Sync’ up! … without getting drained

dec 8

Pinging Heroku

N.B. This post is deprecated. For archival purposes, it remains here, but generally, it ought to be disregarded by readers.

Heroku is king when it comes to getting a web application served. It’s no secret that they are quite pricey when scaling your app from toy, to taking traffic. So, it’s understandable when developers try to ride the free tier for as long as possible; one can go pretty far with Heroku’s freemium product.

One of ikura’s popular use-cases was pinging our customer’s Heroku app every fifteen minutes so it never went dormant. You see, to save resources, Heroku powered down free apps after X minutes of not being requested. However, it could take some ten seconds to serve apps up when coming from that state. This Heroku gotcha was killing simple apps & landing-page sites that collected emails etc. As first impressions matter, an app that took ten seconds to be served compromised potential sign-ups & eyeballs.

Summer 2015

Until a few months ago, Heroku allowed ikura to nudge dynos awake. Since pingdom no longer had a free plan, ikura was the obvious solution for those who wanted their Heroku apps always up. But in June, Heroku changed how it did things with their free tier. Now, for a percentage of the day (currently 18 hours of 24), the free tier will indeed idle despite your ikura job’s fifteen-minute ping.

So, let this be an FYI for those haven’t seen the news from Heroku themselves. A quick solution, for those who can swing it, is to just bump your Heroku plan up. Their paid hobby tier (7 USD/mo.) is certainly not free, but it gives you your 100% uptime, which is something even the free tier from yesteryear didn’t offer.