End Of An Era: The Herokupocalypse

End Of An Era: The Herokupocalypse
Base photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Over 8500 requests were served from my application "Spotify Requests", which enabled a few german streamers to let their audience choose what songs to play. This was right before Twitch began taking down Streams en masse when receiving DMCA complains.

To get my application published quickly, I chose Heroku, developed it in plain PHP and pushed it to a git repo running on their servers. A minute later and the app with all their changes was live on the net. It was perfect, but letting my application run all the time meant I'd have to pay, which is something I wanted to avoid, since I already had my own VPS. Like with many things, if you tell yourself "I am definitely fixing this later, but it works for now" you will definitely never actually do it. This is exactly what happened to me. Months went by and on the 25th of August I got an E-Mail:

Important Information About Heroku Free Products
Dear Customer,

Thank you for being a Heroku user. Starting November 28, 2022, free Heroku Dynos, free Heroku Postgres, and free Heroku Data for Redis® will no longer be available. You can learn more about these and other important changes from our GM, Bob Wise, on the Heroku blog.

Oh no. I was late to the Heroku Party, but this is bad. And the internet agreed.

For those unaware, Heroku talks about Dynos when they refer to instances of an application. A free dyno would shut off after thirty minutes of inactivity and requires a few seconds to turn back on. Many people used these to host small projects of their own, but all of this now vanishes.

A three months notice might be enough for some people, but I certainly suspect that a lot of projects will get deleted from the internet, maybe forever. This gets especially tricky once you evaluate all the kinds of applications running on their platform. Nightscout Web Monitor - a glucose monitoring tool for diabetes patients - still recommends Heroku's free tier as of writing this post and I really hope that everyone using this gets the message.

As for me, Heroku didn't leave a good image since I signed up. It was easy, yes, but I always thought about the need to move my application elsewhere since it was acquired by Salesforce. There are enough alternatives like Railway or Glitch, but in the end, I already had a server and wanted to go with something self-hosted. After searching on Open Source Alternatives, I stumbled on Dokku, which incooperates "Herokuish" builds - meaning I wouldn't have to do much to get my applications back online. A Postgres DB here, one SSL cert there, a change in my DNS settings for the CNAME I set up and a git push - it was back, just hosted somewhere else and without extra costs.

This decision from Heroku was the final straw for me. I am now truly independent from their platform and was able to finally close my account back down. Right now, I can observe a lot of people aiming to do the same.

Hopefully, no one gets left behind.