Heroku vs AWS: Key Differences Between AWS and Heroku

Stanislava Konchakivska
Stanislava Konchakivska
IT Researcher Specialist

Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, IBM, Heroku are some of the big players within the cloud computing services industry. Businesses of all sizes, operating within several different industries, locally or globally, need to have data centers or build Internet-based infrastructure to run, store, and process all the information flow. 

Based on Marketsandmarkets research, in 2018, global sales of cloud-based services brought $272 billion. And with a growth rate of 18% yearly, it is predicted to hit $623.3 billion by 2023. In the following article, we will cover the reasons, costs, and benefits that drive startups, businesses of all sizes, and SMEs to invest in cloud technologies.

Moreover, to help shape your understanding, we will tell you more about Heroku and AWS, define the advantages and disadvantages of Amazon and Heroku Web Services, find out the key difference between Heroku and AWS, and evaluate which cloud technology to choose for startups and large businesses.

Table of contents

    5 Reasons to Move Your Business to Cloud Technology

    The number of companies adapting to cloud-driven technologies is growing at a breathtaking pace. For the third quarter of 2016, Azure gained $3.2 billion in revenue, 55% more than for the same period the previous year. Let’s explore the benefits of cutting-edge cloud-based solutions. 

    1. High Level of Security

    All cloud-based solutions incorporate up-to-date and reliable security certificates that provide an extremely safe environment to store, manage, and exchange data. Therefore, there is no need to pay additional costs for security tools, considerably cutting expenses for companies.

    2. On-Demand Scalability

    As businesses grow, data volume increases accordingly. Cloud technology allows corporations to expand without spending additional money on hardware or servers. However, cloud services are likely to charge you to increase memory capacity. 

    3. Tremendous Storage Opportunities

    It is one of the most demanding features of cloud solutions that lead companies to adapt to cloud technologies. From text documents to payment data, companies worldwide require large-capacity storage networks to keep all sensitive data files and transaction information in one place while being able to access it from different devices and locations for the convenience of business operations.

    4. Access From Anywhere at Anytime

    When a company operates from different offices or sends its employees on business trips, the corporate data must be accessible from any location. With this solution, companies can share information with partners, allow employees to work from any place in the world, and exchange data quickly and conveniently.

    5. Affordable Costs

    Typically, cloud-based technology can be customized according to your needs, such as storage capacity, time, number of users, memory features, and other specifications. The company decides on what is required, so there is no need to pay extra money for features that won’t be used. Compared to the costs associated with the maintenance of data centers, cloud solutions are incredibly cost-efficient.

    Now that the benefits have been clarified, let’s go over the difference between AWS and Heroku, review the cases for using each alternative, and shed light on how to choose the best cloud solution to meet the goals and objectives of your business.

    What is AWS?

    AWS (Amazon Web Services) provides flexible, scalable, user-friendly, and affordable cloud-based computing solutions to businesses across the US, China, Japan, and many European countries. AWS represents IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service). These services enable companies to hold a vast range of operations such as data storing and computing, networking, analytics, and much more on a pay-as-you-go pricing basis.

    AWS Tech Services

    Cloud technologies of AWS include: 

    • EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) is a web service that enables developers to gain and configure cloud capacity with minimum friction. With the help of this powerful technology, tech specialists have full control of the computing environment and can manage resources more efficiently.

    • LightSail is a perfect solution for small businesses that need to store and manage a small amount of data but want space to scale up over time. This computing technology tool can deploy software, web applications, and websites within seconds.

    • AWS Elastic Beanstalk is a convenient solution that allows the deployment of platforms to deal with significant resources developed using Java, Node.js, Python, .NET, and PHP. In short, comparing Heroku vs Elastic Beanstalk implies the same thing as comparing between Heroku and AWS.

    • Lambda is a tool that allows managing functions in the cloud. This technology also enables users to extract or add missing code to the AWS resources.

    What is Heroku?

    Heroku is a cloud computing solution for large-scale companies and startups to develop, build, monitor, and maintain application code on such programming languages as Java, Python, Go, Scala, and PHP. Heroku is a Platform as a Service that allows tech experts to perfect any development project with ease.

    Why Use Heroku?

    Even though Heroku lags in utilization, it has a chain of great benefits:

    • Quick deployment of an application and its further management, configuration, and updating;

    • Interconnected with salesforce, giving companies tremendous space for innovations in terms of data synchronization;

    • Quickly integrates add-ons (like New Relic APM, mLab MongoDB, and Sendgrid) from CLI or Dashboard;

    • Numerous marketing channels that are free to use for personal business purposes;

    • Extensive research resources.

    Heroku vs AWS [Comparison Table]

    See an AWS vs Heroku comparison, including their pros and cons in the table below. 


    Heroku Cloud Computing

    AWS Cloud Solutions

    Type of Service


    IaaS, SaaS, PaaS


    Python, Java, PHP, Node.js, 
    Scala, Ruby, Clojure, Go

    Python, PHP, Ruby, 
    .NET, Docker, NodeJS, Go

    Popular GEO

    The USA, Western & Eastern Europe,
    Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc.

    The USA, Canada, South America, 
    Western Europe, Asia-Pacific, China, etc.





    - Exclusively PaaS cloud solution.
    - Mainly suitable for SMEs and startups.
    - Does not require the tech experts support to maintain the infrastructure.
    - Is not available worldwide.
    - Guarantees a smooth and fast deployment process.

    - Provides IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS.
    - Targets large corporations that deal with tremendous data loads.
    - Cannot operate without the involvement of the DevOps team.
    - Is in use in many countries across the world.
    - A time-consuming and complicated process of deployment.


    Easy for beginners.

    Not easy for beginners.

    Rapid Deployment

    Fast deployment process.

    Complex deployment process.


    Low Level.

    High Level.

    Need DevOps

    No need


    Suitable for

    Startups, medium and large businesses

    Medium and large businesses

    AWS vs Heroku Pricing Comparison

    There is no doubt that the cost also drives your decision on whether to purchase Heroku or AWS. Cloud services create pricing based on the features you select. Let’s see how Heroku and AWS establish their prices.

    Heroku Pricing Models

    Heroku is a cost-saver for startup businesses as it allows you to select the package based on your needs. There are four major categories to choose from:

    • Free and Hobby;
    • Production ($25 first payment + monthly charges);
    • Advanced ($250 first payment + monthly fees);
    • Enterprise (custom costs based on the chosen services).

    After selecting the package, it’s time to make it productive by adding “dynos” - Linux containers that can get the best out of your application. The dynos are as follows: Free, Standard ($25-$50 per month), Performance ($250-$500 per month), and Private (customized prices). 

    Besides offering packages with a flexible pricing model, Heroku also allows you to save money depending on the number of people using the cloud. Options include Collaborators, Teams (up to 5 members), Teams (up to 25 members), and Heroku Enterprise Accounts and Teams. 

    AWS Pricing Models

    AWS offers three different payment models: Pay-as-you-go, save when you reserve, and pay less by using more. For example, if you choose the first option and on-demand EC2, AWS will offer you hourly rates, which vary from $0.052 to $26. When using Amazon Elastic Beanstalk, you will pay for the resources chosen in EC2. 

    Amazon Lightsail has several virtual servers from which to choose. Thus, the prices vary accordingly, from $3.5 to $160 per month. These charges mainly depend on cloud memory, processor capacity, and data transfer. 

    AWS vs Heroku for Startups

    Due to several reasons, Heroku is known in the IT environment as a solution that is primarily suitable for startups. Its fast and effective method of building, deploying, and maintaining web applications goes hand in hand with smart costs. With over 140 add-ons offering analytical and security tools, startups and small businesses can jump from an idea to a valuable product within the shortest time frame.

    Moreover, as pointed out in the previous section, Heroku has a wide range of packages that enable companies to fit their budget and receive services that meet the needs of their business. Another beneficial feature of Heroku is that you do not necessarily need to be tech-savvy to operate on Heroku. Heroku Command-Line can guide a novice on how to create a new server and make an MVP within seconds.

    Heroku makes it easy for a small team like ours to build and launch a software business in weeks, instead of months or years,

    stated by Heroku users Philippe Vanderstigel, Co-Founder, RocketChart.

    Although large and medium-sized businesses mainly use AWS due to its features and ability to manage tremendous loads of data, it is still advantageous to startups because it offers IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.  Moreover, unlike Heroku, AWS is presented in more countries, including South America, China, and Europe. It allows startups to go global, scale up, and gain an international market.

    Key Points

    Cloud-based solutions enable companies of all sizes to create extensive computer networks, store vast amounts of data, and exchange information accessible through the internet from anywhere at any time. With a broad range of providers, such as Heroku or AWS, organizations can easily deploy and maintain the application to gain a presence in the modern market with fierce competition.

    Moreover, for a startup, it is an excellent investment to skyrocket demand using the innovative and cutting-edge products obtained with smart costs and brilliant quality.


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