/ heroku

Building a free Heroku stack

Disclaimer: this article is more of a reference to myself than anything else.

Heroku is a pretty neat tool to use;

  • You don't have to worry about updating the system
  • Deploying is quite easy thanks to the various build packs
  • It works pretty fast and looks good in the process
  • Downtime is reduced to a minimum (if your application works well that is)
  • ...

It would be nice if all of this can be done on the cheap.

Heroku dynos

When you start out on Heroku, you get 550 hours for free. This is about 23 days, so not enough to last a full month. There is no real easy solution here, but to link a credit card.

A good zero-risk solution is to use a pre-paid credit card. Coupling a card with the account has the added benefit that you can add a lot more add-ons, since this also verifies your account.

After linking a credit card, you get an additional 450 hours for a total of 1000 hours, which is just a little more than 41 days.
This might be useful if you think of hosting a second application that does not have to be online all the time.

Besides this, there is also the problem that the Heroku free dynos go to sleep after 30 minutes. Mind that this is not the case for worker dynos, these stay on all the time.
Here we can just periodically ping our application to keep it alive. There are a lot of great and free tools available for this;

Mailing

Here there are two popular choices; Mailgun and Mailjet.
It was an easy choice for me though, since you can only send to authorized recipients on Mailgun if you use a custom domain.
As a comparison, Mailgun offers 10 000 free e-mails/month and Mailjet 6 000 e-mails/month. Something that might also be worth checking out is SendinBlue.

To be continued...