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Mar 10, 2023

In-depth: PostHog vs Heap

Andy Vandervell
Andy Vandervell

Want to know how PostHog and Heap are different? If you remember nothing else, remember these two points:

  1. Heap is a product analytics tool designed for non-technical users.

  2. PostHog is an all-in-one platform for product analytics, session recording, feature management, and more, built for engineers and product teams.

In this guide, we'll cover:

How is PostHog different to Heap?

1. PostHog is an all-in-one platform

Heap, like Amplitude and Mixpanel, focuses mainly on product analytics. That means you need to adopt additional tools for things like session recording, feature management, and A/B testing. PostHog integrates all these features into one platform. PostHog is like mission control for your product.

2. PostHog's built for engineers

Anyone can use PostHog – just ask our marketing team – but our goal is to help engineers be better at product by giving them the insights and tools they need to ship impactful features at pace.

3. Self-serve vs talk to sales

Signing up to PostHog is as simple as creating an account and adding our JavaScript snippet to your site or app. That's it. Want more features? Just put in a card and pay for what you use. We have a generous free tier, so you may not pay anything at all. No sales calls. No paid add-ons. No confusing product tiers. Just sign up and start building.

Ready to find out more?

Feature comparison

PostHog has three plans (Free, Scale and Enterprise) to Heap's four (Free, Growth, Pro and Premier). In this guide, we'll compare PostHog's Scale plan to Heap Pro as they're the most comparable plans for a typical, mid-market business.

Core features

PostHog integrates several normally separate tools, such as product analytics, session recording, and feature flags, into one platform. While it recently added a basic session recording feature, Heap is best known as a pure product analytics tool like Mixpanel or Amplitude.

Product analyticsTrack events and conversion; analyze user behavior
Session recordingPaid add-onWatch real users use your product; diagnose bugs
Feature flagsRoll out features safely; toggle features for cohorts or individuals
ExperimentsRun A/B/n tests on new features; optimize conversion funnels
HeatmapsVisualize where users click in your app or website
User surveysAsk users for qualitative feedback and gather responses
AutocaptureAutomatically track events without instrumentation
Sync with data warehousePaid add-onSync data to and from your data warehouse
  • Session replays: Heap offers basic session replays in addition to its core product analytics product, but it's a bolt-on option on all plans. Session replays are built-in to PostHog and you get 15,000 free recordings every month. Jump to: Session recording comparison

  • Sync to data warehouse: The ability to sync with your data warehouse is part of Heap Connect, a paid add-on on to Heap's Pro plan – it's included on Heap's Premier plan. Data warehouse sync is available in PostHog at no additional cost because we believe companies should own their data.

  • Experiments: Heap doesn't have a built-in testing feature, though it does integrate with a number of popular A/B testing tools, such as AB Tasty and Optimizely. PostHog has a built-in experimentation suite for running A/B and multivariate experiments.

  • Feature flagging: The benefits of feature flags include the ability to stagger new feature releases, ship to test groups or specific cohorts, manage feature access, and more. PostHog's feature flag product is built-in and tightly integrated with all other products.

  • Open source: PostHog is open source and self-hostable via Docker Compose for small event volumes of ~100k events per month. See our open source deployment docs for more.

Product analytics

Heap and PostHog offer similar product analytics features with a slight difference in emphasis – Heap has more insight options for marketing teams, while PostHog has more for product teams.

Neither currently offers an SQL editor for writing custom queries, but it's in private beta for PostHog with a planned Q1 2023 launch.

DashboardsCombine insights into shareable dashboards
FunnelsUnderstand conversion between events, pages
RetentionAnalyze user and revenue retention
User pathsTrack user flows and where they drop-off
StickinessUnderstand your most engaging features
LifecycleBreak users down by new, resurrecting, returning, and dormant
Influence analysisMulti-touch analysis of marketing channels
CohortsCombine users based on properties and events for group analysis
Group analyticsUnderstand how organizations of multiple users use your product
FormulasUse custom formulas to calculate unique insights
Query editorComing Q1 2023Write your own queries in SQL
Data retention1 year (pay for more)7 yearsHow long historical data is retained

Session replays

Session replays are an essential tool for understanding how people use your product, especially for early-stage companies searching for product-market fit. Both Heap and PostHog offer session recording, though Heap's version is quite limited at present.

Free recording allowanceNone (free trial)15,000 per monthFree recordings before being charged
Browser app recordingWatch real users use your product; diagnose bugs
iOS app recordingPlanned Q2 2023Record user sessions in iOS apps
Android app recordingPlanned 2023Record user sessions in Android apps
PlaylistsCreate playlists of related recordings
Download recordingsSave recording files offline for storage
Play from fileReplay recording from saved file
Console logsDebug user problems and app errors
Network activityMonitor network activity and performance
  • Recording retention: Heap keeps all recordings for 90 days, but retains any viewed recordings for 10 years. PostHog retains all recordings for three weeks, but retains recordings saved to a playlist forever. PostHog also allows you to download recordings as a .json file for safe keeping.

Ready to find out more?


This section includes a curated summary of the most popular integrations in PostHog and Heap, organized by category.

See the PostHog Apps and Heap integrations pages for complete lists of available integrations.


Data out

At PostHog, we believe in your right to own your data, which means enabling you to export raw events whenever you want at no additional cost.

In Heap, data warehouse integrations are only available on Heap Premier, or as a paid add-on to Heap Pro, and there is no open export API.

Export APIExport data via API
Amazon RedshiftPaid add-onExport data to Redshift
Amazon S3Paid add-onExport data to S3 bucket
Google Cloud StorageExport data to GCS
SnowflakePaid add-onExport data to Snowflake database
Google BigQueryPaid add-onExport data to BigQuery for analysis
PostgreSQLExport data to a PostgreSQL instance
RudderStackSync event and person data
HightouchReverse ETL data to multiple platforms
CensusReverse ETL data to multiple platforms
ZapierConnect to services using Zapier
n8nOpen source Zapier alternaitve
  • Exporting events in PostHog: PostHog provides numerous methods for exporting event data, including via the PostHog UI (for small volumes), the Events API (with rate limits), or via dedicated export apps (no limits). See our data export documentation for more information.

Data in

Import APIAPI for importing and enriching data
SegmentIngest events and user properties tracked in Segment
RudderStackIngest events and user properties tracked in RudderStack
TealiumIngest events and user properties tracked in Tealium
AirbyteETL data pipelines
FivetranETL data pipelines
StripeSync customer and invoice data
ZapierConnect to services using Zapier
n8nOpen source Zapier alternaitve
  • PostHog as a Customer Data Platform: PostHog integrates with numerous popular customer data platforms (CDP), but some customers choose to use PostHog as their CDP. This helps reduce costs, the risk of data being dropped, and ensures total compatibility with all our features. See Using PostHog with a CDP for more information.

Dev tools & support

As an open source platform designed for technical teams, PostHog integrates with numerous developer tools and platforms. This isn't an area of strong support for Heap.

BitBucket Release TrackerTrack impact of releases in analytics
GitHub Release TrackerTrack impact of releases in analytics
GitHub Star SyncTrack GitHub star growth
GitLab Release TrackerTrack impact of releases in analytics
SentryConnect errors to individual users
RetoolBuild internal tools using your usage data
User Inteview SchedulerInvite users for an interview based on user properties
ZendeskTrack tickets as events, add context to tickets
Custom webhooksIn betaCreate your own custom webhooks for Slack, etc.

Marketing & sales

Customer.ioSync data and trigger workflows in
EngageAutomate onboarding and retention messaging
VarianceDefine PQLs with real analytics data
EngageAutomate onboarding and retention messaging
PaceIdentify enterprise sales leads
TwilioAutomated customer engagement platform
HubspotSync customer data to and from Hubspot
SalesforceSync customer data to and from Salesforce
SendgridAutomate email workflows
MailchimpAutomate marketing emails
IntercomAutomate your product comms
BrazeMarketing automation
EloquaMarketing automation
MarketoMarketing automation
  • Advertising integration: Neither Heap nor PostHog offer native integrations for advertising platforms (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.). If you require this, we recommend integrating a CDP like Segment into your data stack.

Privacy, admin & security

Privacy compliance

GDPR compliantEU hosting or data residency available
HIPAA compliantSelf-host onlyBusiness Associate Agreement available
Data anonymizationRemove personally identifiable information
Self-hosting optionSelf-host and keep complete control of your data
Cookie-less tracking optionUse analytics without cookie consent banners
  • HIPAA compliance: Heap will sign a Business Associate Agreement if you require HIPAA compliance. At PostHog, we currently recommend self-hosting PostHog if you require HIPAA compliance. This ensures all sensitive data never leaves your infrastructure, giving you complete control and simplifying compliance processes. HIPAA certification for PostHog Cloud is planned in 2023.

  • Cookie-less tracking: If you'd rather not serve annoying cookie banners to your users, PostHog can be configured to store data in memory so it doesn't persist beyond a single session. See: How to use PostHog without cookie banners. Some forms of user analysis aren't possible with this method.

Admin & security

SOC 2 certificationExternally audited security
SAML/SSOOrganization single sign-on
User permissionsAssign access levels to team members
Multiple organizationsCreate orgs for all your internal teams
Multiple projects2 (pay for more)Track multiple products

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to deploy PostHog?

Deploying PostHog takes mere minutes. Just include our tracking snippet in your product or website and (thanks to autocapture) you're immediately capturing events. Once up and running, you can enable session recording via your project settings. See our guide to getting started on PostHog Cloud for more info.

How scalable is PostHog?

PostHog is built on ClickHouse, the world’s fastest column-based database. It’s used by the likes of Uber, Spotify and Cloudflare, and allows us to handle billion-scale event volumes with ease.

Are you a company with more than 1 billion events per month? Get in touch so we can discuss your needs and offer a volume discount.

How much do Heap and PostHog cost?

Unlike PostHog, Heap doesn't share its pricing publicly, but its free tier is less generous.

Heap's free tier allows for only 10,000 sessions per month, "limited analysis", six months of data history, and limited access to data sources and integrations.

In comparison, PostHog offers 1 million events per month and 15,000 session recordings for free on all plans with no limits on data integrations – a typical medium-size B2B product with 10,000 monthly active users will generate ~500k events each month.

PostHog users who input their card unlock more features and can use billing limits to avoid surprise bills.

See PostHog's pricing page for a full breakdown and access to our pricing calculator.

Does PostHog use cookies?

Yes, PostHog (like Heap) uses cookies. Cookies are necessary to enable common use cases, such as cross-domain tracking and tracking returning visitors.

It is possible, however, to configure PostHog to track users without requiring without cookie banners by storing cookies in memory so it doesn't persist beyond an individual session.

The PostHog Property Filter app also allows you to further limit the types of information collected to protect user privacy.

If you user privacy is a primary concern for you, consider our open source Docker Compose deployment option.

Can you use PostHog on e-commerce websites?

Absolutely. PostHog is easy to integrate with Shopify. You can easily install PostHog on other e-commerce platforms using our Javascript snippet – see our guides to setting up Webflow analytics and Wordpress.

Can PostHog replace Google Analytics?

Yes, depending on your use case, PostHog could replace Google Analytics. Our marketing team uses PostHog effectively, but it isn't primarily designed for marketing use cases. See our GA4 alternatives guide guide for more.

How does PostHog compare to Amplitude and Mixpanel?

Amplitude and Mixpanel offer similar features to Heap. Read our PostHog vs Mixpanel and PostHog vs Amplitude guides for more info.

Ready to find out more?