Ever since its initial release – way back in 2009, would you believe – Node.js has been attracting the attention of developers the world over.
Why? Well, first, because Node.js allows for fast development, which increases productivity. Indeed, according to a Medium post by RisingStack, “When PayPal started using Node.js, they reported a 2x increase in productivity compared to the previous Java stack.” We think you’ll agree that’s pretty darn impressive.
But there’s more. Node.js also has high-scalability, meaning that you spend less on infrastructure as less hardware is needed to handle the same amount of load. It also gives you an access to the jam-packed and ever-growing NPM (Node Package Manager), which is robust, super-speedy, and has enjoyed a rapid increase in the number of modules, which has put it pretty much on a par with the RoR (Ruby on Rails) platform.
There are in fact many reasons why developers of all experience levels should use Node.js for application development, and plenty of you already are. Many big players came to use Node.js in their applications as well.
Indeed, you may have already downloaded and installed Node.js to test your code out. Things are looking good, and so the next stage is to reveal your application to the world, which means that you need to look for some Node.js hosting.
But, where to start your search for the best Node.js hosting?
We’ve put together a list of the top 8 Node.js hosting services – some free, some paid, some mixed – to help you make the right choice. Below, you’ll find a brief description of each service, plus the pros and cons to help you weigh up the benefits and possible detriments.
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Top 7 Node.js Hosting Services
Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services (AWS) allows you to deploy a high-availability Node.js web application using the AWS Elastic Beanstalk service. This is a container system that makes it extremely easy to push packaged applications to AWS as Platform as a Service (PaaS). You have full control over the server on which your Node.js application is run, and indeed you can also run multiple applications on the server without incurring any additional costs.
- Pros: Great pricing, plus ample support in the form of forums, plans and documentation.
- Cons: Quite a steep learning curve when it comes to AWS, especially for those who have never used it before, and even more so for those who have never been responsible for the administration of their own server before.
Google Cloud Platform
The youngest of the “big three”. Google Cloud Platform is a cloud-based provider mostly focused on providing great container support, analytics, big data, machine learning solutions, and it’s killer-feature: Google Kubernetes Engine. When you take into account that Google is heavily invested into Docker and is the creator of Kubernetes, you can tell why people think they have them integrated best in their platform. And, hey, it’s Google. They know how to do analytics, data, and machine learning well. There’s also a free tier you can use.
- Pros: Google Kubernetes Engine is the easiest way to get into Kubernetes. Lots of tools for big data. Great machine learning solutions ready to be used.
- Cons: As GCP is the youngest of the three big platforms, it seems to be lagging behind with accessibility zones and the number of data centers.
Initially only supporting Ruby on Rails, Heroku has since added support for a wide range of languages and environments including Perl, Python, PHP, Java and of course Node.js. Owned by Salesforce.com, Heroku also offers seamless integration with a host of third-party services (such as SendGrid and Redis) and supports deployment across multiple regions.
- Pros: Heroku offers a free tier and is very easy to get started with (even for novice developers). There’s great support documentation freely available, and an extensive list of plugins and services that can be added instantly.
- Cons: Once you leave the free tier, Heroku does start getting pretty expensive pretty quickly. Also, while starting with Heroku is fast, larger applications tend to lead to slower deployments.
Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s cloud-based platform that lets developers rapidly build, deploy and manage powerful websites and web apps. This is a reliable platform with great flexibility and high-availability across multiple regions. With support for both Windows and Linux machines, you are able to monitor all of your Node.js applications hosted on Azure in real-time, with automatic scalability supported.
- Pros: A good free plan which allows you to host up to 10 apps on each datacentre. It’s also super-easy to scale your Node.js app up or down in Azure or simply enable autoscaling to allow Azure to scale in accordance with traffic.
- Cons: Deployments can be slow.
RedHat OpenShift Online
A firm favourite amongst first-time developers, RedHat Openshift Online, offers Node.js hosting absolutely free forever – that’s no free-trial period, just free. The Platform as a Service option enables no-fuss cloud hosting, allowing you to focus entirely on improving your applications.
- Pros: OpenShift Online is another platform which supports automatic scaling, so if your app receives an unexpected spike in traffic, you’re covered. Multiple region support and free access to built-in private databases.
- Pros: A great choice for APIs that assist single page applications. Very easy to use, set up, and get CI/CD in a matter of minutes. The free tier is very generous.
- Cons: Now’s focus is on stateless and static applications. They do not offer any databases or persistent storage solutions. Instead, you will need to rely on cloud-based solutions, such as MongoDB Atlas, AWS CosmosDB, Google Cloud SQL, or similar.
DigitalOcean is a VPS provider that offers some additional features and products targeted at Node.js apps. During their simple setup process, you can use a one-click Node.js setup process, which will install and prepare everything for you on the newly created droplet. Additionally, DigitalOcean Spaces is a great way to store files. They also provide a Kubernetes cluster, which can be used for more involved architecture setups.
- Pros: Prices – VPSes are generally cheaper to set up. The user interface is simple and DigitalOcean provides many one-click images to start working faster.
- Cons: Requires more knowledge and involvement than cloud providers.