HomeTech7 Free Cloud Hosting Service Providers for Software Developers

7 Free Cloud Hosting Service Providers for Software Developers

As developers, we often like to manage software and services by ourselves. While it can be worth your time and effort when you are learning technology, it can quickly become a pain to administrate your own server and perform those boring and repetitive maintenance tasks daily. Nowadays, cloud services are becoming more and more popular, greatly replacing self-hosted and self-managed applications.

The Benefits of Cloud Hosting

  1. Easier server management. You don’t have to set up any hardware or operating system for your service. Your cloud provider will keep the burden off your shoulders.
  2. Fewer worries. You don’t have to handle server downtime and potential failures. Cloud providers often guarantee a minimum server uptime and fast issue fixing.
  3. Faster service. The servers and containers you rent usually have great bandwidth and very low latency.
  4. Decreased costs. Keeping servers running can result in high power consumption, often more than you can save by self-hosting.
  5. Increased security. Providers usually have great resources allocated to guaranteeing the service and its users’ security. They have whole, very experienced teams working on it.
And, Cloudways is one of the biggest cloud hosting providers.

Why Do Many Providers Offer Free Plans?

Offering free products for personal use or free trials is a marketing strategy focused on building a network of potential customers who might pay for licenses and services in a business environment. Companies invest especially in students who, learning how to use a certain product, are more likely to use its paid version at work.

A quick disclaimer: I’m not an affiliate, nor sponsored by any of these companies. This article’s purpose is to inform readers about free services they can take advantage of.

These companies and service providers are all great options and cover different needs. Some of them are equivalent, whereas others serve other purposes. Which provider to choose based on your project’s requirements is up to you. They are listed in no specific order.

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Heroku

Heroku is a container-based cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS). It can be used to deploy, manage and scale web apps, APIs, and more.

Heroku is fully managed, so developers don’t need to focus on server setup and maintenance. This service provider offers multiple language support via free build packs. It can be integrated with GitHub for automatic application deployment.

Heroku is fairly simple to use, yet quite feature-rich. You can easily extend its functionalities via both free and paid add-ons. Free accounts have up to 1,000 hours a month of active server uptime. Heroku used to offer a student program in collaboration with GitHub, but as of now, it doesn’t accept new applications.

Pythonanywhere

Pythonanywhere is an online integrated development environment (IDE) and PaaS based on the Python programming language. It can be coupled with databases and frameworks to create a complete application.

This platform is quite barebones but really easy to use and beginner-friendly. It has a free plan with one web app, restricted bandwidth, and low CPU speeds. Nonetheless, it’s good for simple projects that don’t require great resources or scalability.

Replit

Replit is a web-based IDE that allows you to write, collaborate on, and execute code from your web browser.

The free plan includes team collaboration, 500 MB of RAM, 500 MB of storage, and limited CPU power. Your applications can be instantly and easily deployed and are accessible through the URL you are provided with.

Replit’s simple and intuitive design makes writing and running code remotely a no-brainer. It’s perfect for those who haven’t got a powerful enough computer to simultaneously run an IDE, a web browser, and the actual application locally.

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Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon. It provides a wide variety of cloud services including server hosting, cloud functions, databases, analytics, virtual machines, and much more.

AWS is one of the world’s leading cloud service providers, guaranteeing high user security and great reliability. Plus, they offer greater bandwidth and CPU speed compared to other smaller hosting companies. Automatic on-demand application scaling is another core feature you should consider when choosing a service provider.

AWS is also known to offer dirt-cheap yet awesome products. It has always-free plans for many services, limited-time free trials, and a 12-month free plan from your initial sign-up date to AWS. Besides these costless options, they have a pay-as-you-go approach so you don’t have to waste money on resources you don’t use.

Microsoft Azure

Azure, much like AWS, is a cloud computing service that offers many solutions and products including PaaS, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) with support for numerous programming languages and technologies.

Azure is also one of the world’s biggest cloud service providers and all the performance, scalability, and security benefits of sticking with an industry-leading company I’ve talked about as regards AWS, also apply for Azure.

Obviously, there is a free plan which includes a 12-month free trial plus $200 of credit to use in your first month. In addition to that, if you are a student you can take advantage of GitHub’s student developer pack and get $100 more of free credit to use in your first year of subscription and many free services.

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Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Google Cloud Platform is another leading cloud computing service that offers server hosting, machine learning, analytics, databases, and more.

Like the other big companies in this list, Google offers great reliability, performance, and security out of the box. You are also provided with highly scalable services and a pay-as-you-go approach.

Google’s free plan includes $300 of credit to be used in your first 90 days from the subscription, plus many products with monthly usage limits that don’t expire. In addition to that, students can receive up to $300 in credit per year, plus unlimited free access to educational labs and 13 free courses on Coursera. Learn more here.

GCP is also at the core of Firebase Google APIs and all their related features. They integrate perfectly with all Google’s services and provide a complete environment to deploy and run your applications.

GitHub Pages

Pages of Github is a static site hosting service that serves HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files directly from a repository’s branch.

GitHub Pages are completely free of charge and have no resource limitations. Its greatest strength is making hosting a project presentation website, documentation manual, or a personal portfolio a child’s play. It can also be paired with cloud functions and external APIs to extend its functionalities beyond the mere static files serving and limited frontend JavaScript.

Conclusion

As a developer, cloud service providers can be your best friend as they relieve the burden of managing servers and security by yourself and increase your application’s performance. They take care of all the boring tasks and improve the development experience.

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