To us the answer to that question is clear: by combining Laravel, Forge and user-friendly deployments with managed hosting. It offers ease of use, stability and quality. And these are also tree of our core values, combined with our core business: managed hosting. But why exactly do we prefer that choice?
1. Laravel: the ideal PHP framework
Laravel is a modern PHP framework that looks at the bigger picture of development. It does not concentrate solely on the writing of code, it also looks at the infrastructure on which Laravel is running (Laravel Forge), reliably deploying code (Laravel Envoyer), writing usable tests (Laravel Dusk), etc. And all this combined in a neat packet.
An additional benefit is that the PHP framework also contains queues, an CLI-component and substantial standards. Laravel also offers a prosperous and flourishing ecosystem. For the latter we definitely have to thank the Spatie team as a lot of their work is available for viewing online.
So why Laravel? Because it contains everything we need as developers and feeds the sysadmin in us all.
2. Forge: alternative for managed hosting?
Forge makes it possible to easily stage a server, optimized for Laravel.
Providers like Digital Ocean, Linode or Ocean can even do this in a couple of minutes. A virtual machine is created, a configuration is written and you can immediately start with SSH and Git. User friendly and easy, but our inner sysadmin still has some questions:
- Who monitors these servers? Who will fix MySQL when it goes down in the middle of the night?
- Who will take care of the necessary updates? The security updates will be executed automatically (it’s only logical!), but what about all the other updates?
- Who occupies himself with the security of my machine(s)? Do I know what programs are running? The configurations? What Firewall ports are open? And what versions are installed?
- Who backs up the databases and files? With what frequency? And where are they saved?
- How fast will I be online again if my server crashes? Or if it is deleted by accident?
It all boils down to one big question: who manages my Forge-server? We fear the answer for many of these servers is simple: nobody is really actively involved.
But why Forge? Because it allows for a simple and fast staging for a Laravel server. But only combined with managed hosting, can you be completely sure of optimal management, monitoring and security.
3. Managed hosting: let go of your worries
Managed hosting is our core business. And we have a ready-made template for Laravel applications. So it doesn’t come as a surprise this is an important part of the complete package.
We manage all configurations, provide regular back-ups (frequency in consultation with you), provide 24/7 monitoring and support, provide optimal security, install updates, etc.
Our Managed Laravel Hosting provides a fully configured server with, among other, PHP 7.1, Redis, schedule:run cron, supervisor workers, a pre-generated .env config, a deploy script, pre-installed composer/yarn, SSH access, etc. In other words: everything you need to use Laravel in a reliable and safe way.
Why managed hosting: to keep yourself from worrying about infrastructure, uptime, safety and business continuity. We will take care of all these things, so you can focus on your core business.
4. Deployments: smooth and easy-to-use
Our server set-up is slightly different from Forge’s. We prefer our set-up for a number of reasons, so we adapted our deployment procedure to our set-up.
Let’s start at the beginning.
We use CentOS or Ubuntu as operating systems, because they offer maximum stability. We combine this with current packages such as PHP 7.1, MariaDB 10.2, Redis 4, etc.
We also utilize several PHP-FPM master pools for better OPCache efficiency, multiple Redis instances, rigorous firewalling, a separate directory layout, etc.
These have a small impact on roll out. So we developed a very simple and user-friendly Laravel packet (nucleus/laravel-deploy) to help our clients. Right now we provide version 1.0, but in newer versions you can expect more HipChat/Slack functionality, better notifications and multi-server support. Still not a fan of our method? You can easily adapt it to your liking.
Why our deployment? Because it’s perfectly in tune with our set-up which provides smooth and user-friendly application roll outs.
If you are on the look-out for the best way to host your Laravel applications, we have the ideal solution.
We would love to hear your opinion in the comments section below this blogpost.