Why Heroku Customers Should Move to Amazon Web Services (AWS): Benefits and Reasons Explained

Why Heroku Customers Should Move to Amazon Web Services (AWS): Benefits and Reasons Explained
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Heroku has been a trusty tool for launching and managing online apps for over a decade. But while it’s known for its simplicity of use, Heroku’s restrictions on scalability, customizability and speed can pose some challenges for growing businesses with evolving needs. Heroku is a helpful Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), built — like many such tools — relying on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure. However, as a somewhat specialized tool, users often find themselves running up against its limitations as they try to utilize it for different functionalities. That’s why many users are instead making the pivot to AWS’ native suite of cloud services.

In addition to providing the infrastructure for tools like Heroku, AWS also serves as a cloud services provider offering a broad selection of solutions — including PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS — worldwide. Since AWS tools work on native infrastructure, they can better handle customizations and scaling than more specialized options.

If you’re trying to broaden the scope of operations beyond Heroku’s limitations, it may be time for you to make the jump as well. Let’s dive into the benefits of AWS — and why many Heroku users are migrating.

Heroku’s Limitations: Why It May Not Be Right For You

While there are many good reasons to use Heroku, it’s not the right fit for all deployments. The architectural limitations and high cost have historically hindered Heroku’s ability to scale further than a core set of Web 2.0 customers. Let’s look at three of those limitations and why they cause issues down the line.

1. Customizability

Heroku has a reputation for simplicity, ease of use, convenience and speed. However, the trade-off in complexity makes it somewhat inflexible.

Since the platform eliminates many infrastructure management tasks, it limits developers in their capacity to customize components and the runtime environment. Developers are not able to use programming languages or libraries that aren’t supported by Heroku specifically. This limited customizability is problematic if you have specific business requirements or desire a large degree of control over your application’s infrastructure.

2. Scalability

Although Heroku is built to handle growing demand, it does have resource constraints, especially when it comes to vertical scaling. Vertical scaling increases the size of dynos, which are containers for running applications. Due to limitations, the recommended approach for apps on Heroku is horizontal scaling — which entails adding more dynos to scale applications instead.

While horizontal scaling can work well in some cases, it is not suitable for applications with high processing demands, like machine learning or big data.

3. Performance

Heroku runs on a shared infrastructure. This means various applications share the same physical hardware. This can decrease performance and cause unpredictable behavior during peak traffic times. Heroku does provide performance monitoring and resource optimization tools; however, these are not enough for applications with strict latency requirements or high-performance needs. In such cases, companies should consider using a dedicated infrastructure to ensure performance and reliability.

Migrating From Heroku to Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Services: Benefits and Best Practices

Heroku is an attractive option for startups when the main aim is to get up and running without the hassle of infrastructure management. It provides simple application development by curating services and capabilities from AWS and packaging them into an accessible solution.

The platform serves as an onramp — but it can also get you stuck in the slow lane. With growth and evolving needs, Heroku’s limitations in customizability, performance and scalability become increasingly problematic. This is where AWS comes in.

Why You Should Migrate From Heroku to AWS

AWS cloud services offer a significantly larger range of tools and capabilities. This suite allows more granular control, infrastructure scalability, and improved performance and cost-effectiveness.

Migrating to AWS can also help with:


Heroku’s managed environment limits application capabilities compared to other providers and services. For example, .NET is not supported, making it unsuitable for Windows-based workloads. Additionally, function size is limited to 500MB (including source code and artifacts), applications can only listen on a single port, and they must boot in under 1 min. These constraints can cause difficulties when trying to migrate and may result in hard decisions that wouldn’t be necessary in AWS.


AWS is significantly more cost-effective than Heroku. Although Heroku did offer a free tier plan for non-enterprise users, this option was scrapped in November 2022. Heroku’s pricing structure is more straightforward — but then again, so are its capabilities.

AWS offers a more complex pricing structure due to the wider range of services and options. With AWS, the pricing structure includes many of the services. Heroku, however, charges for add-ons. AWS also offers reserved instances for significant cost savings.


If you use AWS for other cloud services, it may be more convenient to migrate them all to Amazon Web Services (AWS), instead of battling Heroku’s limitations. By consolidating all your operations, you’ll only need to deal with one platform.

Third-Party Integrations

Applications may require third-party add-ons used by Heroku to function. This can include anything from email to analytics. If add-on suppliers go out of business or become obsolete (which is not uncommon), applications will be unavailable or unsupported in other ecosystems.

Supported Regions

Heroku’s limited geographic support includes the United States, Europe, Australia and Japan. Amazon Web Services (AWS), on the other hand, has 81 availability zones that span 25 geographic regions globally.

Best Practices for Migrating From Heroku to AWS

Migrating from Heroku to AWS cloud services is a complex process. When not properly planned and executed, you can experience downtime, data loss and other issues that significantly impact the business.

When planning your migration, be sure to carefully consider:

  • Migration strategy
  • Governance and security
  • Project management/logistics
  • Deployment

All four of these points should guide your planning process.

To fully leverage the power of AWS resources, you need to pre-design your migration. This includes:

  • A preparation phase
  • Designing
  • Verifying applications and data function correctly
  • Switching your DNS to point to your new AWS infrastructure
  • Monitoring and optimizing Amazon Web Services (AWS) deployment for performance and cost
  • Reviewing security measures
  • Setting up auto-scaling policies to handle traffic spikes
  • Developing a disaster recovery plan

Working with experts to design and streamline the migration process can help you avoid many common pitfalls that impact software quality, costs and deployment time.

Achieve a Seamless Migration with GAP

Advanced migration solutions utilizing AI and data analytics can provide greater capabilities than basic, lift-and-shift solutions. Be careful of one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to cloud migration; every business has unique needs that often require tailored solutions. A few missteps can cost you greatly in terms of data loss, financial loss, and a knock to your reputation — all of which are incredibly difficult to recover from.

That’s why it helps to partner with a migration team that knows the process inside and out — like Growth Acceleration Partners (GAP). Our Modernize for the Cloud service can expedite your transition from Heroku to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The GAP team serves as your trusty advisory board, collaborating with your team over months to build an application modernization roadmap that drives your project from design to delivery.

GAP Public Cloud Advisory Services provides a cloud-agnostic, independent report tailored to fit your organization’s specific needs. We assess the best cloud providers based on application-specific workloads, performance, availability, manageability, and cost. Furthermore, our tailored recommendations factor in your corporate culture and existing team’s skillset to ensure the best fit.

If your business is facing the speed bumps imposed by Heroku restrictions, it’s time to migrate your applications and move into the fast lane. Our expert team has extensive experience in helping businesses migrate from any environment. Get in touch today and discover the far-reaching benefits of migrating your Heroku applications with GAP.