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Is there such thing as a truly free cloud database?

micahlt profile image Micah Lindley ・1 min read

I'm building a news platform powered by Vercel's Serverless Functions. Posts are to be stored in some kind of database where Vercel's functions can retrieve and return the data. However, as far as I can tell I'll need to use a database outside of Vercel as they don't support long-term data.

So in a word, I'm looking for a free cloud database with a simple API that has:

  • No request limits
  • High storage limits, or none

Have any of you found a service like this? If you have, I'd love to take a look and see if it would work for me. Currently I'm using Google's Cloud Firestore which is convenient, but its limits on the free Spark plan are very restrictive.

Discussion (31)

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ozanbolel profile image
Ozan Bolel • Edited

I have two suggestions. You can go with Prismic since you don't need a complex database structure as far as I understand. But, if you want more control over what you do, you can use MongoDB Atlas. Both have generous quotas for free tier.

You can look at: Using Prismic with Next.js.

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micahlt profile image
Micah Lindley Author

Thanks so much! I'll definitely check those out!

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enquibe profile image
enquibe • Edited

Remember to verify if the service offers a write API. At the moment, Prismic doesn't. However, there are other API based CMSs, like Storyblok, which do.

Good luck!

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patarapolw profile image
Pacharapol Withayasakpunt

Downfall of MongoDB Atlas, is there is no backup, unless you pay.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

No request limits
High storage limits, or none

It seems unrealistic that this would truly exist for free with no strings attached. I'd say your best bet is to find a way to get x free credits from one of the cloud providers. There are often promos around these sort of things that can go a long way.

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micahlt profile image
Micah Lindley Author

Thanks Ben! You really never know if this kind of stuff exists though. For example, why does GitHub offer unlimited file space and unlimited reads and writes? They could make devs pay for that but they just don't. Thanks for the advice though, I'll definitely investigate that. 👍

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edwardchanjw profile image
Edward Chan Jia Wei

As you age, I tend to think so, but in reality all the free "storage" locked in quota of API call, so your never scale, no even manage to get your passed 100k user. probably around 10k. But if your idea truly awesome, and not mainstream, probably you will get exempted.

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kiwicopple profile image
Copple

Check out Supabase. It's in alpha, but it's completely free - no limits. The database is a full Postgres instance so you can hammer it as much as you want

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micahlt profile image
Micah Lindley Author

Wow, sounds great! Thank you so much!

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riturajborpujari profile image
Rituraj Borpujari • Edited

Check out AWS DynamoDB
Its a NoSql database service by Amazon. It has really generous free tier limits and good performance too.

  • 25 GB of storage(approx)
  • 25 Writes/Read per second capacity.

If you are storing posts from Vercel, you can allocate the full read/write capacity to just one table, or you can distribute that capacity across multiple tables.
Note:
You would have to use aws-sdk to connect to DynamoDB directly without using API Gateway for zero charges.

Also storing data in table incurs zero data transfer charge, but pulling out data from table to does. The free tier limit for data transfer(out) is

  • 15 GB/month for first year
  • 1 GB/month afterwards
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sqlrob profile image
Robert Myers

25 ops/s? You could get that hosting something at home on an old box. An app could hit that with a single page load on one client.

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micahlt profile image
Micah Lindley Author

I've actually looked at hosting the server on my own machine, but I've decided not to open up my home network to potential invasion. 😃

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riturajborpujari profile image
Rituraj Borpujari

I know. But, you've got 25 GB of storage.

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sqlrob profile image
Robert Myers

It doesn't matter how much it is if you can't access the way you need to.

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riturajborpujari profile image
Rituraj Borpujari

I don't know about you but writing 25 entries to a table in one second is pretty good for me. I can store 25 articles in 1 second without paying a cent.

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sqlrob profile image
Robert Myers

Writing is going to be pretty asymmetric, and 25 should be fine, except perhaps for the initial load. Reading though is going to be more problematic. One place I worked the initial page load was ~100 database reads.

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riturajborpujari profile image
Rituraj Borpujari

You are right. Almost all databases are read heavy, rather than write heavy.
For a real database load that's exposed to public reads, you need to handle the scaling, or in other words, pay up.

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gwutama profile image
Galuh Utama • Edited

Just rent a cheap general purpose vps and install any database system you want on it. I find 5$ VPSes to be good enough.

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enquibe profile image
enquibe • Edited

Have you checked FaunaDB? It offers a generous free tier, with up to 5GB storage.

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konarkmodi profile image
Konark Modi

I would myself be interested in knowing such a service, I don't think one such service truly exists.
Few things I've tried, may be they fit your use-case:

  1. Using Herokuapp - Postgres 10K rows limit on Hobby Addon: elements.heroku.com/addons/heroku-...

  2. Cloudflare worker with KV store. - Limits: developers.cloudflare.com/workers/...

  3. Decentralised protocols like IPFS, DAT which are also available over JS and HTTP protocols via gateways, this enables them to work on regular web-browsers etc.

I am happy to spend some time with any of the above to help you come up with a reasonable Proof of Concept.

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micahlt profile image
Micah Lindley Author

Thanks! I'll definitely take a look at those.

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edwardchanjw profile image
Edward Chan Jia Wei • Edited

Finally there is someone mention them. That is like the basic knowledge if your already research the "storage" area. Again, I am gonna recommend the back4app.com/database, but I am hoping we contribute "Standardize" data, rather we keep store similar data over different "open community" database, which defeat the "open" purpose. Probably follow the most schema from popular API, like song from spotify/apple, email from google, and geolocation from mapbox, google

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sqlrob profile image
Robert Myers

Why do you think something like this would even exist?

I'm going to make an argument by bringing this to a ridiculous extension. Let's suppose a service like this does exist. What would prevent Amazon from moving to it, cutting their database infrastructure costs to zero?

Quite obviously, no one would be willing to support Amazon for free, so there has to be limits. You just need to figure out what ones are acceptable to you. I agree with Ben below. You also might just want to get one of the providers and set a billing limit for what overage is worth to you (say alert at $5, stop at $10). "Not free" may still be in a hobbyist range, with the free tier plus a coffee or two.

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edwardchanjw profile image
Edward Chan Jia Wei

If the data is open, I would suggest this: back4app.com/database
There is cost to keep data in storage thus no free, or you can say you never completely success over large scale like Microsoft, amazon. Unless VC in your early career.

Found your post while I working with YouTube music's UI too. I always stuck on UI because I don't have great aesthetic working with spacing and arrangement, always look so plain.

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manikantamaddipati profile image
Manikanata

They oracle oci

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fredericbonnet profile image
Frédéric Bonnet

FaunaDB has a generous free tier and is cloud-native. I've used it in several projects with success.

fauna.com/

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amlana24 profile image
amlan

You can try Mongo Atlas. I use it for many of my personal projects.
mongodb.com/cloud/atlas

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yodalightsabr profile image
YodaLightsabr

I have the Repl.it hacker plan so I can just make a REST API for my Ognom.db, which has read, write, push, and delete via GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE HTTP methods.

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manishfoodtechs profile image
manish srivastava

You can choose one from here :db-engines.com/en/ranking
It's just a list but will surely help you with choosing db

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ramazanm profile image
Ramazan

Even there is such as thing, i don't think it will be secure or reliable.

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micahlt profile image
Micah Lindley Author

You never know. I often cite GitHub as an example. Why do they provide unlimited repositories, unlimited pushes and pulls, and no storage limits?