Reed Rawhouser

What are my options to replace Parse?

on parse, mobile apps

Recently, Parse announced that they are retiring their service effective January 28, 2017. If you use Parse for your mobile app, you probably already knew that. So what should you do if you use Parse for your backend? Several of our clients are currently in this situation and are now considering their options, so we put together a list of the major pros and cons to each of our four favorite recommended alternatives to Parse.

Option 1: Build A Custom Backend – Build your own backend, API, and database

Pros:

  • You can build whatever you want with the exact specifications your app needs.

Cons:

  • It is expensive – you were probably on Parse because you wanted to save money on a backend.

Why use a custom backend?

  • If you were planning to switch to a custom backend, now is the time. Many startups use Parse for their MVP phase to cut down on costs, then eventually switch to a custom option. If you are ready to scale, switching to a custom backend will be the best long-term cost saver and can give your product a nice performance boost.
  • If you are a Parse power user and have run into its limitations like we have, this would be a good time to go custom. The same performance issues will happen with the other alternatives, and going the custom route will allow you to optimize for maximum performance.

Option 2: Use MongoDB plus Parse's Open Source Server – Basically, host your own Parse

Pros:

  • You can keep your data using Parse's migration tool.
  • You can keep using Parse's server, which will make for fewer app changes.
  • You will have more control and custom options because it will be a custom backend using Parse's server.

Cons:

  • You can keep using Parse's API – yes, this is both a Pro and Con. Parse's API has a lot of known issues, and they will follow you if you take this option.
  • You still have to host and create your own backend to support the MongoDB and API, which takes both time and money.

Why use MongoDB plus Parse's Server?

  • If you really need to keep your data intact, this is the best option. Parse even provides the tool to migrate.
  • If you want to go custom, but don't have the funds necessary to get all the way there, this is a more affordable middle ground.

Option 3: Firebase – Web and mobile app backend with a NoSQL database like Parse

Pros:

  • It is very similar to Parse in functionality and user experience.
  • There is a free tier comparable to Parse's free tier.

Cons:

  • You still have limitations in what you can do (like Parse).
  • Who is to say Firebase won't fold next year, too?

Why use Firebase?

  • If your app runs well on Parse, or if you don't need to scale for a while (or ever), Firebase is definitely the way to go.
  • This is probably the lowest cost option for most apps on Parse right now.

Option 4: AWS Mobile Hub – Amazon's new service that makes it much easier to use AWS and connect it to a mobile app

Pros:

  • Does everything Parse does (and more), including a free tier.
  • Seamless integration with other Amazon Web Services.

Cons:

  • The service is still in Beta, so it might be smart to wait a little while longer to jump on board.

Why use AWS Mobile Hub?

  • If you are looking for a more powerful Parse without building your own backend, this is a good option.
  • If you already use AWS for your app, it makes sense to take advantage of the seamless integration between AWS Mobile Hub and other Amazon Web Services.