If you're an experienced Java developer, there's a good chance you've already fallen in love with Node.js, the multi-platform Java Runtime Environment (JRE).
You know what's also free?
Some of the Node.js hosting providers in this article.
Of course, there are always some hefty drawbacks to using a free hosting service you should know before climbing aboard (I'll talk more about those below).
But for now, have a look - these are the best affordable and free Node.js hosting providers you can get :
- Heroku (Free Node.js hosting with usage limits)
- RedHat OpenShift (Free Node.js hosting suitable for small businesses)
- A2 Hosting (Cheap Node.js hosting with unlimited storage)
- InMotion Hosting (Powerful top-notch VPS Node.js server hosting)
- Digital Ocean (Secure cloud hosting for Node.js)
Free plan - 512MB of memory
Recommended for: Free Node.js with generous memory
Heroku is an excellent choice for totally free Node.js hosting. There are some significant restrictions on the resources available for free accounts, but they're still great options for personal or hobby use.
Free servers include a relatively generous 512MB of memory and a subdomain. You'll receive 550 hours of processing a month but your server use will be restricted by a 30-minute inactivity time-out window.
You'll also only get single user access to your Node.js server. That more-or-less rules out Heroku's free plan for use in a business context.
The free package is still suited to writing short pieces of Node.js code. But if you need a long time for code compilation, due to that inactivity timer, a paid plan will be more suitable. Paid plans prices begin at just $7/month and remove that pressurizing time limits.
But whichever package you go for, if you are concerned about keeping your Node.js projects secure, Heroku is a good choice. WildCard technology comes with every plan to keep your connection encrypted.
- 512MB memory included
- WildCard encryption included
- Free plan includes a 30-minute inactivity timer
- Only a single process and worker allowed
Free plan - 2GB of memory
Recommended for: Small businesses looking for free Node.js hosting
That $0/month package includes 2GB of memory, but storage is also limited to 2GB. So you'll be able to use your RedHat server for resource-demanding Node.js operations, but perhaps not to manipulate data-heavy multimedia objects.
Your Node.js apps will be hosted on a rhcloud.com sub-domain and will receive a free shared SSL certificate – great for security-conscious users!
Sadly, like Heroku, RedHat slaps a 30-minute inactivity timer on free accounts and limits active usage to a maximum of 54 hours in any three-day window.
If that's enough to have you upgrading, RedHat pro plans begin at $50/month. The pro plan frees you from all usage restrictions and gives you access to a phone in support team whereas free users are limited to community support. If you upgrade to a paid membership, you can also have your pick of data center location, allowing you to choose one that minimizes latency for your target audience.
- 2GB of memory gives you plenty of processing power
- Shared SSL certificate included
- Community support with a free plan available
- Three concurrent processes allowed
- Free plan has severe inactivity and active usage limits
- No custom domain with a free plan
3. A2 Hosting
$3.92/month - unlimited storage
Recommended for: Its affordable Node.js hostingWhile you have to upgrade to a relatively expensive $50/month plan to receive top-of-the-line customer support with RedHat, with A2 Hosting you can get access to an extremely dedicated customer service team for $3.92/month.
A2 support reps are available 24/7 through toll-free phone numbers, live chat, email, and tickets. And A2 offers a range of shared hosting plans compatible with Node.js applications, so you only need to pay for the level of resources you require.
Even the base 'lite' package gives you access to unlimited SSD storage and bandwidth though. That makes it suitable for manipulating data-heavy objects in your Node.js environment or sharing your Node.js based-sites with a large audience.
What's more, you'll be able to control your Node.js setup from a helpful cPanel control page. That's not something you can do with Node.js-only hosts like RedHat or Heroku. Having a cPanel page gives you the freedom to use your package to host a public facing website while also working on Node.js applications.
You can run up to 5 Node.js databases (and a single website) with the starter plan, but if you want the freedom to create an unlimited number of Node.js environments, you can upgrade to the $4.90/month 'Swift' package. However, I don't recommend the top-of-the-line 'Turbo' plan, as the site-caching it offers won't be effective at improving Node.js response times.
- Affordable Node.js paid plans
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth with every package
- Run around 5 Node.js apps at once
- Excellent customer support
- Turbo plan won't add much to your Node.js experience
$19.99 - 75GB of cloud storage
Recommended for: Individuals looking for powerful VPS Node.js server hosting
Although Node.js shared hosts (like those listed above) are great money savers with free or cheap monthly costs, they often don't provide enough resources to host a publically accessible Node.js sever.
If you do need powerful Node.js hosting, InMotion's VPS servers are an excellent choice. They combine the benefits of shared and dedicated hosting - your site will be stored on multiple machines but will be assigned unique resources.
InMotion's VPS servers are more reliable than shared hosting competitors thanks to their great redundancy features. So, if your Node.js framework experiences a technical failure on its current node, it will be instantly transferred to another.
The starter plan costs $19.99/month (discounted from $54.99 for the first term) and includes 75GB storage and 4TB bandwidth. That gives you enough space to work with data-heavy media in your Node.js environment.
InMotion's VPS servers also include root access, letting you fully customize the server you run Node.js on. And you can also pick your data center location, so you'll be able to minimize the latency between you and the server.
- Node.js compatible VPS servers provide reliability and speed benefits
- Root access to customize your environment
- Choice of data center locations
- Free daily backups
- Node.js hosting not available on shared hosting plans
- VPS packages more expensive than competitor's shared plans
$5.00 /month - billed for used resources
Recommended for: Those needing secure cloud hosting for Node.js
Let's get one thing out of the way - Digital Ocean (DO) is not really free but an awesomely affordable option for Node.js hosting and development. Prices begin at just $5/month and scale up with the number of resources you want, letting you just pay for what you need.
DO is one of the most unique hosts in this list. It's a cloud-based hosting service, and you pay for a so-called 'drop-let' (a virtual machine that you can install Node.js on). The base plan includes 1GB of memory, 1TB of storage and 25GB of SSD space.
It only takes 5 lines of code to add Node.js to your DO virtual machine – just choose a Ubuntu based-VM machine and you'll be good to go. If you do run into an issue during the installation process, you can contact DO's support team by opening a ticket. Unfortunately, 24/7 live chat or phone support is not available. The queries are usually only responded to within 24 hours.
DO droplets all include monitoring and alerts to help you check for unauthorized activity. Also, you can create Team Accounts with every plan, making DO a great choice for business or enterprise applications.
If you are concerned about distributing incoming traffic evenly across your droplet, you can upgrade your package with a load balancer add-on (for $10/month extra). DO servers are also super reliable with a 99.99% uptime rate. If your service ever fails to meet that, you'll be given free credit equal to the amount of time that your server was unavailable.
- Cloud hosting offers a quick connection anywhere in the world
- Scalable virtual machine based hosting
- Super reliable with 99.99% uptime
- No phone or live chat support
How to Choose the Best Node.js Hosting on a Budget?
That all comes down to your personal needs. Do you want Node.js hosting purely for development purposes, or do you want to host public-facing app?
- Heroku is a great choice for free Node.js hosting
- RedHat OpenShift offers free Node.js hosting powerful enough for business use
- A2 Hosting is the best for unlimited storage and bandwidth
- InMotion's VPS servers are more powerful than shared alternatives
- Digital Ocean has excellent scalable cloud hosting plans
And Here's How I Picked
Over one full year, I signed up to 50 Node.js plans with different hosting companies. With each company, I created test Node.js runtime environments and rated how well and consistently they worked. After eliminating any underperforming hosts, I narrowed down the list by focusing on extra features that enhanced my Node.js experience.
If you think I missed a brilliant Node.js host, tell me about it in the comments below!