Here is a non-exhaustive list of the options you can explore when you want to deploy your app and make it publicly accessible.
I will list the options from simplest and constrained to more complex and powerful.
- Simplest option ever: local tunnel
- Zero configuration deployments
- Virtual Private Server
- Bare metal
Simplest option ever: local tunnel
Even if you have a dynamic IP, or you’re under a NAT, you can deploy your app and serve the requests right from your computer using a local tunnel.
This option is suited for some quick testing, demo a product or sharing of an app with a very small group of people.
A very nice tool for this, available on all platforms, is ngrok.
Using it, you can just type
ngrok PORT and the PORT you want is exposed to the internet. You will get a ngrok.io domain, but with a paid subscription you can get a custom URL as well as more security options (remember that you are opening your machine to the public Internet).
Another service you can use is https://github.com/localtunnel/localtunnel
Zero configuration deployments
Glitch is a playground and a way to build your apps faster than ever, and see them live on their own glitch.com subdomain. You cannot currently have a a custom domain, and there are a few restrictions in place, but it’s really great to prototype. It looks fun (and this is a plus), and it’s not a dumbed down environment - you get all the power of Node.js, a CDN, secure storage for credentials, GitHub import/export and much more.
Provided by the company behind FogBugz and Trello (and co-creators of Stack Overflow).
I use it a lot for demo purposes.
Codepen is an amazing platform and community. You can create a project with multiple files, and deploy it with a custom domain.
A way to publish your apps, and have no server at all to manage, is Serverless. Serverless is a paradigm where you publish your apps as functions, and they respond on a network endpoint (also called FAAS - Functions As A Service).
To very popular solutions are
They both provide an abstraction layer to publishing on AWS Lambda and other FAAS solutions based on Azure or the Google Cloud offering.
PAAS stands for Platform As A Service. These platforms take away a lot of things you should otherwise worry about when deploying your application.
Zeit is now called Vercel
Zeit is an interesting option. You just type
now in your terminal, and it takes care of deploying your application. There is a free version with limitations, and the paid version is more powerful. You forget that there’s a server, you just deploy the app.
Heroku is an amazing platform.
This is a great article on getting started with Node.js on Heroku.
Azure is the Microsoft Cloud offering.
Check out how to create a Node.js web app in Azure.
Google Cloud Platform
Google Cloud is an amazing structure for your apps.
They have a good Node.js Documentation Section
Virtual Private Server
In this section you find the usual suspects, ordered from more user friendly to less user friendly:
- Digital Ocean
- Amazon Web Services, in particular I mention Amazon Elastic Beanstalk as it abstracts away a little bit the complexity of AWS.
Since they provide an empty Linux machine on which you can work, there is no specific tutorial for these.
There are lots more options in the VPS category, those are just the ones I used and I would recommend.
Another solution is to get a bare metal server, install a Linux distribution, connect it to the internet (or rent one monthly, like you can do using the Vultr Bare Metal service)
Download my free Node.js Handbook
More node tutorials:
- An introduction to the npm package manager
- Introduction to Node.js
- HTTP requests using Axios
- Where to host a Node.js app
- Interact with the Google Analytics API using Node.js
- The npx Node Package Runner
- The package.json guide
- Where does npm install the packages?
- How to update Node.js
- How to use or execute a package installed using npm
- The package-lock.json file
- Semantic Versioning using npm
- Should you commit the node_modules folder to Git?
- Update all the Node dependencies to their latest version
- Parsing JSON with Node.js
- Find the installed version of an npm package
- Node.js Streams
- Install an older version of an npm package
- Get the current folder in Node
- How to log an object in Node
- Expose functionality from a Node file using exports
- Differences between Node and the Browser
- Make an HTTP POST request using Node
- Get HTTP request body data using Node
- Node Buffers
- A brief history of Node.js
- How to install Node.js
- How to use the Node.js REPL
- Node, accept arguments from the command line
- Output to the command line using Node
- Accept input from the command line in Node
- Uninstalling npm packages with `npm uninstall`
- npm global or local packages
- npm dependencies and devDependencies
- The Node.js Event Loop
- Understanding process.nextTick()
- Understanding setImmediate()
- The Node Event emitter
- Build an HTTP Server
- Making HTTP requests with Node
- The Node fs module
- HTTP requests in Node using Axios
- Reading files with Node
- Node File Paths
- Writing files with Node
- Node file stats
- Working with file descriptors in Node
- Working with folders in Node
- The Node path module
- The Node http module
- Using WebSockets with Node.js
- The basics of working with MySQL and Node
- Error handling in Node.js
- The Pug Guide
- How to read environment variables from Node.js
- How to exit from a Node.js program
- The Node os module
- The Node events module
- Node, the difference between development and production
- How to check if a file exists in Node.js
- How to create an empty file in Node.js
- How to remove a file with Node.js
- How to get the last updated date of a file using Node.js
- How to write a JSON object to file in Node.js
- Why should you use Node.js in your next project?
- Run a web server from any folder
- How to use MongoDB with Node.js
- Use the Chrome DevTools to debug a Node.js app
- What is pnpm?
- The Node.js Runtime v8 options list
- How to fix the "Missing write access" error when using npm
- How to enable ES Modules in Node.js
- How to spawn a child process with Node.js
- How to get both parsed body and raw body in Express
- How to handle file uploads in Node.js
- What are peer dependencies in a Node module?
- How to write a CSV file with Node.js
- How to read a CSV file with Node.js
- The Node Core Modules
- Incrementing multiple folders numbers at once using Node.js
- How to print a canvas to a data URL
- How to create and save an image with Node.js and Canvas
- How to download an image using Node.js
- How to mass rename files in Node.js
- How to get the names of all the files in a folder in Node
- How to use promises and await with Node.js callback-based functions
- How to test an npm package locally
- How to check the current Node.js version at runtime
- How to use Sequelize to interact with PostgreSQL
- Serve an HTML page using Node.js
- How to solve the `util.pump is not a function` error in Node.js