated Node.js hosting package. That is, you’re typically looking at cloud or dedicated options for Node.js, but A2 Hosting lets you use their shared plans.
This makes A2 Hosting quite an affordable option, with plans starting at just $3.92 per month for:
- 1 website
- 5 databases
- unlimited storage and transfer
- a free SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt
- cPanel for server management
Plans go up from there for more websites and better performance.
However, the downside of A2 Hosting is that it won’t be as easy to scale your application as it would be with one of the many cloud Node.js hosting providers on this list.
5. Glitch (Glitch.com)
If you’re looking for free Node.js hosting for a fun project, Glitch might be the tool for you. It is not a good option for a serious business, but it is great for fun apps or prototyping.
You can even create an app anonymously, though you’ll need to log in via GitHub or Facebook if you want your projects to stay active (anonymous apps expire in five days).
Glitch does not let you use your own domain, and there are some other restrictions like:
- Projects sleep after 5 minutes if not used and are automatically stopped after 12 hours. They wake when receiving another HTTP request.
- 200MB disk space limit and 512MB assets storage space.
- 512MB RAM, just like Heroku’s free Node.js hosting limits.
- Limited to 4,000 requests per hour.
For a simple guide to hosting your Node.js app on Glitch, check out An Idiot’s Guide to Hosting on Glitch.com.
Glitch is from the same team as Stack Overflow, Stack Exchange, and Trello (before Trello was acquired by Atlassian), so it’s got some weight behind it.
If you want to host your Node.js app on the same infrastructure that powers Google Search and YouTube, Google Cloud Platform might just be the best Node.js hosting for you.
Like Amazon Web Services, you’ll have your choice of a ton of different products and services. One that you’ll definitely want to consider is Google App Engine, which lets you “focus just on writing code, without the worry of managing the underlying infrastructure”.
And, like AWS, you’ll only pay for the resources that you actually use.
For a guide to getting started with hosting Node.js apps on Google Cloud Platform, check out Google’s Node.JS App Engine quick-start guide.
Another one of the big name cloud computing platforms, Microsoft Azure also offers a number of services that make it easy to host and deploy Node.js applications.
Specifically, Azure’s App Service offers a fully managed solution for hosting Node.js applications.
Another attractive thing about Microsoft Azure is that it offers 12 months of free core services, along with a $200 credit that you can use for additional services in your first 30 days. So while it’s not free forever, you can get a lot of mileage before you need to pay.
If you hate managing infrastructure for your Node.js applications, Platform.sh might be the best Node.js hosting for your app.
As the name suggests, it’s a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that handles managing all of your app’s infrastructure.
It’s not technically hosting itself because Platform.sh partners with AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, etc. But it does make it a lot easier for you to run Node.js applications on that cloud infrastructure.
Platform.sh’s plans start at $50 per month and go up from there depending on your needs. You can also get a free trial to test it out – no credit card required.
9. NodeChef (www.NodeChef.com)
With plans starting at just $9 per month, NodeChef offers affordable Node.js hosting for your app using Docker containers on bare metal servers in your choice of four data centers on four continents:
- EU-West (Paris)
You can choose between SQL and NoSQL databases, and NodeChef also offers easy scaling and automated SSL certificate provisioning.
NodeChef’s $9 per month entry-level plan gets you:
- 1 CPU
- 128 MB app memory
- 100 MB database memory
- 1 GB database storage
- Unmetered bandwidth
You can then scale up individual resources as needed.
What’s the best Node.js hosting for your needs?
Here’s a quick summary:
By “Pay by usage”, we mean that you pay based on the actual resources that you use, rather than some set amount every month.
To close out this post and help you pick the best Node.js hosting for your specific situation, let’s run through some scenarios:
First, if you’re technically-savvy, the big cloud infrastructure services make a good option, and they usually give you services that help streamline managing your app and eliminate a lot of the more tedious infrastructure requirements.
Of course, you have the big three here:
Finally, if you don’t want to go the cloud route, A2 Hosting offers an affordable entry point at ~$4 per month and is one of the few hosts that will let you run Node.js without getting your own VPS or dedicated server. And NodeChef also offers an affordable price point with its Docker container approach on bare metal servers.
Any questions about picking the best hosting for Node.js? Ask away in the comments!
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