Developers March 31, 2020

Where to host a full stack app?



So I'm developing a simple application. The frontend is in VueJS and the backend in NodeJS (ExpressJS framework). It's a small side project, I want to use it mainly to do some deployment and see how it happens in the real world.

I thought of Google Cloud as I heard it's very powerful in terms of functionalities and reliability, but it also seems a bit complicated for what I want to do, and I have no idea how much it would cost me in the end (I'm ready to pay no more than 5 or 6€ a month excluding the domain). Would it be better for me to use another solution like DigitalOcean ?


  1. 6

    I'd look into heroku, great way to deploy and test a fullstack app for free

    1. 2

      I recommend heroku too. I have had a bit trouble setting up heroku in my project and understanding all the concepts, but in the end I think it is an amazing tool. Another alternatives are Netlify or Linode (not sure if there are any free plans on linode)

    2. 2

      I second this. And Heroku will have options for you if you decide to scale your app up. Also moving from Heroku to something like AWS Elastic Beanstalk would be pretty easy as well.

    3. 1

      +1 for Heroku. but you might need to pay a bit more.
      I pay $7/month but it is super simple and can grow with your app and you do not need to worry about maintenance.

    4. 1

      I'd also give +1 for Heroku, I find this is the solution I come back to the most. It's quite easy to take a project from heroku to AWS, and I've always preferred using postgres as a backend DB for apps rather than something like Firestore (really good for some things, so bad at others, e.g. search!). That being said I think authentication with firebase is the best so I often use that in new projects.

    5. 1

      I use heroku for my projects too. In particular I like the feature that you can connect your heroku app with Github and heroku automatically redeploys whenever it detects a change.

  2. 4

    You can deploy for free with Firebase.

    Deploy your VueJS app in Firebase hosting and your NodeJS in Cloud functions.

    In fact, we just published a blog on different compute products in GCP:

    1. 3

      +1 on Firebase/GCP
      I started with hosting my stuff in Firebase + Cloud Functions. The good part is because everything is integrated into Google Cloud you can expand to more advanced functionalities and features later on and don't have to change anything with your firebase setup, e.g. add a Cloud Run or App Engine instance because of the Cloud functions reaching their limits.

      I also think the Firebase and GCP Consoles are quite intuitive.
      Plus, you get a 300$ Credit to start with (and then there is the Google Cloud for Startups Program, which will provide you with more credits)

      1. 1

        Agree with everything.

    2. 2

      +1 on Firebase.

      I love how flexible it is for starting out with a simple project and adding on top of it. Plus I use google domains and google analytics and it all plays nicely together

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        Glad to see we are not the only happy customer :)

  3. 4

    Well, I'd say spin up a $5 droplet on DigitalOcean and do the testing! If you don't feel like spending anything at all, you can also set up a VM on your computer and host it there, to see how it goes!

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      This comment was deleted 20 days ago.

  4. 4

    I'm a big fan of It uses serverless functions so you don't need to worry about managing a server. You can easily put an Express server in a single serverless function or you may find that you don't need Express at all since each serverless function is automatically mapped to an endpoint (like /api/function-name). is another similar option.

    1. 2

      Next.js + Zeit Now is very seamless to deploy!

    2. 2

      Agree totally with zeit! I host all of my side projects there in NextJS apps generally. This includes serverless functions.

  5. 1

    Former Google Cloud advocate here. For a full stack app, I would recommend Cloud Run or App Engine.

    Cloud Run lets you deploy a Docker container with a single command if you like Docker, and App Engine lets you run a Node.js app without needing additional tooling.

    The database is the tricky part. If you are comfortable with a proprietary database and it fits your use case, Firestore is awesome and has a generous free tier. Otherwise, the cheapest Cloud SQL box is ~$5 a month.

    Our tech stack (for a B2B platform) is Node on App Engine + Firestore + GCF. Working super well, one of our customers is currently experiencing hyper-growth and we have had no hiccups at all. Our current GCP costs are ~$0 and we expect the costs to grow linearly and not need any architecture changes, so it is very predictable.

  6. 1

    I'd check out on YouTube. He is a firebase/Angular.js full stack developer who makes tutorial videos which are helpful for anyone in the NodeJS world. I'm a Vue developer myself and his tutorial on getting started with firebase and the firebase CLI were game-changing for me. It makes GCP more manageable by using just firebase hosting and his tutorial is so easy to follow.

  7. 1

    I have good experience with Heroku and currently running many projects on Vultr
    Really depends on your needs as well (how many requests etc)

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    This comment was deleted 3 months ago.

    1. 5

      Render looks super neat! It seems like a Netlify for non-static apps, which is a enticing value prop. They seem closer to a (much cheaper) Heroku alternative than a DigitalOcean replacement!

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        This comment was deleted 3 months ago.