So, you have finally developed your website or dream web application and now getting eagered to make it live ASAP and getting traffic, visibility, customers etc. But wait, you first need to get the required web hosting for PHP servers, a hosting where you can upload your application and make it live. You have so many options these days to host your PHP application. From Shared to VPS, Dedicated to Cloud, VMs to Managed hosting, you have lots of options to host your applications on.
The most important thing is to see the requirements which fits the need of your application. The infrastructure, Stack components, services, packages, automated integrations, code deployment workflows, SMTP, SSL etc. These are few requirements which you will need in your hosting server. Sadly, till now you haven’t got the idea and asking people about suggestion of which is better or not?
Don’t worry, in this article I’ll tell you completely what are the main components required in web hosting for PHP. The components that helps you to run web applications swiftly.
The first thing to see is that which type of infrastructure your application suits best. Like there are different types of machine structures that are handling website. Let me make it easy with defining the infrastructure types:
This runs its own copy of OS and you get the complete access to the server that is called root access. You can easily build the server with whatever you need in it.
These machines work on virtualization concept.They are well equipped to perform as a fully computing environment to run different operating systems. Usually, developers use these for testing and staging purposes, hence saving the potential threats to hardware.
Cloud is the latest fashion in the hosting industry, providing on-demand server needs for any application. Clouds are the network of servers which can be scaled according to the needs. Scaling can be done for disk space, RAM, bandwidth etc.
Dedicated machines are used to handle any particular resource. Like an organisation hosting, in which a dedicated machine is alloted for only one website or application. All the resources are allocated to this one app only.
Shared servers are one unit but divides the resources for hosting multiple application/websites to one server. It is a low cost solution which can be use for lightweight websites.
If you do not want to have any hosting hassles, managed hosting is what you need. All the server handling can be done by your server provider and you just need to focus on your application. These days you can find so many providers giving complete managed platforms to host your site.
So, these are some of the infrastructures which I’ve defined briefly. It’s now time to see which one suits best for your application. Usually there are two types of websites, static and dynamic. Static websites can be easily hosted on any servers as they contain only frontend code and never works with any backend APIs or server requests. So if you are developing the second one, you can see VPS, Cloud or VM servers.
The Lamp/Lemp Stack
Once buying the required server, the next step is to build the Stack which performs the base role for running your application. Usually the stack contains few important components comprised of:
- Operating System (Linux,Ubuntu,Centos)
- Web Server (Apache and Nginx)
- MySQL database
- PHP (Latest version)
Many of the servers comes with different operating systems, contains Linux distributions so that’s totally fine. Now you just need to setup other three things. It’s your choice to setup a webserver whether Apache or Nginx. You will see these days that some providers are using both of them together for providing fast experience. Also there is a difference of thought in some providers about web services. Therefore some provide only Nginx and some favors Apache. You can install Apache if creating LAMP stack and Nginx for LEMP.
Next, to run PHP application, install the desired version of PHP which must be compatible to your app code. PHP 7.3 is in stable release, so it is highly recommended to install. For database handling, install MySQLl / MariaDB’s latest version. You can also follow the awesome guide available on Programmable web for this purpose.
After completing the Stack, you must need to add few services additionally to make it work completely. These services will help PHP application to interact smoothly with database, speed, delivery of files and security. Some of the services you must need in PHP hosting are:
If you are working with dynamic websites and making lots of queries, then Memcache has got your back. It can store data records and objects in RAM to reduce number of hits made to database.
Redis: Redis is somewhat similar to memcache and used as data source to cache database queries. Redis supports different kinds of abstract data structures, such as strings, lists, maps, sets, sorted sets, hyperloglogs, bitmaps, streams and spatial indexes.
PHP-FPM is an alternative PHP FastCGI implementation and can be very beneficial for busy websites getting tons of traffic. The basic usage of PHP-FPM is to give boost to the website’s speed and take care of everything related to code caching and slow requests.
This service is used for queuing processes. For instance, you are sending mails to thousands of people and requires some queue to lineup the process. That is where Supervisord comes in and creates queues for the process. This helps channelizing the processes efficiently and makes easy for the developers to schedule tasks accordingly.
Varnish is used for static page caching. This will be very helpful if you are hosting static websites or WordPress blogs etc. You will install it in front of any server that speaks HTTP and configure it to cache the contents.
As you know that PHP can be used for developing multipurpose applications that contains, file uploads, API calls, image manipulations, map work, JSON data handling, ecommerce stores etc. So there must be some external PHP packages and extensions available on hosting servers that could cater the above functional needs.
For instance: if you are using file upload in your application, then extensions like uploadprogress must be included. If creating API calls, CURL must be enabled, for importing/exporting csv data, fileinfo() must be enabled.
After doing everything I discussed above, you can create a complete stack successfully and can launch your PHP application within just few time. You can also setup few settings like max execution time, Opcache, xdebug, error reporting etc. As these settings helps in running your PHP website smoothly and get optimum performance on the web.