Heroku is trialling new pricing levels for their dynos. Hereâ€™s the verbatim text they gave:
Free â€“ Experiment in your own dev or demo app with a web and a worker dyno for free. Sleeps after 1 hr of inactivity. Active up to 12 hours a day. No custom domains. 512 MB RAM.
Hobby â€“ Run a small app 24Ã—7 with the Heroku developer experience for $7/dyno/mo. Custom domains. Run a maximum of one dyno per Procfile entry. 512 MB RAM.
Standard 1X, 2X: Build production apps of any size or complexity. Run multiple dynos per Procfile entry to scale out. App metrics, faster builds and preboot. All Hobby features. 512MB or 1GB RAM. $25 or $50/dyno/mo.
Performance â€“ Isolated dynos for your large-scale, high-performance apps. All Standard features. Compose your app with performance and standard dynos. 6GB RAM. $500/dyno/mo.
It appears to be an attempt to cut down the amount of freeloaders using Heroku. Nowadays, especially with faster code and faster computers, a standard 512MB dyno can power websites with tens of thousands of hits per hour. Few web apps need more than 1 web dyno, and worker dynos are often not needed. This means that Heroku would only get paid via add-ons, but most add-ons are provided by third parties.
In this new pricing structure, you canâ€™t pop up a free site and leave it running 24/7â€”it would cost you $7/month instead. Any real app can no longer live on the free tier, so I would expect the proportion of paying customers to increase under this new pricing scheme. Instead of Heroku being the â€œobviousâ€ choice for a web app because itâ€™s free, you could instead measure the $7/month cost against alternatives:
Free tier of Google App Engineâ€”as far as I know, GAEâ€™s free tier is still useable for real apps. But, youâ€™re limited to PHP, Java, Go, or Python plus the quirks of App Engineâ€™s platform.
dotCloudâ€”I donâ€™t understand dotCloud as Iâ€™ve never used it, but they seem to price things by $4.32/month per 32MB of RAM used. It seems a bit steep to me, but maybe thereâ€™s something Iâ€™m missing.
AWSâ€”A t2.micro would suit any small app just fine, and it (along with a tiny RDS database) would fall under the AWS free tier for a year. A t2.micro has 1GB of RAM and costs about $9.52/month outside of the free tier.
Other commodity VPS providersâ€”Digital Ocean starts a $5/month for a 512MB VPS. Linode starts at $10/month for a 1GB VPS.
Many hobbyists value their time spent configuring Linux at approximately $0/hour, so youâ€™d have to calculate that cost along with lock-in costs for each alternative. Note that Heroku hasnâ€™t announced what will happen to the old pricing tier, so existing users may be grandfathered in or may be forced to switch.