4 Best Free, Open-Source PaaS Tools for Developers in 2019

Aaron Walker
Aaron Walker  |  January 21, 2019

Cloud platform-as-a-service solutions, also referred to as PaaS, are phenomenal resources for software engineers.

PaaS software provides things like development environments, prebuilt back-end infrastructure, and deployment capabilities.

There are often reasonable pay-per-use pricing models for this software, but smaller applications and companies using their own infrastructure might not want hosted offerings.

This is where free, open-source tools come in handy.

Free PaaS software 2019

Free PaaS tools are common for small business users, but can be applied across company size if you have the proper infrastructure. With open-source PaaS tools, you have all the same development, deployment, and management capabilities as proprietary tools – but at a fraction of the price.

Users should consider support and licensing fees when investing in PaaS, but we’d like to point out open-source options for those considering adopting a new PaaS solution. Below are fourbest free, open-source PaaS tools of 2019:

Each of the four solutions below are listed based on customer reviews and ratings on G2 Crowd, features, operating systems, and more.

1. OpenShift

OpenShift is a PaaS solution developed by the Red Hat community. It was originally launched in 2011 and has quickly become one of the most widely used PaaS solutions on the market.

Features: The self-service solution supports multiple languages, database types, middleware components, and container types. OpenShift also has features to instantly deploy code, develop locally, and automate builds.

What users are saying: Reviews about OpenShift on G2 Crowd are overwhelmingly positive. Some call the solution "cutting edge" with its minimal network latency for servers, reliable, and easy-to-use.

Read OpenShift reviews

2. Dokku

Dokku advertises itself as “the smallest PaaS implementation you’ve ever seen,” but that doesn’t mean it offers few features. The product was launched in 2013 as an open-source project by Docker.

Features: This streamlined version of a PaaS runs on a single designated server. It has deployment features for managing logs and configurations, and making remote commands. Other features include Docker container buildpacks, configuration management tools and network management packages.

What users are saying: Out of all solutions on this list, Dokku has acquired the most real user reviews on G2 Crowd. Most users recommend this PaaS solution, regarding its installation time as "really fast," a tool focused on simplicity, and rich with features.

Read Dokku reviews

3. Cloud Foundry

Cloud Foundry is another PaaS solution developed by the Red Hat community. It was originally launched in 2011 and has quickly become one of the most widely used PaaS solutions on the market.

Features: The self-service solution supports multiple languages, database types, middleware components and container types. The solution also has features to instantly deploy code, develop locally and automate builds.

What users are saying: Most user reviews on G2 Crowd agree that Cloud Foundry thrives at streamlining application development. One flaw users have pointed out is that the documentation isn't as clear or comprehensive as preferred.

Read Cloud Foundry reviews

4. Flynn

Flynn is a cloud PaaS and container management solution that’s been around since 2013. The self-hosted tool has built in Postgres, MySQL, and MongoDB databases.

Features: Flynn comes with a web dashboard and tools to monitor logs and automate deployments and scaling. It also offers services to manage clouds and clusters for you if your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to do it themselves.

What users are saying: Flynn has only acquired a few user reviews on G2 Crowd, and the one common theme amongst these reviews is that the solution shows potential, but is still in development.

Read Flynn reviews

Quick summary

Proprietary tools will often include support plans, additional plugins, and third-party hosting capabilities. In terms of free and open-source tools, each has its own pros and cons depending on the needs of dev teams.

For example, Flynn and Dokku may be better for working with containers, while OpenShift and Cloud Foundry may be better for traditional applications.

While you’ll have to pay more for hosting and support, experienced developers can use these tools to significantly cut costs.


Are you a developer or engineer interested in more free tools? Check out our list of the 5 best free VDI solutions to consider in 2019.

Aaron Walker
Author

Aaron Walker

Aaron is a Senior Research Specialist who focuses on cybersecurity, information technology and software development. He began at G2 Crowd in 2016 after graduating from The University of Iowa. Aaron has written for The Daily Herald, Tribune Media, and The Daily Iowan, among other media outlets. In his free time, Aaron enjoys shooting film photography and fine-tuning his illustration skills.