Heroku changed their pricing, which made me move all my personal projects (Rails applications) to Render.com. This worked well and I’d definitely recommend the service, but having several small hobby apps there adds up as it’s not free. This made me want a server of my own, where I can easily deploy hobby apps to without hassle and increased cost.
Looking around I found Caprover. It’s gives you your own platform-as-a-service by running a docker image. It comes with a nice web UI and CLI to go with it. There are loads of plugins that enables easy setup of databases and the like. In short, it’s a wrapper around running docker containers and routing incoming requests to them.
The official docs are a great way to get started, so I wont get into that, but rather my experience using it for hosting Rails applications.
I did not find a nice solution to having a separate app instances for background job workers, without having to deploy to each type (web, worker) separately.
Somehow the caprover became unresponsive and I was not able to recover it. I probably borked it somehow, but it did scare me off that I had no insight into how it was behaving and to recover it.
Lost connections to database containers
I’d often see errors in Sentry that the app could not connect to the database container. This was intermittent and resolved itself, so I’m not sure what the cause was. It did not give me confidence in hosting anything user-facing on caprover.
In the end the issues above made me want to try something else and I settled on Dokku. That has been great, and much closer to the heroku CLI experience. Setup was even easier and it has been much more stable.