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9 open source PaaS options developers should know in 2024

Open source PaaS is a good option for developers who want control over application hosting and simplified app deployment, but not all open source PaaS options are created equal.

PaaS is an application hosting model that abstracts most of the underlying infrastructure required to deploy a cloud-based software application to simplify the end-to-end development process. A step below SaaS, PaaS tools reduce the overhead required to deploy application dependencies, such as databases, and simplify the vast majority of DevOps operations, such as load balancing.

PaaS is popular among developers because it reduces the time to market of most products, eliminating the complexity of managing servers and simplifying the deployment processes that are traditionally more complex in cloud-based environments, typically referred to as IaaS.

Although ease of use is a focus of PaaS, there are some drawbacks. For one, vendor lock-in is a serious problem. Virtualized infrastructure offered by most cloud providers can be moved easily to different providers as necessary, but PaaS deployments are specialized and, generally, not reproducible. Moving from one provider to another requires a lot of overhead and effort.

This is where open source PaaS comes into play. Although an open source PaaS doesn't fully take away the need to manage servers, it simplifies the application deployment and management process. It gives users more control over where and how they host their applications, while still reducing the amount of effort required to get the applications to market.

Top 9 open source PaaS tools

There are a number of popular open source PaaS options on the market today, each with its own unique twist. The tools listed alphabetically below are nine of the most popular -- and increasingly popular -- projects that engineering teams are using to abstract the complexities of infrastructure management, while still embracing the power of the cloud.


CapRover is a popular free and open source PaaS originally released in 2017 that can run on any cloud and on-premises infrastructure. Built using TypeScript, CapRover is easy to use. Users can deploy it on any infrastructure with a Docker container. It's also available for deployment as a one-click app on DigitalOcean, a cloud provider for which CapRover offers special integration.

Users can deploy nearly any application to CapRover with minimal overhead due to its Captain Definition file format. This file outlines all the resources and other dependencies required to successfully run the underlying application.

Although getting started with CapRover is straightforward, what makes it stand out is its built-in marketplace of one-click applications. This simplifies deploying common technologies, such as WordPress and MySQL, and reduces the overall complexity of deploying an application to CapRover.

Key features

  • Automatic Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) certificate provisioning from Let's Encrypt.
  • Local CLI client for automation.
  • Web-based GUI for ease of use.
  • Support for all Docker-based applications.
  • Built-in marketplace for one-click deploys of other popular open source applications.
Compare open source PaaS options
Open source PaaS options can be built on different stacks and differ in terms of GUIs and CLIs.

Cloud Foundry

Cloud Foundry is a powerful platform that uses the scalability of Kubernetes to create a simple yet performant PaaS option. Cloud Foundry can be deployed anywhere using BOSH, a cross-platform tool developed by Cloud Foundry for deploying and managing large-scale cloud-based software. Cloud Foundry provides developer tooling that reduces the overhead of deploying software to a Kubernetes cluster without compromising quality or speed.

Cloud Foundry is primarily managed using a custom CLI and takes a modular approach to its own service marketplace, which can be enhanced with features such as log streaming and single sign-on support. Although the service marketplace can deploy things such as databases, what makes it particularly interesting is that it can also broker communications to third-party APIs, such as GitHub and AWS.

Key features

  • CLI client for integrating into existing build tools.
  • Flexible infrastructure support through BOSH stemcells.
  • Support for most major programming languages and custom buildpacks.
  • Built-in service marketplace for enhancing deployment functionality.


While most PaaS solutions offer some level of management automation, Coolify stands apart due to its extreme focus on automating virtually every management task possible. It provides customizable built-in monitoring, backups and server maintenance scripts. Coolify also offers a simple deployment experience -- it only needs a single curl command to download and run the Coolify installation script. Coolify is also tightly integrated with Git by default, enabling easy Git-based application deployments.

Key features

  • Extensive automations available out of the box.
  • Automatic integration with Git.
  • Option for API-based management of servers and resources.


Dokku is a simple, headless PaaS platform that prides itself on its low profile and ease of use. Dokku is officially CLI-only, although third-party UIs, such as Ledokku and Shokku, are available. Its usability feels highly inspired by Heroku's own tooling. Although Dokku is a popular, low-overhead PaaS, what really makes it stand out is its plugin architecture.

Built entirely as a collection of well-structured plugins, Dokku can be easily extended to install dependencies within a single application repository, such as databases and caching services, while also enabling support for additional features, such as Let's Encrypt SSL/TLS certificate registration and even automated Slack notifications.

Key features

  • CLI client for integrating into existing build tools.
  • Git push-based deployment strategy similar to Heroku.
  • Extensive plugin architecture.
  • Built-in Docker support for advanced usage.


Lagoon from is a Kubernetes-based PaaS. Launched in 2017 and acquired by Mirantis in 2022, Lagoon supports deployment on any cloud-based or on-premises infrastructure. It also offers a composable, API-centric approach to PaaS configuration and management, giving development and platform teams more control over how they configure their PaaS.

Lagoon itself is fully open source and can run anywhere. offers Lagoon-based PaaS deployments on managed infrastructure starting at $199 per month.

Key features

  • Infrastructure-agnostic design enabling compatibility with any public cloud or on-premises infrastructure.
  • Composable platform enabling broad flexibility over PaaS configuration.
  • Simple Docker-based deployment.
  • Paid hosting plan and support available.


The open source core that powers Red Hat's OpenShift commercial PaaS tool, OKD is an enhanced distribution of Kubernetes optimized for developer-centric functionality, such as continuous development and multi-tenant deployment. Designed to run any Kubernetes workload, OKD is built with team usability in mind.

With both a web console and CLI, OKD creates a centralized hub to manage everything from the underlying technology stack to the team and organization. Although OKD emphasizes that this isn't a fork of Kubernetes but instead a sister of it, it's clearly put a lot of thought into the features it offers on top of Kubernetes itself.

Key features

  • Native support for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, Active Directory and OAuth.
  • Multi-tenancy support.
  • Automated Git-based deployment hooks.
  • CLI and GUI for building and monitoring applications.


Porter, a relative newcomer to the open source PaaS scene, is a Kubernetes-powered PaaS that launched in 2020 with a goal of bringing the Heroku experience to a developer's preferred cloud provider. An open source platform with self-hosting capabilities, Porter is a well-crafted tool with a web dashboard that has as much form as it has function.

What makes Porter particularly interesting is its monetization model, which follows the traditional path of an open source core powering a managed service with a few more features -- but with a little twist. Rather than running all the infrastructure itself, Porter automatically provisions a Kubernetes cluster on a user's preferred cloud provider. Users pay a fee to Porter -- except under the company's free plan, which enables limited-scale deployment with no management fee -- while also paying the cloud provider for the infrastructure they consume. This approach gives users more control over the underlying infrastructure, while Porter abstracts all the Kubernetes complexity to ease adoption.

Key features

  • CLI and GUI for deploying and managing applications.
  • Built-in support for AWS, Google Cloud Platform and DigitalOcean.
  • Built-in marketplace for one-click add-ons, such as databases and caching services.
  • Native Docker and buildpack support.


Rancher, which launched in 2014 and has been owned by SUSE since 2020, currently bills itself as more of an enterprise Kubernetes-as-a-service tool than a PaaS. However, its history as a PaaS tool earns it a place on this list. Offering a wide range of functionality for deploying and managing Kubernetes clusters across a number of clouds, including VMware vSphere, Rancher assists the deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters without getting in the way.

Similarly to the other PaaS tools on this list, Rancher offers a wealth of additional features for managing users, clusters and organizations in a central location. Although its command-line tool acts as an extension of the existing kubectl tool, its GUI provides some excellent helper functions to deploy and manage cloud applications.

Rancher is free to download and use anywhere, but paid plans are available for users who want a fully managed deployment and enterprise-level support.

Key features

  • Simple Docker-based deployment.
  • Multi-cloud support through multiple Kubernetes cluster management.
  • CLI and GUI for managing applications.
  • Paid hosting plan and support available.


Tsuru is another open source PaaS that can be deployed using Docker on virtually any infrastructure with just a few commands -- although Tsuru does require more configuration steps than other open source Docker-based PaaS tools, such as CapRover. Users can also install Tsuru by using Debian packages or pre-built binaries or by building it from source.

Tsuru emphasizes extensibility and ease of use for developers. What makes it most interesting, however, is its use of an API to communicate with service APIs. This enables developers to connect Tsuru to services, such as a database service, via APIs without requiring Tsuru to integrate with or manage the services directly. This enables a more flexible approach to application deployment and integration.

Key features

  • Docker-based deployment option.
  • Ability to extend PaaS deployment as desired by modifying base images.
  • API-based integration with services.

Editor's note: The unranked list is based on web research and presented in alphabetical order.

Chris Tozzi, senior editor of content and a DevOps analyst at Fixate IO, has worked as a journalist and Linux systems administrator with particular interest in open source Agile infrastructure and networking.

Zachary Flower is a freelance web developer, writer and polymath. He has an eye for simplicity and usability and strives to build products with both the end user and business goals in mind.

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