Comparing Telegram Bot Hosting Providers
Bots are perfect for handling repetitive tasks and have been slowly but surely increasing in popularity over the course of the last decade. In this article, we take a look at the different hosting solutions you can consider when it's time to deploy your Telegram bot.
AWS Lambda allows you to build serverless Telegram bots using a Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) pricing model. This means you only pay for the resources you use, excluding idle time. Furthermore, AWS also has a generous free tier that includes 400,000 GB-seconds per month, which makes it a good option if you’re building the bot for fun or as a light application that will only be used by a few people. AWS is a reasonable choice from a cost perspective, but it doesn't fare well from an ease-of-use point of view.
Developers new to AWS may find there’s a steep learning curve involved in using their services, as there are more steps to getting an application up and running on AWS compared to other popular PaaS providers.
Microsoft Azure offers two ways to build and host a Telegram bot: Azure Functions or Azure Bot Service, both of which are serverless. The main benefits of a serverless architecture is that it allows you to focus on the code and not worry about deployment issues, such as which server to use. If you plan on having a bot on other social platforms, using the Azure Bot Service will be your best bet, as you can simply add a new channel to the same bot resource for a new social platform.
When it comes to pricing, Azure Functions beats the Azure Bot Service, as the functions are free for the first 12 months. The Azure Bot Service uses a pay-as-you-go model, so you'll only pay for what you use.
Google App Engine
Google App Engine is best suited to hosting applications that have different parts working together to achieve one main purpose. As such, you can host a Telegram bot on App Engine, but you’ll be committing to taking a longer route to getting your bot up and running. This is because the setup process assumes you’re building a more complex app than a bot.
Apps in App Engine can run in either a standard environment or a flexible environment. The standard environment has a free tier but the flexible environment doesn’t. Both environments use a pay-as-you-go pricing model.
Google Cloud Functions
Google Cloud Functions is tailor-made to run individual services that have a single purpose. This means it's a good choice for event-driven solutions such as a Telegram bot using webhooks to only invoke a function after it receives a message from a user. Cloud Functions also offers a perpetual free tier, which gives customers up to 2 million free invocations per month. If you exceed the 2 million quota, you will be charged for each million invocations thereafter.
On the downside, Google Cloud Functions has a limited feature set when compared to its competitors like AWS Lambda, which might be a sticking point if you’re planning on building a serverless function with extensive features.
Google Cloud Run
Google Cloud Run is a cloud compute platform created to host applications that have high computational needs. It is therefore perfectly capable of hosting a Telegram bot, but turns out to be a pricier option beyond the free tier when compared to its sibling, Cloud Functions (which can do the same). This is because you’ll be using more demanding resources, but this shouldn’t be a concern if you aren’t building an enterprise bot, since it has a generous free tier.
Heroku is a PaaS provider for hosting dynamic backend applications. A Telegram bot is a backend application in one form, and so can be hosted on Heroku. Heroku is generally easy to use and is well-documented, which means you shouldn’t struggle to deploy your bot. Heroku uses a more traditional architecture and doesn’t offer serverless functions, so developers have to figure out how many servers – or dynos, as Heroku calls them – their application needs.
The platform also has a free tier that allows you to host a Telegram bot, and is fairly priced should you exceed its limits.
Code Capsules offers different types of capsules or servers to meet your hosting needs, from frontend and backend applications to databases. A Telegram bot can be hosted by a Backend Capsule with minimal hassle, as the platform is relatively easy to use and navigate. Code Capsules only has a free tier for Frontend Capsules, meaning you will have to pay to make use of its Backend Capsules.
Code Capsules also supports a wide variety of languages, ensuring you have plenty of options to choose from when deciding on the tech stack for your bot.
Red Hat OpenShift
Red Hat OpenShift is an enterprise Kubernetes platform that’s built for an open hybrid cloud strategy. Using OpenShift to host a Telegram bot might be considered overkill, since the platform was built for far more demanding enterprise use cases. There’s also a learning curve involved when setting up your first OpenShift container, which you’ll need to deploy your Telegram bot.
OpenShift does have a free trial, but the process of buying it officially has a lot of steps and sometimes sales agents are involved depending on the plan you will be buying.
PythonAnywhere is an online IDE and PaaS for hosting projects you’d have written in the browser. This makes it convenient and easy to use, especially for beginners who might find any project setup stage daunting. The experience is synonymous to that of other popular serverless functions providers, as the developer only has to worry about writing their code. You can host a Telegram bot with PythonAnywhere, but you're limited to developing and hosting Python projects, which leaves out other popular languages like Node.js, Java and C#.
PythonAnywhere has a basic plan that is free, but it doesn’t support applications at scale. For applications that need scaling, the Hacker plan costs $5 per month and can support apps that get up to 10,000 hits a day.
Oracle Cloud is a cloud compute platform offering IaaS and PaaS products. It is more than capable of hosting a Telegram bot using its functions service in the PaaS branch. However, developers new to the platform might find it hard to navigate, as their site is flooded with the many different kinds of services they offer. Beyond that, it is a reputable platform with a 30-day free trial to allow you to test drive the service you sign up for. At the end of the free trial, you’ll be billed for the resources you use on a pay-as-you-go model.
Vercel is a PaaS provider primarily used for hosting frontend and static sites, but their serverless functions offering makes it possible to deploy a Telegram bot to their platform. The serverless functions support Node.js, Go, Python and Ruby, so you have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to deciding which language to write your bot in. Vercel is also a relatively easy-to-use platform, meaning that even new developers shouldn’t struggle to host their first project with them.
The platform has a free plan that unfortunately doesn’t support functions. The package that supports functions starts at $20 per team member per month and has a 14-day free trial period.
Joyent is a cloud compute platform offering an array of services from IaaS to PaaS. Users can host a Telegram bot on Joyent through their Node.js Support service, which they claim is uniquely equipped to deliver the highest level of support for powerful enterprise applications. The platform is mainly geared towards enterprise customers, so if you just want to host a Telegram bot to showcase to friends and family, this provider might be overkill.
There are many providers capable of hosting a Telegram bot, but the choice as to which one is right for you will mainly depend on the tech stack you plan to use and the size of your budget. If evaluating which provider to use from an ease-of-use perspective and how quickly you can get your bot up and running, then Code Capsules and PythonAnywhere come out on top, with the latter having the disadvantage of only being able to host Python projects.
Code Capsules supports most of the popular modern languages, including but not limited to Python, Node.js and Go, but has the disadvantage that it doesn't have a free tier for Backend Capsules, which you'll need to host a Telegram bot.