Originally published at www.cloudways.com on December 6, 2016.
Not many people realize that their choice of hosting solution could determine the success or failure of their project. Even the best code base fails to perform to its maximum potential because of a hosting solution that fails to provide appropriate support.
Hosting a website or a web application in the cloud could be a technically challenging endeavour. The server size needs to be determined, server has to be setup and then the appropriate application/platform is installed. Not many people, even in the ICT industry, are able to set up and manage servers. Since a number of entrepreneurs and online business owners do not possess the required technical skills to manage the servers that host their applications and/or store, they either need to hire system administrators (not a cost effective choice for startups) or deal with regular server and application crashes.
Given this, it is no wonder that managed cloud hosting is a rapidly growing sector of the overall hosting industry. More and more people now opt for managed cloud hosting for their projects because of the many benefits of the hosting solution.
Why Industry Leaders Recommend Managed Cloud Hosting?
In order to understand why many industry leaders recommend managed cloud hosting for PHP projects, it is important to understand the benefits of these hosting solutions. In effect, managed cloud hosting offers three important benefits.
The first and the most important benefit is the fact that these solution providers handle all the hassles of server management. All the user has to do is to decide the basic parameters including RAM, bandwidth and server location. The hosting solution provider takes care of everything else.
The second benefit is the improved security of the web application. Server and application level security is an ongoing task and i particularly important for PHP applications. Even the most dedicated of the user could not keep up with the routine of applying security patches. The managed hosting solution provider takes care of all security related issues from patch application to threat detection and management.
Finally, managed cloud hosting providers offer scalable solutions that are ideal for ecommerce websites. Scalability is an important business process requirement that comes in handy during crunch times. At these moments, having the capacity (and capability) of increasing server resources prevents the web store from crashing.
Let’s see what industry leaders have to say about the uses and benefits of managed cloud hosting:
It makes a lot of sense to offer managed hosting solutions, since not every developer even knows how to manage servers. It took me many years to learn how to do it, then many more years to learn how to do it properly. Even for those who can do it, it can be too much of a hassle. Time is precious.
Managed hosting solutions provide great value. They allow devs to focus on their core issue: solving business problems. I can’t wait until infrastructure as a code is really ready for the masses.
I haven’t used Cloudways myself, but I’m a huge fan of any product that tries to help developers focus on launching their next idea instead of wasting time on server configuration.
Managed Hosting or Platform as a Service is very valuable to get projects started, when you don’t have enough time or experience with the operations part of web development.
The requirements for a good platform has changed drastically in the last 15 years with the arrival of AWS (IaaS), Heroku (PaaS) or Docker (FaaS). I think the separation of companies providing hosting resources and management and software platforms on top is a very welcome occurrence because it introduces much needed specialization. AWS and Digital Ocean provide very powerful hosting platforms but will never perfectly support PHP stack in every detail. Thus, managed hosting companies like Cloudways that build on top of the modern clouds functionality are very useful.
I believe hosted solutions like Cloudways, Heroku, or Platform.sh are *amazing* tools to quickly stage and launch PHP applications without having to worry about infrastructure. I strongly encourage exploring these hosted platforms because they abstract away most infrastructure concerns. Sometimes you just want to write and deploy code without worrying about how to setup, provision, and monitor servers. If the price is right, use a hosted platform. Managing and monitoring servers isn’t fun. Let others do that for you.
With 1 click installations, make sure you always offer the latest version of Joomla. When I see a hosting platform offer an outdated version of Joomla, instantly I’ll never ever recommend anyone to use them for life. Also, the default PHP version is pretty important too. Too many hosts fail at providing this.
For the 99% of people, I really think that if you’re not using a Platform as a Service (PAAS), you’re wasting your time. Yes, you often need to learn a few things to get setup, but from personal experience, this is a *massive* investment for the future. I might spend 8 hours today setting up some complex things in a PAAS, and enjoy one-click (one second) deploys for the next 12+ months. That’s a huge time and money saver. If I never have to manually spin up a server on Amazon, I’ll be happy.
I’ve never tried Cloudways specifically, but the space is still wide open. One of the biggest opportunities as a consumer of PAAS is the ability to have a micro-service architecture. If my app is 6 mini-apps, it’s almost a non-starter to try to do this with traditional hosting. But if a ‘git push’ deploys them all and they’re able to talk with each other, now we’re in business. Yitzchok Willroth (@coderrabbi) has a great presentation on micro-service architecture, and automatic deploying is one of his key points.
I love the idea of managed hosting solutions in general. I have managed my own servers in the past, and it’s one of those things I put in the stack of “better to pay people other to do for me.” I’m glad I have an accountant I can pay to know about taxes for me. Glad I have a lawyer. Glad I have a plumber. And I’m glad I have folks who run SaaSes that make my development life easier–including hosting and dev-ops.
Managed hosting can be wonderful when you need to scale your applications when they do not fit a single server. There is plenty of knowledge out there on the Web you can use to learn how to assemble all the required parts to implement a scalable solution but having it done by somebody that is in the field for many years is often worth the investment of outsourcing that effort.
I am always interested to see how companies manage to enable developers to learn and explore the new options and technologies available in the market. I think you do a great job with one-click install apps, because everything is contained inside the same server and easily manageable. When you talk directly about database hosting, it implies having the application in the same network too because of latency and such. One idea I would be interested in seeing in action would be getting a big client with high traffic and database needs and remove the DB from that one-click install and seeing how that goes. There is a lot going into tuning, specially for Magento, I think you could do good things with that experience.
As you can see, PHP experts and Industry leaders strongly favor managed hosting. If you wish to try out managed hosting for your existing or upcoming projects, I recommend Cloudways, which comes with a trial period.