Best PaaS providers of 2018

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Best PaaS providers

If you’re starting your own business, in theory you can buy and setup your own servers on-site. However, this means large up-front costs and requires expertise as you’ll have to setup your machines from scratch.

PaaS (Platform as a service) is a great solution: it involves using hardware and software provided by a third party, which you can then manage. This allows you to setup a virtual platform, complete with its own operating system adapted to your needs. PaaS providers also offer additional software such as databases. 

In this guide, you’ll discover some of the very best PaaS offerings available today.

Oracle Cloud

1. Oracle Cloud

An excellent PaaS from one of the best-known vendors

Easy maintenance
Free trial
Some support issues

Oracle Cloud Platform (OCP) is part of Oracle Cloud, which is belongs to the Oracle Corporation, founded in 1977.

Oracle Cloud Platform works as a combination of open source technology and Oracle technology. This enable users to more efficiently build, deploy, integrate and manage all of your platform applications.

The solution uses a mixture of machine learning and AI to provide a service that offers self-repairing abilities. It also reduces business start-up costs and offers predictive insights.

Oracle boasts of having the largest PaaS portfolio of the cloud vendors around. Oracle believes their platform lowers costs and reduces complexity.

All of your data and applications can be integrated. The solution enables the user to migrate all processes to the cloud. Everything is managed via a single platform. All data is encrypted by default.

Oracle Cloud Platform claims their solution does everything for you. This saves time on repetitive tasks such as system maintenance, deploying solutions and necessary updates.

The platform comes with a 30-day free trial which includes $300 (£230.76) credit and up to 3,500 hours. There is a ‘Pay as you Go’ tier or a ‘Monthly Flex’ plan. With the ‘Flex’ plan users commit to a monthly amount in cloud services with a contract ranging from 1-7 years. In order to sign up for either of the above, users will need to contact Oracle directly.

Users have reported some issues with customer support. 

Amazon Web Services

2. Amazon Web Services

Reasonable priced, bespoke PaaS from an industry titan

Single occupancy servers
Free tier
Some loading issues

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a subsidiary of Amazon.com, founded in 2006. It provides on demand cloud computing to individuals, businesses and governments. 

AWS is a cloud-based program for building business solutions using integrated web services. Amazon Web Services offer much more than just PaaS services. They give users access to a wide range cloud services such as content delivery and database storage. 

As part of your subscription to AWS users have access to ‘AWS Elastic Beanstalk’. This gives developers an easy way to deploy services. 

Once you have uploaded all your applications, everything else from load balancing to auto-scaling is handled by Elastic Beanstalk. The service scales your application based on the resources needed.

AWS has three different pricing models; ‘Pay as you Go’, ‘Save when you reserve’ and ‘Pay less using more’. To get prices for all these you need to contact Sales directly.

However, AWS provides a free tier. This offers users certain services for 12-months and after that you have to choose to sign up for any of the plans above or to cancel your AWS subscription.

Users have mentioned that there is a steep learning curve for using EC2 (Amazon Elastic Computer Cloud). This can be a time-consuming process. Some users have also reported issues when trying to contact customer service.

Google Cloud Platform

3. Google Cloud Platform

Flexible and affordable cloud platform from the gurus of Google

User friendly
12-month free trial
Setup can be tricky

Google Cloud Platform is a suite of cloud computing services run on the same infrastructure used by Google internally for its end-user products. It provides Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Serverless Computing. The platform was initially released in 2008.

Google App Engine is Google Cloud Platform’s platform as a services (PaaS). With this highly intuitive engine, Google Cloud Platform handles the management of resources for you.

With Google Cloud Platform you can use Google’s web services to build a highly customized solution to meet all your company’s needs.

With Google App Engine you can use built-in managed services for activities such as email and user management. The service can run and manage monitoring, scaling and hosting.

As Google Cloud Platform relies heavily on Linux, it helps to be familiar with the Linux command line. This will make the process of setting up firewalls, gateways and routers much smoother.

Google Cloud Platform offers a free trial for 12-months. This includes $300 (£230.73) towards all Cloud Platform services and access to all Cloud Platform Products. You can also use services up to their non-expiring usage limits. 

Some commenters have noted that it can be tricky to setup for the less experienced users. 

Microsoft Azure

4. Microsoft Azure

A stunning range of services, with some free features

Free tier
User-friendly
Not PaaS specific

Microsoft Azure was created by Microsoft to build, test, deploy and manage applications and services though their data centres. It was released in 2010.

Microsoft Azure not only offers platform as a service but also software as a service and infrastructure as a service. With Azure, clients can use the services purely on the cloud or it can be combined with any existing applications, data centre or infrastructure you may already have in place.

Azure’s PaaS was one of the solutions early offering which later included IaaS. Many cloud providers are blurring the lines between PaaS and IaaS. Microsoft Azure is no stranger to this idea of mixing and matching both services.

Microsoft Azure can be used to deploy a wide variety of provisioned and managed infrastructures using its PaaS solution. It can fit any of your business needs such as storage, networking, and web hosting. The utility fully manages all of your platform needs.

The platform gives you the freedom to move away from having your servers based on premises which can reduce costs. This removes the need for an on-site support team as this is all now looked after by Microsoft Azure.

The platform offers a 12-month free tier that comes with access to all popular services, $200 (£153.81) credit and over 25 ‘Always Free’ services. If this does not suit your needs Azure has all their prices laid out in incredible detail on their website. They also offer a cost calculator and a ‘Pay as you go’ service. Each price can be customized to your needs. However, the price will increase if you require more add-ons.

Users have mentioned that Azure offers a wide variety of services relating to PaaS but does not specialize in PaaS per se. This might now work for those developers looking for a PaaS specific provider.

Salesforce Platform

5. Salesforce Platform

A widely praised PaaS offering with multiple free tiers

Free trial for all tiers
Supports multiple programming languages
Steep learning curve

Salesforce Platform is a platform as a service solution that allows users to build and deploy cloud solutions. The platform provides the tools necessary to automate the process which in turn gives the user more time to focus on other areas.

Developers are able to build trusting cloud applications that are secure and scalable without worrying about hardware provisioning or application stacks. The platform uses Heroku which is used to deploy, run and manage applications written in programming languages such as Java and Ruby amongst others. Code can be used using a single command using developer tools such as GitHub.

Salesforce’s Lightning Design System provides developers with guides and the code necessary to build applications. With the handy drag-and-drop feature, users can build applications using the Lightning App Builder.

Users can get started for free by filling out a basic setup form. In order to gain access to more services, you will need to choose one of the four plans available. The lowest price tier is the ‘Employee Apps Starter’ and begins at $30 (£23.07). All tiers can be tried for free.

While Salesforce has been widely praised as a brilliant platform by users, they have also warned of the huge learning curve that goes along with it.