Heroku has announced that later this year it will end its free tier, which means users can no longer use free Dynos and free Postgres and Redis add-ons. Users have until 28 November 2022 to migrate to a paid plan.
Heroku announces the changes in a blog. Affected customers also received an email in which they are informed of the change. The reason for shutting down the free tier is that there is a lot of abuse on it. It is very easy to deploy an app on Heroku, which makes it an attractive platform for criminals. As a result, Heroku spends a lot of time fighting abuse and fraud.
Because of that, users will have to switch to a paid plan if they want to stay on Heroku. The cheapest paid Dyno of Heroku costs 7 dollars per month. A Redis add-on costs 15 dollars per month and Postgres 9 dollars per month. Many developers use Heroku for deploying a hobby app. It is now the question of whether that is still worth it. Furthermore, many paid customers also use the free tier, and they will also see their costs rising. Heroku did announce it will create a student program, but the details of that program have not been announced yet.
Heroku was founded in 2007 and acquired by Salesforce in 2010. Its platform makes it very easy to deploy an app without having to worry about servers or Docker containers. Heroku takes care of a lot of Ops tasks so developers can focus on developing. Also, Heroku was one of the few services where you could get a fully managed Postgres or Redis database for free.
There are many alternatives to Heroku though, such as Fly.io, Render.com, or Northflank. If you are also interested in a self-hosted solution, then Dokku might also be interesting. You could also take a look at a combination of services. For example, the free tier of AWS Elastic BeanStalk in combination with a free managed Mongo database. Or you could always rewrite your app to a serverless stack: The free tier for Lambda and DynamoDB is more than enough for most apps.