Firebase helps developers tackle problems like building apps faster, releasing and monitoring apps with confidence, and engaging app users. It is not, however, entirely free. As a result, we've reviewed a list of open-source, self-hosted Google Firebase alternatives for developers and businesses in this blog.
What is Firebase?
Firebase is a cloud service that allows you to build real-time, collaborative apps. Include the Firebase library in your app to access a shared data structure; any changes to the data are instantly synchronized with the Firebase cloud and other clients.
The platform includes a set of strong tools for developing, managing, and improving demand-driven apps. Google Firebase use can construct mobile, web, and desktop apps. It has a NoSQL database backend, an API, authentication, monitoring, user permissions, and a file and attachment store, among other features.
Based on exemplary Google technology, it offers many tools and services to assist developers in creating high-quality apps, expanding their user base, and making profits. Firebase is a NoSQL database application that saves information in JSON-like documents.
Why might you need a Firebase alternative?
Every software program requires a backend, where Backend-as-a-Service (Baas) solutions may help. Firebase is one of the most prominent Baas solutions, launched in 2011 and later acquired by Google in 2014. Today, this real-time database provides 18 services and is one of the leaders in its market.
Firebase helps developers tackle problems like building apps faster, releasing and monitoring apps with confidence, and engaging app users.
Furthermore, developers receive access to services they would otherwise have to develop because they are hosted in the cloud; developers can scale up and down as required.
However, several open-source solutions provide certain advantages compared to proprietary software and it is not entirely free. As a result, we've reviewed a list of open-source, self-hosted Google Firebase alternatives for developers and businesses in this blog.
Downsides of using Firebase
Like any other program, Firebase has its limits and drawbacks. Firebase always verifies a user's identity and stores the necessary information without users’ consent. Let's take a closer look at why you might need an alternative to Firebase. The following are some of the reasons why you should use an open-source alternative to Firebase:
1) Authentication and Authorization Issues
Everyone is familiar with the application's normal authentication: the user enters his email address, password, and so on. After that, these data are compared to those already saved. The user is granted access when the data matches. Fortunately, there are many additional methods with current authentication capabilities available today. We will only discuss the most significant and modern methods of providing authentication, not all of them.
2) High Pricing
There are two versions of Firebase: Spark Plan and Blaze Plan. The Spark Plan is entirely free, and it's perfect for people just getting started with Firebase. Blaze Plan is a pay-as-you-go option for large-scale apps. Here's where it gets tricky: there's no way of knowing how the increase in traffic will affect the pricing in the end. Firebase becomes more expensive as your product grows in popularity. Because the Blaze Plan has no set price, the expansion of your company can be both a good and a bad thing.
3) Limitations of Real-Time Databases
For most of your tasks that prove to be complex, you will use a Real-time Database as key storage. One of Firebase’s most significant flaws is its limited querying capabilities. Because Real-time DB comprises a large JSON file, there is no way to filter competencies. Typing sophisticated queries becomes more challenging with such a file. Aside from that, you'll need to think about concerns with this database and its data modeling. Implementing relationships between data items is impossible due to its ‘database as a single file’ format.
4) Vendor Lock-in
There is no link between Firebase as an app development platform and vendor lock-in, a significant challenge when you opt to use the Firebase backend service. Furthermore, because this technology limitation does not provide migration tools for moving data to another platform, it is a significant Firebase drawback.
5) Problems with Data Migration
The more your product expands, the more data migration challenges you may encounter. As previously stated, Firebase is based on JSON and has limited SQL functionality, making it difficult to convert from a database. You must handle data in the same manner that this BaaS does.
Top 10 Firebase alternatives
Firebase saves developers much time and effort during setup and support. It eliminates the hassles of server upkeep, upgrades, security, and DevOps costs. It also includes numerous developer libraries, SDKs, and extensions that make app development a breeze. Here is a list of some of the greatest Firebase alternatives; read on to learn more about these options if you prefer not to use Firebase:
Auth0 is a service that allows you to authenticate and authorize users. Any application can be connected to Auth0, and the identity providers you want to utilize can be specified. Choose one of its SDKs (or contact our API) that best fits your app's technology and connect it to it. Auth0 will now verify a user's identity and transmit the necessary information back to your app every time they attempt to authenticate.
- OAuth 2.0 grant-flow authorization code
- Access Control by Role
- Permissions, Users, and Roles
Auth0 comes with free plans for users. However, for developers and companies, it comes with flexible pricing. Auth0 is available for a monthly fee of $23.0. Auth0 provides a variety of plans: for small B2C product that costs $23.00 per month, whereas it is available for $130.00 per month for B2B uses.
MongoDB Atlas can be defined as a fully managed cloud database that takes care of all the details of deploying, monitoring, and recovering your installations on your preferred cloud service providers. The best approach to deploy, run, and scale MongoDB in the cloud is with MongoDB Atlas. With Atlas, you can set up a MongoDB database in a matter of minutes with only a few clicks.
Firebase and MongoDB are modern post-relational databases that allow flexibility and speed to market. Firebase is preferred for micro apps, and MongoDB is more popular for huge datasets and larger use cases.
Features of MongoDB
- Scalability is a lot easier
- Strong Security Arrangements
- Resources for Technical Assistance
- Features of Built-in Automation
However, MongoDB Atlas has a permanent free tier and usage-based pricing starting at $9 per month for a shared instance and $60 per month for a dedicated instance.
3) Amazon Cognito
Amazon Cognito makes it simple to integrate user sign-up and authentication into your web applications. Amazon Cognito also lets you authenticate users using an external identity provider and gives you temporary security credentials to access your app's AWS backend resources or any service behind Amazon API Gateway. It identifies the web and gives the user a consistent identification throughout the application's lifespan.
Features of Amazon Cognito
- User directory that is both scalable and safe
- Federation of social identities
- Authentication with many factors
- UI that can be customized
- Control of access
The Free Tier of Amazon Cognito is available, but it costs $0.15 each 10,000 sync operations and $0.15 per GB of sync storage per month.
Back4App is a Parse Open Source-powered, a backend-as-a-service platform that allows you to build your app faster, host it with ease, and maintain complete control over your backend. Back4App makes it simple to create, host, and maintain apps using the open-source Parse Server with cross-platform compatibility, scalable servers, and pre-built samples.
Back4App's main features
Here are some of the essential aspects of back4app that you should be aware of:
- Database that looks like a spreadsheet
- REST and GraphQL APIs
- Queries in Real-Time
- Hosting that is scalable
When it comes to Back4App's pricing, you may take advantage of a free account. To get started, you don't need a credit card. Making and using a free account might simplify the purpose of trying out the product or working on a personal project. Back4App is an incredibly versatile and scalable solution that allows you to scale your resources as needed.
In addition, there is a free plan. Back4App also provides shared and dedicated resources, which you can select based on your app's requirements. Shared services start at $5 per month, while dedicated plans start at $250 per month.
Parse Server is an open-source backend server that enables developers to deploy Node-based apps. Facebook created it and offers many services alongside it, including database services such as MongoDB and PostGre. It involves the use of a deployment infrastructure such as Heroku or AWS. Parse has no connection limits and allows for local testing and development. It's a fantastic tool for developing apps rapidly and on a budget.
Features of Parse
- Modeling of data
- Create GraphQL APIs and REST APIs
- Real-time notifications
- Push notifications
- Email notifications
Parse is available as a free download and does not require a license. Meanwhile, the paid plan starts at $4.99 a month per user.
6) AWS Amplify
AWS Amplify is a set of purpose-built tools and capabilities that allow front-end web and mobile developers to rapidly and easily build full-stack applications on AWS. It offers the flexibility to use the full range of AWS services as your use cases change.
AWS Amplify comes with a number of open-source libraries and drag-and-drop UI components that developers can utilize to create their apps. It also comes with a command-line interface (CLI) that you may use to create your backend. AWS Amplify Console also provides web-hosting services for your app at a cost.
Features of AWS Amplify
- Data Storage
- Push notifications
- File Storage
- Quick Response
The Amplify framework, which includes libraries, components, and more, is completely free! You only have to pay for the services you use to build or deploy your app; for example, if you use S3 for storage and add an Amplify storage module, you'll have to pay the standard S3 fees.
AWS Amplify has a free tier for building or deploying and web hosting lasting 12 months (with certain limitations). After that, it's $0.01 per build minute, $0.023 per GB of storage per month, and $0.15 for every GB served for build/deploy.
Backendless is a fantastic, efficient application development platform that was created for both individual app developers and agencies. The codeless logic builder or manually written code can be used to customize a Backendless application. Developers can use the solution to send emails and push notifications and use real-time chat and geolocation features. Backendless has a UI builder, private server hosting, different client-side environments, external database connectivity, an intuitive interface, real-time connectivity, and many other useful features.
Features of Backendless
- Backendless Core
- UI Builder
- API Services
- Backend Management
Backendless pricing starts at $25.00 per month as a flat fee. A free version and trial are available from Backendless.
Kuzzle is a development tool that helps developers create mobile, web, and IoT applications. An application has various components, including data storage on the database, data security, speedier results, and real-time inquiries. All of this must be managed, including the proper interaction of your backend with the front end.
Kuzzle is open source, but it also comes with optional, expensive membership plans that include additional features and premium support for thousands of dollars each month. Also, it appears that quite a few individuals have already started following the project on GitHub.
Features of Kuzzle
- Real-Time Query Response
- Search engine
- Security layer
Customers of Kuzzle have the option of using their services for free. Premium packages start at $1200 per month and go up from there.
Supabase is a set of tools that helps developers build projects faster by handling most behind-the-scenes work and wiring for them. Supabase is a free and open-source Firebase alternative. It includes all of the backend services you'll require to create a product. It's designed to make it easy for developers to set up their backend in a matter of minutes.
Supabase currently provides database, authentication, and storage functionalities. They also have serverless capabilities; however, this feature is currently in the works.
Features of Supabase
- You can spin up and manage your database in less than one minute with this dashboard/UI.
- To sign up users and update access restrictions on your database, you'll need to employ user authentication.
- Database listeners in real-time
Supabase is completely free ( when you want to tinker with it). The pricing is $25 per month once you need more extensive databases or data backups.
Appwrite is a self-hosted solution that gives developers a set of REST APIs that are simple to use and integrate when managing their fundamental backend needs. Its purpose is to enable developers to build complex apps faster by abstracting and simplifying typical development activities behind REST APIs and tools.
It's essentially a new open-source, end-to-end, back-end server for front-end and mobile developers, which allows them to create apps significantly faster.
Features of Appwrite
Appwrite is available for free of cost and does not require a license to use.
Other Alternatives (Bonus)
Hasura is a GraphQL APIs engine that runs in real-time. It gives quick access to your data via a real-time GraphQL API, allowing you to design and ship modern apps and APIs considerably faster. Hasura integrates to all of your data sources, including databases, REST servers, GraphQL servers, and third-party APIs, to deliver a single, real-time GraphQL API. Hasura takes the well-known Postgres database and transforms it into a magical GraphQL endpoint locked down by default. Both Postgres and GraphQL are well-known technologies. GraphQL is a lesser-known entity, although it is growing in prominence.
Features of Hasura
- Subscriptions and Live Queries
- Dynamic Access Control
- Write business logic backed by REST APIs
- Remote Schemas
- Event Triggers for serverless
Hasura is free of cost for personal use and basic sites; however, it is available at $99 per month for enterprises.
Nhost software is a platform that allows you to create apps in minutes using PostgreSQL, GraphQL, Hasura, and other technologies. Manage projects with a layer of sophisticated authorization rules and fully integrated authentication. The program is used by developers, as well as small and medium businesses. Developers can create dynamic mobile apps and websites without worrying about infrastructure, data storage, data access, or user management.
Features of Nhost
- GraphQL API
Nhost, with complete transparency and high reliability, is available free of cost and does not require a license.
It's an open-source tool for creating, designing and scaling APIs. Both online and mobile apps can benefit from this. Using this program, the entire procedure takes only a few hours or minutes rather than days.
The best aspect is that you can design and test your API locally and then distribute it using the option to deploy your API. This developer-friendly alternative streamlines the process of creating and deploying APIs. Custom resources and event scripts are also possible.
Features of Deployd
- User-friendly interface
- File support
- Validation flexibility
Deployd is an open-source software application; all of its services are free to all its users and no registration is required. You don't need an account to access their site. Start your installation for free.
When should you use Firebase?
If you're planning to create a new app or rewrite an existing one from the ground up, Firebase is a smart option. Furthermore, Firebase facilitates the storage and retrieval of dynamic content. If you want to construct the app without doing any specific code on the backend, Firebase makes it simple. For example, in the case of a chat app or a video conference app, the backend is not necessary to manage the items.
When your apps only need a basic level of interaction with legacy systems or third-party services, Firebase is the way to go. When your application does not require substantial data processing or any complex user verification, Firebase becomes an excellent solution.
When should you not use Firebase?
If you're working on a larger project, though, you should think twice because it gets expensive, and there's a limit to how many backend processes or database queries you can run. If your desired operation is to execute deep and complicated querying, it is strongly advised that you do not use Firebase for Android. With Firebase as the backend, queries like reversing the order of elements in a collection are not possible.
When dealing with sophisticated queries, there's a good chance you'll run across the inconsistency problem. Even though Firebase enables offline operations, the concurrency that occurs during this time frequently results in inconsistencies.
Firebase is a great place to start for a new, speedy MVP with a robust database. However, if you begin using Firebase, you will most certainly have to stick with it to the finish. Because of the issues outlined in the article, many people do not recommend Firebase for expanding projects or projects with complex data. Firebase has many features that need investigating before you can decide whether it is the perfect answer for your product, just like any other technology.
First and foremost, it is critical to comprehend your application and examine the necessary functionalities thoroughly. The amount of scaling required, the types of queries required, and the number and frequency of update operations to be conducted should all need thoughtful consideration. Only after a thorough examination can one decide whether to use Firebase as the backend provider for their app or make use of any of the excellent alternatives listed above.