Best free tier for MVP: Heroku or AWS or GCP?

What's the preferred free tier of the cloud services right now?

More context: I need to run a basic web UI + API server (which could go to sleep if there's no traffic, but hopefully not!), a Postgres instance, and a constant background daemon.

Heroku works great by it's free tier does not support cron jobs and background tasks from what I remember. Haven't tried the others.

Thanks Alex - yeah, I'm mostly concerned about the ongoing database and background task(s)!

Heroku changes their free tier, it now allows 750 hours of free dyno time a month per an account. So you can run a Web & Worker dyno with a problem. Plus you can run cron jobs via Heroku Scheduler.

I've setup staging environments for a bunch of my clients & their bill for them is normally $0.00 :)

I'm using heroku and on free acc you can do basically that same that with $7 with some small tricks. More info here:…

For the apiserver look at api gateway and lambda - they're really cheap 1M calls on apigateway are $3.50, 1M lambda calls are $0.20
You might want to try AWS Aurora - it's a serverless autoscaling db that you could use in place of postgres
For the basic ui if it's static look at S3 or Netlify
For the always running process you might want to look at Heroku

You can also host everything on DigitalOcean using Dokku, an open-source clone from Heroku. It's way cheaper, and DO offers a one-click installation for Dokku :…

Heroku is great, hands-down. When you're in the MVP stage, speed is what matters and Heroku doesn't get in your way one bit. Been using Heroku for all my development and production apps.

Well AWS is quite nice.
If you sign up, you get 1 year for free a small EC2 instance AFAIK.
Lambda is free up to 1mio req if I remember correctly. And then also very cheap.

You can also register as a starup and get up to 1.5k $ credits for free.

So you could go full aws with the 1 year free ec2 micro instance / or the 1.5k startup credits.

It however depends how comfortable you are with AWS. Setting everything up is not that easy.
You could also get a cheap server. Digital Ocean is however quite expensive. But there are other cheaper alternatives.

You could also try a mix of free services like netlify,

If you're building a Rails app/api, I recommend checking out Hatchbox - It's super cheap, a flat fee of $15/month, and really easy to use. It works with Linode and Digital Ocean, has Postgres and Redis out-of-the-box, has one-click installation for Sidekiq (background workers), ElasticSearch, Let's Encrypt, and MongoDB. Amazing support by Chris, the creator. And best of all, you get full control (root access) of your server, so no more battling with Heroku to install the stuff you need.

I wouldn't recommend using Heroku, because when your project starts gaining traction you'll either have to move to another service, which is a pain in the ass, or start paying huge bills to heroku, because their upgrades cost $$$. I had a similar dilemma when I was working on my site, however I decided to go with Digital Ocean straight away. Its minimal cost was $10 per month which I think is super affordable. Over time I upgraded, by simply clicking one button in the dashboard. Really happy I've chosen this path!