Heroku’s Free (as in beer) Dynos

Heroku comes from and is built for the developer community; the values of experimentation, openness and accessibility have been part of the product from day one, and continue to drive its development. From our first days, we have provided a free tier that followed in the tradition of making it as easy and fun as possible for developers to learn and play, discover new technologies, and build new apps — and that's not changing. It's as rewarding to us today as it was seven years ago to see experienced developers, students and hobbyist hackers use Heroku in that spirit every day.

Free services have, and will continue to be, a key part of Heroku’s offering. Today we are announcing the beta of a new free dyno. Just as the rest of the Heroku experience has evolved, the new free dyno is an evolution of our existing free offering, designed to be simpler and more straightforward to understand and use. To that end, the new free dyno is exactly that — a distinct dyno type of its own. In the previous free tier, users had a number of hours per month of a production dyno, the exact amount of which varied based on dyno type. The behavior of an app, including when and how much it would sleep when not used, wasn’t a function of the type of dyno, but the number used. And graduating from a free app to one that was always running was a big jump in price.

With the free dyno, the model is much simpler, has more features, and is more accessible. Under the old free offering, if your free app consisted of a web and a worker dyno, you had to keep track of your usage across both dynos, as well as scheduler usage, so as not to exceed your free dyno hour credits. With the new free services, you can build apps using both a web and worker dyno as well as scheduler, get more usage per app and never receive a surprise bill. This makes it easier at the free tier to build apps with modern patterns that separate front-end from background by using both a web and worker dyno. And as was the case before, apps using free dynos can have custom domains.

Another important change has to do with dyno sleeping, or ‘idling’. While non-paid apps have always slept after an activity timeout, some apps used automatic pinging services to prevent that behavior. free dynos are allowed 18 hours awake per 24 hour period, and over the next few weeks we will begin to notify users of apps that exceed that limit. With the introduction of the hobby dyno ($7 per month), we are asking to either let your app sleep after time out, or upgrade to this new option.

The intention of making our free services simpler, and creating the new free dyno, is to encourage more free use of Heroku for innovation, learning and experimentation than ever before. With these changes, the aim is to get more developers of every experience level to experiment and build new kinds of apps without ever having to pay.

We're also releasing a number of other new dynos and pricing changes today. You can get the full details here. We look forward to your feedback on the new free and hobby dynos.

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