What is Heroku, and What Does Heroku Do?

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Do you know any effective way of moving and managing your application to the cloud? Heroku is what you need. Being a cloud platform makes everything possible for developers, startups, or enterprises. Along with deployment, it also helps build, run, and operate your apps in the cloud.

When your startup aims to grow, you need reliable scalability and a secure infrastructure to take your app to the next level.

About Heroku

Heroku is a platform as a Service that helps you move, scale, and manage your applications in the cloud. It was created in 2007, and Salesforce acquired it in 2010. The platform supports different frameworks and programming languages.

Being a versatile platform, it allows you to develop and scale any application on the cloud. By managing hardware and servers, the Heroku platform makes your apps run at their best level. It promises to provide a high-quality experience to users.  

What Does Heroku Do?

The entire cloud platform is dependent on containerization, which involves using dynos. By integrating data services, you can develop a powerful environment that helps run and deploy modern apps.

Support Multiple Programming Languages

Heroku supports different programming languages that can be transformed into the web deployment model. When the platform started in 2007, it supported only Ruby, but now, it can process programming languages like Java, Python, PHP, Scala, Go, Clojure, Node.js., etc. 

It means that various developers can approach the platform to get optimal services. They can scale their app by deploying it to the cloud.  

Diverse Solutions

Using the custom build packs, developers can deploy their apps in another programming language that Heroku does not support. It is possible to scale your business application in the same manner. 

Due to polymorphism, this platform is ideal for all developers looking for an easy way to deploy their apps.

Dynos in Heroku Allows Easy Development and Efficient Usability

Applications with unique domain names can run on Heroku. These domain names help in routing HTTP requests to the right container. The application container provides a well-managed and secure runtime environment. These containers, also known as dynos in Heroku, spread across a grid.

These containers are connected to multiple servers where they distribute the traffic and manage the app load. With the help of a dyno manager, the created dynos are maintained and operated. If you use Heroku, you do not need to manage the operating system or internal configurations to manage and run your applications.

Instant and Automated Scaling

By changing the type and number of dynos, you can instantly and easily scale your application. After improving the scaling operation, the developer's next goal is to increase the app speed. By scaling, the app will work efficiently.

Due to the integration of Heroku with GitHub, a developer can access the automated builds and deploy the latest code version. In terms of source code, GitHub is a trusted and secure repository. The GitHub integration helps developers optimize their efforts and manage to save enough money and time to work on other projects.

Managed Services

Heroku offers add-ons to add extra functionality to the databases, such as monitoring, caching, etc. It is easy to integrate these services into the apps with minimal configurations.

The cloud platform Heroku also manages different tasks like patching the operating system, hardware provisioning, updating and handling security concerns, and it helps developers provide code for automated integration. By making little changes in the configuration, you can rely on Heroku to manage all the operations automatically.

Tracking and Analytics

When you are done deploying the app to the cloud, take all your responsibility for tracking and managing the app to Heroku. By using real-time metrics and app logs, developers can track the app's performance, detect issues, and manage resources.

Third-party monitoring tools can also be integrated to enhance the tracking feature and closely observe the app's performance. With regular analytics, you can understand what additional things are needed to implement enhanced functionality.

Various Benefits of Using Heroku

Reduce Complexities

Instead of managing the deployment process and multiple servers, Heroku provides an ideal infrastructure that reduces all the complexities for the developers. The main focus for them is to develop the code and get stress-free about handling requests, managing server distribution, and further processing.  

Cost-effective Scaling

Compared to different pricing models offered by Heroku, consider the Pay-as-you-go if you want to pay for the resources that are in use. As per your demand, you can scale your application cost-effectively. If any resource is not in use, you do not have to pay for it.


As Heroku supports multiple programming languages, it is flexible enough to deploy any application by integrating various add-ons. Developers are flexible in choosing and integrating tools as per the project requirements.

Quick Market Time

Heroku allows your application to deploy quickly and easily to the cloud. Due to CI/CD capabilities, iteration cycles get faster, which helps businesses launch their products in the market soon. The platform automatically scales and manages the app. It can also handle requests simultaneously and pass them onto servers without experiencing any load.

Better Collaboration

By collaborating with control tools and systems with Heroku, developers can make their work easy. They can work on multiple projects simultaneously. The platform handles the scaling, deploying, and managing tasks, while a developer can focus on writing the code for the application.

Understand the Workflow Steps on Heroku

Create a Heroku Account and Install CLI

If you are ready to use Heroku for the automated scaling and deploying of your business app to the cloud, start with creating your account on the platform. After logging in, you will see a multi-featured dashboard. With the help of CLI, you can manage your application from the terminal. Follow the instructions given in the portal to install CLI.

Start Developing Your Application

Go to the project directory and look for the Git repository. Initialize Git to extract the source code and start creating your application. The process of developing an app will begin with the command' Heroku create. ' The platform will automatically set up the repository on GitHub remotely.

Code Deployment

After preparing your application's code, push it to Heroku's remote repository for deployment. Build packs make it easy to detect the programming language and prepare the code for execution. If necessary, you can also add customized build packs for better execution.

Handling Add-ons

While exploring Heroku's marketplace, you will see a variety of third-party services available on the dashboard. You can add any of them as per your requirements via CLI. Manage environment variables by using the CLI or dashboard. It will configure the application's sensitive data, such as database credentials, APIs, etc.

App Scaling

It is possible to scale dynos in both ways, i.e., vertically or horizontally. As per the demand, you can scale your app on more than one dyno simultaneously. There is an option for automated scaling that helps you adjust the requirement of dynos depending on the ongoing traffic. However, it is important to keep checking the manual settings to avoid spending more than required.

Constant Logging and Monitoring

On Heroku's dashboard, you can see the status of various real-time metrics like response time, traffic details, memory, CPU, throughput, etc. For deeper analysis, you can also use log drains by setting their configuration. The platform will send multiple logs to the external services to provide detailed information on the metrics.  

Continuous Deployment and Process Handling

With the help of built-in CI, you can run tests on the code and push it to the repository. By using the pipelines, you can streamline the deployment workflows at different stages. It manages different phases of application development, testing, scaling, and deploying. Pipelines help process the deployment continuously and manage operations effectively.

Useful Heroku CLI Commands

Command DescriptionCommand
Login to Heroku
heroku login
Create a New Heroku App
heroku create [app_name]
List All Apps
heroku apps
Open the App in the Browser
heroku open
Deploy Code
git push heroku main
View App Logs
heroku logs --tail
Scale Dynos
heroku ps:scale web=1
Restart All Dynos
heroku restart
Run One-Off Commands
heroku run bash
View App Info
heroku info
Set Config Vars
heroku config:set KEY=VALUE
Get Config Vars
heroku config
Unset Config Vars
heroku config:unset KEY
List All Add-ons
heroku addons
Add an Add-on
heroku addons:create [addon_name]
Remove an Add-on
heroku addons:destroy [addon_name]
View Database URL
heroku config:get DATABASE_URL
Run Database Migrations
heroku run rake db:migrate
Open PostgreSQL Console
heroku pg:psql
View Dyno Status
heroku ps
Stop Dyno
heroku ps:stop web.1
Add a Collaborator
heroku access:add [email]
Remove a Collaborator
heroku access:remove [email]
Enable Maintenance Mode
heroku maintenance:on
Disable Maintenance Mode
heroku maintenance:off
View Metrics
heroku ps
Get Real-Time Logs
heroku logs --tail
Create a Pipeline
heroku pipelines:create [pipeline_name] -a [app_name]
Add an App to Pipeline
heroku pipelines:add [pipeline_name] -a [app_name]
Promote an App to Next Stage
heroku pipelines:promote -a [app_name]
View Current Heroku CLI Version
heroku version
Update Heroku CLI
heroku update


Pricing of Heroku

Service CategoryPlan NameDescriptionMonthly Cost (USD)
Compute (Dynos)FreeIdeal for testing and non-commercial appsFree
 HobbySuitable for small-scale projects$7 per dyno
 Standard 1XGeneral-purpose, production apps$25 per dyno
 Standard 2XHigher performance, production apps$50 per dyno
 Performance MHigh-traffic, production apps$250 per dyno
 Performance LVery high-traffic, production apps$500 per dyno
 Private SpacesIsolated environments, pricing varies by configurationStarts at $1,000
DataHeroku PostgresManaged PostgreSQL, with various tiers availableStarts at $0 (Hobby)
 Heroku RedisManaged Redis, with various tiers availableStarts at $0 (Hobby)
 Apache KafkaManaged Kafka, with various tiers availableStarts at $100/month
Add-onsAdd-ons MarketplaceThird-party integrationsPricing varies
Tools and ServicesHeroku CIContinuous integration service$10 per pipeline/month
 PipelinesContinuous delivery and integrationIncluded in dyno pricing
 Review AppsTemporary apps for code reviewsFree
NetworkingCustom DomainsCustom domain namesFree
 Automated Certificate ManagementSSL/TLS certificatesFree
 LogplexCentralized loggingFree
SecurityShieldEnhanced security featuresStarts at $1,000
CollaborationHeroku TeamsTeam collaboration toolsFree for up to 5 members
 Enterprise TeamsAdvanced collaboration for enterprisesPricing varies

Pricing Comparison of Heroku and AWS

Service CategoryHeroku PlanHeroku Monthly Cost (USD)AWS ServiceAWS Pricing (USD)
ComputeFree DynoFreeAWS Free Tier EC2Free (750 hours/month for t2.micro instance)
 Hobby Dyno$7 per dynot3.micro EC2~$7.50 (approximate, varies by region)
 Standard 1X Dyno$25 per dynot3.small EC2~$15 (approximate, varies by region)
 Standard 2X Dyno$50 per dynot3.medium EC2~$30 (approximate, varies by region)
 Performance M Dyno$250 per dynom5.large EC2~$70 (approximate, varies by region)
 Performance L Dyno$500 per dynom5.xlarge EC2~$140 (approximate, varies by region)
 Private SpacesStarts at $1,000VPCVaries by configuration, generally higher than standard EC2
DatabaseHeroku PostgresStarts at $0 (Hobby)RDS PostgresStarts at $0 (Free Tier)
  $50 (Standard 0)db.t3.medium~$80 (multi-AZ deployment)
  $200 (Premium 0)db.t3.large~$160 (multi-AZ deployment)
CacheHeroku RedisStarts at $0 (Hobby)ElastiCache RedisStarts at $0 (Free Tier)
  $15 (Mini)cache.t3.micro~$14 (approximate, varies by region)
  $30 (Standard 0)cache.t3.small~$28 (approximate, varies by region)
Data StreamingApache KafkaStarts at $100MSKStarts at ~$125 (per broker instance)
CI/CDHeroku CI$10 per pipelineAWS CodePipeline$1 per active pipeline per month + additional costs
MonitoringHeroku MetricsIncludedCloudWatchPay per usage (approx. $1.50 per dashboard per month)
Custom DomainsCustom DomainsFreeRoute 53$0.50 per hosted zone per month + $0.40 per million queries
SSL/TLSAutomated CertsFreeACMFree for certificates, additional cost for AWS services
Team CollaborationHeroku TeamsFree for up to 5 membersIAMFree for basic use

Pricing Comparison of Heroku and Microsoft Azure

Service CategoryHeroku PlanHeroku Monthly Cost (USD)Azure ServiceAzure Pricing (USD)
ComputeFree DynoFreeAzure Free Tier VMFree (750 hours/month for B1S instance)
 Hobby Dyno$7 per dynoB1S VM~$6.72 (approximate, varies by region)
 Standard 1X Dyno$25 per dynoB2S VM~$27 (approximate, varies by region)
 Standard 2X Dyno$50 per dynoB2MS VM~$54 (approximate, varies by region)
 Performance M Dyno$250 per dynoD4 v3 VM~$185 (approximate, varies by region)
 Performance L Dyno$500 per dynoD8 v3 VM~$371 (approximate, varies by region)
 Private SpacesStarts at $1,000Azure Virtual NetworkVaries by configuration, generally higher than standard VMs
DatabaseHeroku PostgresStarts at $0 (Hobby)Azure Database for PostgreSQLStarts at $0 (Free Tier)
  $50 (Standard 0)Basic Tier Single Server~$28 (approximate, varies by region)
  $200 (Premium 0)General Purpose Single Server~$160 (approximate, varies by region)
CacheHeroku RedisStarts at $0 (Hobby)Azure Cache for RedisStarts at $0 (Free Tier)
  $15 (Mini)Basic C0 Cache~$16 (approximate, varies by region)
  $30 (Standard 0)Basic C1 Cache~$41 (approximate, varies by region)
Data StreamingApache KafkaStarts at $100Azure Event HubsStarts at ~$0.03 per million events
CI/CDHeroku CI$10 per pipelineAzure DevOps PipelinesFree for 1,800 minutes/month, then $40 per parallel job
MonitoringHeroku MetricsIncludedAzure MonitorPay per usage (approx. $2.88 per GB of data ingested)
Custom DomainsCustom DomainsFreeAzure DNS$0.50 per hosted zone per month + $0.40 per million queries
SSL/TLSAutomated CertsFreeAzure App Service CertificatesFree for standard, additional cost for other services
Team CollaborationHeroku TeamsFree for up to 5 membersAzure Active DirectoryFree for basic use

What are the responsibilities of Heroku?

Infrastructure- Manage server instances, Load balancing, and Automatic scaling
Deployment- Application deployment, Support for multiple programming languages,can do Continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD)
Environment- Heroku provides isolated environments for applications 
Add-ons- Heroku offers various add-ons for databases, monitoring, and logging . it simplifies integration of third-party services
Scaling- Enable horizontal and vertical scaling of applications.
Security- Implement security best practices and Provide SSL/TLS certificates
Monitoring- Heroku offers application monitoring tools
Support- Technical support, Documentation, and community resources
Maintenance- Handle server maintenance and updates
Networking- Manage network configurations and DNS management

Is Heroku owned by AWS?

Heroku is not owned by AWS and It was acquired by Salesforce in 2010.

Are Heroku and Docker the same?

TypePlatform-as-a-Service (PaaS)Containerization platform
OwnerSalesforceDocker, Inc.
Primary PurposeDeploying, managing, and scaling web applicationsContainerizing applications for consistent environments
Infrastructure ManagementInfrastructure management from the userUsers manage their own infrastructure
Ease of UseHigh, with a focus on simplicity and ease of deploymentRequires more setup and management by the user

Why is Heroku Perfect for Businesses?

Being a cloud platform, Heroku helps companies develop, deliver, and track their applications instantly without experiencing any infrastructure hassle. Startup companies that are testing their initial version of the product must consider Heroku when managing hardware and software simultaneously.

The platform is good enough for businesses to validate their ideas and improve the codes for better functioning and deployment. Moving your application to the cloud is the best thing you can do to scale your application and grow your business.

Businesses using Heroku

Toyota Motor CorporationAutomotive
Macmillan LearningEducation
InstacartGrocery Delivery
PepsiCoFood and Beverage
Product HuntTechnology
Financial TimesMedia and Publishing

What should I use Heroku for?

  1. Rapid Application Development
  2. Prototyping
  3. Microservices Architecture
  4. Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)
  5. API Hosting
  6. Marketing and Campaign Sites
  7. Temporary Environments
  8. Data Processing
  9. Educational Projects
  10. Personal Projects

Final Thoughts

Heroku is a powerful cloud platform that can process operations like scaling, managing, and deploying the application seamlessly. Having a user-friendly interface and multi-programming language support allows developers to deploy any app code to the cloud.

It reduces the load of handling operational complexities by helping developers focus only on writing codes. By using Heroku tools, users can develop high-quality applications with reduced burden, quicker development cycles, automated scaling, and continuous monitoring after deployment. Overall, Heroku is the future for developing and deploying applications. 

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