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Daniel Westermann

A free PostgreSQL cloud database?

Recently I was looking for a free PostgreSQL cloud database service for testing. Why? Because I’d like to use such a cloud instance for testing no matter on which workstation or OS I am currently on. Another reason is, that I could could prepare some demos at home and use the same demos at work without needing to worry about taking the database with me each time.

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There are probable many more services than the two I’ll show here. But for the scope of this post the two shall be sufficient.

ElephantSQL

The first service which popped up and seemed fine for my requirements was ElephantSQL:

pgcloud1.png

There are various plans one can choose from after registering with a username and password:
pgcloud2.png

The “TINY TURTLE” plan is the only one for free and 20MB of data seems to be very low for a database. But it still might be beneficial for little demos. So I decided to give it a try, registered and created a PostgreSQL database on the ElephantSQL website. The database is available immediately and there is a minimal management console which provides the basic parameters you’ll need to know for connecting:
pgcloud3.png

Let’s give it a try and try to connect with my local version of psql:
pgcloud4.png

This works pretty well and I could start with whatever I want to do with that database.

Pros:

  • Easy to setup

Cons:

  • A rather old version of PostgreSQL
  • Only 20MB storage to play with

heroku

Another provider which offers a free PostgreSQL cloud database is heroku:

pgcloud5.png

As with ElephantSQL there are several options to choose from:

pgcloud6.png

This time the limit is not measured in MB but in number of rows. 10’000 rows could be enough or could not :) Again, I decided to give it try. It is almost the same procedure as with ElephantSQL. Register with a username and password and create your PostgreSQL database. There is a dashboard again which shows the basic parameters of your PostgreSQL database:

pgcloud6.png

Same test, let’s try to connect:
pgcloud6.png

This works pretty well, too and I could start with whatever I want to do with that database.

Pros:

  • Easy to setup
  • A recent version of PostgreSQL

Cons:

  • Only 10’000 rows to play with

Summary

Both of the above providers provide a free PostgreSQL cloud database. Both are backed by amazon and both are really easy to setup. As both are free there are limits (which is fine, as it’s free). Depending on what you want to do the PostgreSQL version might be a killer for ElephantSQL.

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Daniel Westermann
Daniel Westermann

Senior Consultant and Technology Leader Open Infrastructure