1. 46
    1. 12

      Alas, Heroku is sunsetting their free tier due to abuse from people that don’t want to genuinely learn or try out the platform. They just wanted to take advantage of the higher resources that are put into the builder nodes, using that to mine dogecoin, monero or whatever. They wanted to make their own shadowsocks proxies for torrenting terribly filmed pornography. They wanted to do literally anything but learn how to develop web applications and use that knowledge to further their careers (and in the process get addicted to Heroku’s magical ability to Just Work so that they would hopefully become customers for life).

      I wonder if there’s room for an “antiscaling” free tier where both you and the company have to do something mildly inconvenient to get access, to significantly raise the barrier of using it as a miner.

      1. 25

        This is pretty ironic because I used to joke that the only reason Heroku existed was that AWS was hilariously bad at designing user interfaces; if “putting up with the comically unusable AWS user interface” counts as the mildly inconvenient thing, well, I hear they still have a free tier. =)

        1. 5

          There are lots of free tiers on various services that can be used to replace heroku. The question is how much you want to tie yourself to a given service. I made a comparison https://paul.totterman.name/posts/free-clouds/ . Virtual machines combined with dokku/caprover/some new heroku replacement that’s about to emerge after this will allow you to migrate the next time the rug is pulled out from under you.

        2. 8

          How about we make it so that you have to generate a hash, from previous hashes, and when the new hash fits an increasingly harder set of properties, you get free credits to use on the compute platform?

          1. 6

            Maybe those properties and hashes could be stored on some kind of data structure you’d constantly append to. Wonder what you’d call it.

            1. 2

              You mean that you’d create some kind of chain out of these hashes, stored as fixed-sized blocks? How about calling it a hash log?

          2. 3

            I wonder if there’s room for an “antiscaling” free tier where both you and the company have to do something mildly inconvenient to get access

            Give it to a bank or a Government department to run ;-P They’ll sort that out while trying to do the opposite.

            1. 2

              What kind of discussion/research is going on to try to combat this kind of abuse while still allowing free easy access to legitimate users? Can anyone point me to any resources?

              Quite apart from my own personal use, the benefit to society and the industry at large of having a service like this is huge and it would be a pity for it to go away. I feel like governments, perhaps through educational institutions, could benefit their populations immensely if they set up a service like this.

              Would simply mandating that the service can only be used with a publicly hosted open source repository be sufficient? It would certainly allow easy oversight and crowd sourced reporting of bad actors.

              1. 1

                I highly doubt that they’re stopping the free plan because of abuse. This is Salesforce.

                Is there any evidence of this?

                1. 1

                  It was not my claim, I was responding to the quote from the blog linked above. But it comes from the Heroku announcement directly -

                  Our product, engineering, and security teams are spending an extraordinary amount of effort to manage fraud and abuse of the Heroku free product plans.

                  I would not be surprised if there are other reasons and this is a convenient excuse but I have no inside knowledge here.

          3. 12

            It’s got us this far and there are better technologies out there now. IIRC I deployed my first Rails app to Heroku in between July 2009 and February 2010 (can’t quite remember) and have enjoyed its free tier for a very long time for all apps from stupid toys to static websites before S3 or Netlify got easy to use all the way up to a couple of paid apps.

            I wish they allowed folks who gave them money for any app to continue to have free dynos but whatever. There are many competitors out there and abuse of compute power will always be a challenge for anyone providing compute for free.

            1. 6

              I wish they allowed folks who gave them money for any app to continue to have free dynos but whatever.

              That would be a good compromise solution. I have a free database that I now have to migrate because of this (it’s not worth paying their minimum), even though I am paying for other services.

              1. 3

                Cockroach Labs offers a free tier of CockroachDB which might be a good option for you. https://www.cockroachlabs.com/pricing/

            2. 8

              In case anyone looking for free alternative (not all free, some have free offer)

              Server/Runtime: https://finddev.tools/alternative-to/heroku-runtime

              Database/Postgre: https://finddev.tools/alternative-to/heroku-postgres

              1. 3

                Loss leaders sometimes lose. I’ve moved on from free-tier services to always paid as the kinds of services that only give a limited time (like 30 days) of trial and have everyone pay have much lower rates for the paid tier because paid folks aren’t subsidizing the free tier and the business can run a more sustainable model. But that said, when I was a student and before my first job, these free options out there got me to where I am.

                1. 3

                  About a decade ago when I was in college, I briefly ran a couple of personal django apps on heroku’s free tier of that time. Partially it was an exercise in learning Django, partially an exercise in learning Heroku, and partially because it was neat to see code I’d written running on a real URL, even if it was some kind of autogenerated several-nice-sounding-random-nouns.herokuapp.com url. Being a college student, I used it primarily because it was free and would’ve hunted for something else to use immediately if they tried to charge me money.

                  Since these were just toy projects, I quickly lost interest in them and forgot about them for years. Actually earlier this year while cleaning out my email I discovered that some old email address was still getting automated emails from heroku pertaining to that account - I went and closed the account to stop getting that spam, whatever code was still registered with heroku didn’t seem to be working at all.

                  Despite having used this free plan myself, I can’t say I’m particularly broken up about heroku no longer offering it. I never ended up using heroku in any professional capacity, and when I did have personal webapps that were developed enough for me to want to host them publicly on some kind of permanent basis, $5/month-tier VPSs ended up being a reasonable solution. I’ve bounced between like three different VPS providers that offer that cheap tier of VPS and tried out AWS and Azure free credits for similar compute resources, they’re all more or less the same to me.

                  1. 1

                    Thankfully AWS App Runner seems like it might become a good alternative to Heroku free plan, it isn’t completely free but very cheap for most apps.

                    The biggest pain point for me will be that we have asked people applying for Junior positions to host their coding pre-assignment with Heroku (as it was free and easy to use) but now that really won’t be an option anymore so we will have to think of something else. Of course people have been free to host their pre-assignments however they wanted to before also but we don’t really require people to know AWS/Linux/etc. for our Junior positions, it has just been enough that people also show they can get their app running somehow. Any suggestions around this would very much be appreaciated.

                    1. 2

                      Both render.com and fly.io have free tiers and are in the business of enabling “take my Dokerfile and run it”.