Is there any cost for using firebase?

No, not really!

There are different type of pricing for firebase.

But you can get the most of the features in the free plan and you don’t even need to connect your credit card for the free plan.

This is a question I get from a lot of clients as many of our products rely heavily on Firebase. The answer is very dependant on your application but in almost all cases this will never be a problem.

Where do the costs occur?

If you look at the Firebase pricing plan you can see that data is the main constraint for the pricing brackets. When you move up a tier you get various increases in data allowances as well as more database operations. This means you need to look at what your app does to see the impact of more users.

What does my app do?

This is the next question you need to ask yourself. Many apps will be dealing only in text strings meaning the data amount is very small. Images would be a step up from this and videos another jump in data usage. You need to think about how often your app stores this data. It might be that you only upload a single image for each user or it could be that you send multiple images while using. In both these cases the data usage will vary hugely.

Before worrying about how you will cope with 1M users think about how the app will fare with 1–10k users. In Firebase’s case you will probably be on the free tier (as long as you are not guzzling data) up to 100k users.

Think about this for a moment. You will have 100k users on your app. Even if you only add advertising you should be able to make the $25 a month to cover the Firebase FLAME costs.

The motto I use with my clients is this:

By the time you need to start worrying about backend costs for your app you can stop worrying about backend costs for your app

Once you reach the amount of users to requiring you to start payment you will have a successful app with a big user base which can be leveraged to start paying you back.

Should I use Firebase?

This is the final question you should ask yourself. Up until now this question could have been about one of the many different backends on offer.

If you are unsure I would be inclined to say: YES use Firebase!!

They are a great company and offer a fantastic product. Being owned by Google and having recently updated all their code they are unlikely to close down (RIP Parse). They also provide extensive and clear documentation and great support. There is a huge online community meaning sites like this and Stackoverflow have a huge number of questions to help you.

It is worth looking at your app though. Firebase does have some disadvantages:

  1. There is no easy way of querying data
  2. There is no way of executing code on the server

This is what should be researched when looking at whether Firebase is the right backend for you and even these can be mainly mitigated by using a separate server to control these tasks.

Conclusion: Unless your app is very data intensive then you won’t meet any of the data caps. Firebase will help you get your app online quickly and cheaply before scaling excellently once the users start pushing the upper limits.

NOTE: I would never recommend someone building their own backend when starting a new app. It might be that you have the skills to do it but in the long run it will cost you more (in your valuable time) than using another provider. Once your app is a great success and you are paying monthly fees to a backend then you can invest the money in creating a custom backend which suits your data type. Creating it yourself also requires a huge amount of invested time. If your app fails then this time is completely wasted.


I would like to answer this by sharing a real life experience. We created an IoT platform in my company named 700 Dollar Startups. It allows users to control home appliances using their smartphone. The platform also collects temperature and air parameters at your home.

We settled to use the following stack:

  • Firebase - for backend
  • Angular JS - FrontEnd
  • NodeJS - to run IoT code in raspberry
  • Ionic - for the mobile app

Below is our platform architecture.

Here are the advantages based on our experience:

  1. Three way binding - Firebase API solves the problem of raise condition in database. A client browser, back-office, and mobile consumer can update a data simultaneously without the problem of synchronization. As soon as data is updated, added, inserted, or deleted all update are automatically pushed to the client via API.
  2. Speed of Development - Google Firebase Database is NoSQL database with out of the box API connectors and wrappers for query purposes. As a result, rather than building REST API just like the traditional way of connecting thin client to database, with Firebase, a company can simply use their SDK to do the same purpose. As a result, business would be able to cut their development time by removing the API development component. Less scope, means less development cost as well.
  3. Realtime update - The old ways of doing things is that a client connected to database need batch update to get new sets of data. It is an inefficient architecture, imagine a program has to read 1 million records every fifteen (15) minutes with or without update. With Google Firebase Database, a client can be automatically triggered for refresh via Callback as soon as an update is made in the database. With thus technology, developers are assured to only get a new sets of data as needed basis. Here is the actual demo of realtime database update (See video below). As soon as data is changed in database, the LED’s state connected to Raspberry devices instantaneously changes status.
  4. Free- Developers and business owners can create two projects in Firebase for free. This means organization need not to buy premium license during R&D stage. It gives developers and decision makers enough time to learn and evaluate the technology.
  5. Authentication - It comes with a builtin authentication module. Supports gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and basic username and password login support. Integrating this module in your app is easy through their SDK.
  6. Rich API Document - The Firebase SDK is well documented and has lots of example over the web. On our case, we were able to try the SDK for NodeJS. Other Platform supported are IOS, Android, Java, and JS.

As for the Disadvantage

  1. No Data Explorer - This issue is more for developers. The Firebase Database does not provide an online tool to allow developers search for a data inside a node. It has a manual tree like data explorer but becomes complicated or difficult to traverse as dataset goes bigger.
  2. No built-in Authorization - One of Firebase strong point is it’s authentication module. However; it could had been better if it is shipped with a pre-created framework for authorization. To date, developers has to secure data and forms by manually coding the roles for a specific users.

Firebase is a NoSQL cloud database. A NoSQL database provides a mechanism for storage and retrieval of data that is modeled in means other than the tabular relations used in relational databases.

The Firebase Realtime Database is a cloud-hosted database. Data is stored as JSON and synchronized in realtime to every connected client.

Since you particularly asked for Firebase Database, I would be focusing on that only from many features of the Firebase.

Key Features of Firebase Database

  • Real-time

Instead of typical HTTP requests, the Firebase Realtime Database uses data synchronization—every time data changes, any connected device receives that update within milliseconds. Provide collaborative and immersive experiences without thinking about networking code.

  • Offline

Firebase apps remain responsive even when offline because the Firebase Realtime Database SDK persists your data to disk. Once connectivity is reestablished, the client device receives any changes it missed, synchronizing it with the current server state.

  • Accessible from Client Devices

The Firebase Realtime Database can be accessed directly from a mobile device or web browser; there’s no need for an application server. Security and data validation are available through the Firebase Realtime Database Security Rules, expression-based rules that are executed when data is read or written.

  • Scale across multiple databases

With Firebase Realtime Database on the Blaze pricing plan, you can support your app's data needs at scale by splitting your data across multiple database instances in the same Firebase project. Streamline authentication with Firebase Authentication on your project and authenticate users across your database instances. Control access to the data in each database with custom Firebase Realtime Database Rules for each database instance.

Real World Usage

I've personally used Firebase in number of applications and it is very fluid in its working. It is highly efficient if you want a real-time database that is synced across every client.

Other useful features of Firebase includes -

  1. Cloud Messaging (FCM)
  2. Authentication
  3. Cloud Firestore
  4. Storage
  5. Hosting
  6. Cloud Functions
  7. Crashalytics
  8. Performance Monitoring
  9. Test Lab
  10. Crash Reporting
  11. Predictions
  12. Remote Config
  13. Dynamic Links
  14. App Indexing
  15. AdWords
  16. AdMob

You don’t seem to know much about Firebase, from your mention of “million rows”. Firebase uses a document storage (JSON Documents), similar to MongoDB, so there are documents with fields and sub documents, and nothing like rows or tables.

Back to your question, yes Firebase is blazingly fast. I’ve used Firebase in building two apps of mine, and the response is amazing. Remember, Firebase by default uses promises so you’re able to go on with your app, whiles you wait for the data from Firebase.

One thing to keep in mind is how to do proper queries, so as to retrieve only what you need to the client. How fast you can load data will depend on how much data you’re pulling, and your network, so if you go pulling down documents of 10 gig in total, I hope you wouldn’t expect Firebase to do any magic to get them fast to you.

Rest assured, Firebase is from Google, and hosting your app on Firebase and using Firebase realtime database is fast enough.

What’s the point of setting up Firebase? Well I found it very quick and simple to set up, and use, and there are a whole bunch of capabilities and integrations, that would have taken me a long while to emulate.

What’s the point if your app becomes popular? Well Firebase used properly can scale, supporting your app as it grows.

What’s the point if it’s costly? Well then you have to think what you want from your app. You could monetise at a greater rate than the costs increase – making you money. Look at how you are using it to ensure you are being efficient with the Firebase resources you are using, so you are minimising your costs. Or look at restricting you app so you make it less popular and don’t incur costs .

One potentially serious issue is if Firebase change their charging model, so make sure you have the headroom to cope or an alternative lined up.

Personally I’d choose the making money route of the options above, so it’s back to looking for that idea…

Firebase Pricing

Firebase has both 1 free and 2 subscription options:

Firebase provides the best back-end server, great database and analytics solution, and useful integrations with other Google products. Most of all, users like that it’s free to use and has affordable subscription options. A wisely designed CMS solution guarantees project scalability and data security. In the development process, up to 40% of efforts are made on building a flexible CMS structure and Admin panel. So, if the features of Firebase Free plan are enough to achieve your final goal, then you may save up to 40% of your budget and also time.

It looks like Firebase/Google has resolved the problem in an update, but as someone who is naturally paranoid, I second the motion of making sure that your back end infrastructure can be swapped out no matter the SaaS provider.

Yes, it's more work. But ultimately it's worth it.

If they hadn't gotten the attention of someone who could fix things, they would have been out a lot of money, or their service would have been killed. And of all of the positive things that I can say about Google, good customer support doesn't make the top 100.

I'm still planning on using Firebase for various products moving forward, but will continue to keep my servers in the loop.

Because of an adjustment by they way they report information use, our month to month costs for Firebase, a SaaS gave by Google, has expanded from $25 every month to what exactly is currently moving towards the $2,000 mark — without any progressions to our real information use. This change was made all of a sudden.

You can look at the pricing listed at the official site. But you don't need any alternatives. By useful itself both angular and firebase go like bread and butter. It is awesome.