Choosing the Right Hosting Option for NextJS - Vercel vs. Self-Hosting

Choosing the Right Hosting Option for NextJS - Vercel vs. Self-Hosting

NextJS, known for its powerful features and developer-friendly environment, has gained significant popularity among web developers. As your Next application becomes more complex, you may find yourself in need of hosting options beyond the default choices like Vercel. In this informative blog post, we will explore different hosting options for Next applications, including backend architectures for more complex web apps. We will also discuss the cost considerations and provide guidance on selecting the most suitable hosting solution based on your specific requirements.

Vercel: Simplicity and Convenience

Vercel, the default hosting option for Next applications, offers a streamlined deployment experience. With its Serverless infrastructure, automatic scaling, and built-in features like server-side rendering (SSR) and static site generation (SSG), Vercel is an excellent choice for smaller to medium-sized applications with simpler backend needs. The cost varies based on resource usage, but it provides a free tier and transparent pricing plans for higher levels.

Self-hosting: Enhanced Flexibility

In more complex Next applications requiring a sophisticated backend architecture and data persistence, you can consider self-hosting the backend while leveraging cloud services.

Platforms like Heroku, DigitalOcean, or AWS Elastic Beanstalk allow you to deploy and manage your own backend server. These services provide flexibility and scalability to handle increased traffic and complex business logic.

Cloud-based databases such as MongoDB Atlas, Amazon RDS, Azure Cosmos DB, or Google Cloud Firestore offer managed infrastructure with features like automatic scaling, backups, and monitoring. These options provide robust data persistence and efficient data management for your application.

Self-hosted solutions offer greater control and customisation but require additional setup and maintenance compared to Serverless options like Vercel. They are well-suited for applications with more demanding backend requirements, providing scalability and data persistence. Costs will vary based on the chosen services and resource usage, but they generally offer a cost-effective solution that can scale as your application grows.

Leveraging AWS free tier

When deploying backend services to AWS you are able to take advantage of the free tier (especially during the first year that the account was created).

Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)

The Free Tier offers 750 hours per month of Linux and Windows t2.micro instances for one year. This enables you to run a small backend server without incurring charges for compute resources.

Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service)

With the Free Tier, you get 5 GB of standard storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests per month. This allows you to store and retrieve files, images, or other data without additional cost.

Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service)

The Free Tier provides options for various database engines like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB, with 750 hours per month of db.t2.micro instances for one year. This allows you to set up and manage a small-scale database without incurring charges.

AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda offers 1 million free requests per month, as well as 400,000 GB-seconds of compute time per month. You can leverage this serverless compute service to execute your backend code without paying for the first 12 months (subject to usage limits).

AWS DynamoDB

DynamoDB, a fully managed NoSQL database service, provides 25 GB of storage and 25 units of read capacity and write capacity per month for the first 12 months. This allows you to store and retrieve data at no cost within the specified limits.

AWS CloudFront

With the Free Tier, you can take advantage of 50 GB of data transfer per month and 2,000,000 HTTP and HTTPS requests per month. CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) that helps optimize the delivery of your backend resources to users.

Okay, so how do I make a choice?! 🤯

To make an informed decision about hosting your Next application, consider the following factors:

🧬 Complexity

Evaluate the complexity of your application's backend requirements. If you require more than Nexts API feature, assess whether a self-hosted backend is necessary.

⚖️ Scalability

Anticipate the traffic and data volume your application might experience. If significant growth is expected, self-hosted solutions with cloud services offer better scalability options.

🛠️ Maintenance

Consider the level of maintenance and infrastructure management you are comfortable with. Serverless options like Vercel require minimal maintenance, while self-hosted solutions demand more attention.

💰 Cost

Assess the cost implications of each hosting option. Serverless options may have lower upfront costs but can become more expensive as your application scales. Self-hosted solutions allow for more cost optimisation but require investment in infrastructure.


Choosing the right hosting option for your Next application involves evaluating the complexity of your backend, scalability requirements, maintenance considerations, and cost implications. While Vercel offers a straightforward solution for simpler applications, self-hosted solutions with cloud services provide more flexibility and control as your application grows. Remember to periodically evaluate your hosting options and make adjustments as necessary to ensure optimal performance and cost-effectiveness as your web application gains popularity.