Should you be using Laravel Forge?
As not only developers, but as an agency that can sometimes be publishing and hosting a lot of websites, the last thing we want to do is deal with huge overheads in managing loads of servers or even the overheads of a large in-house engineering team who deals with deploying and managing the servers. Like many other companies, we opted for Ansible for deploying new servers, installing all the packages needed for our websites & applications, and then managing the servers going forward. Though this solution would work, and could be beneficial for a lot of companies, for us, we wanted to ensure quickness, ease-ability and to cut down on the number of overheads as the company grows. We looked around, finding services such as DeployHQ and then even attempting to create a full system via GitHub Actions (This was a horrible idea), but we could never find anything that works for us, and we enjoy using. Let's introduce, Laravel Forge. As a company that specialises in Laravel Development, we decided that it was time to give it a try half way through 2021, and we have not looked back ever since!
What is Laravel Forge?
Short answer, AMAZING! Long answer, it is a platform developed and maintained by the core Laravel Team that allows quick and easy provisioning of your servers, management of your websites and even the ability to setup load balancers and more. It takes the stress away from the engineers who need to deploy, manage and ensure that each production server is the same, and works as expected. We all know how annoying it can be when you run
sudo apt install nginx or
sudo service restart mysql and it comes back with something like Service Nginx Not Found... even though you know it is? NO MORE!
How easy is it to use?
Laravel Forge is a real treat to use. With the beautifully designed dashboard making everything easy to find, to the extensive feature list, it makes the whole experience feel so smooth and reliable. Just take a look at the dashboard!
Not only does it look nice, the navigation makes everything so simple, want to find a website to deploy? simply click Sites at the top. Want to deploy a brand new server for databases? Click Create Server and select database server, easy!
What servers can I deploy?
To make it simple, ANY! Forge makes one click deployment easy. You can link your DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode & more accounts to your forge dashboard, and simply deploy brand new servers and provision them at the same time. Not only that, have a custom server from a provider like OVH? Ensure a clean Ubuntu 20.04 is installed on your server and let forge deal with the provisioning.
Obviously, if you're looking for a custom image, this isn't the solution for you, however you can even write custom "Recipes" that install alongside your server, so if you want HTOP installed, write a small recipe and it will be installed alongside your other base applications.
So what does it cost?
Very simple, you start at the Hobby package for $12 per month, and then when you need it, you can upgrade to Growth for $19 per month or even Business for $39 per month. Here is the main feature lists for these packages.
Are their downsides?
Well yes, you will NEVER find an application or service that doesn't have downsides. The only downside we find with forge is sometimes actions take a bit longer than expected. For example, if we install a new SSL certificate, sometimes it can take some time to action the change due to the load on the forge workers. Apart from this, we love the system.
As an agency that deals with a lot of traffic per month and websites, we currently manage a range of servers and websites that gather around 14 Million requests per month, and we have managed to keep these servers online, deploy new ones and manage them whenever we need too, without issues.
We highly suggest you give it a try, Sign up here and you will be able to get yourself a 5 day free trial to test it out.
Need a server to get started? Get in touch with us to talk about our servers and services.
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