Getting started with Forge Laravel [Tutorial]


Steve Alila

Laravel

Deploying and managing web applications can be challenging, especially when dealing with server setup, configuration, and maintenance. Forge Laravel is a web-based server management platform that makes deploying and managing Laravel applications on cloud-based hosting providers effortless.

In this article, we will explore what Forge Laravel is, its advantages, the Forge Laravel workflow, and how to get started with it. By the end of this article, you will understand why Forge Laravel is an excellent choice for deploying and managing your Laravel applications.

Let's get started.

 

What Is Forge Laravel?

Forge Laravel is a web-based server management platform created by Laravel's creator, Taylor Otwell, and is now managed by the Laravel team. Forge makes it easy to deploy and manage Laravel applications on various cloud-based hosting providers, including DigitalOcean, AWS, and Akamai (formerly Linode).

You can choose from various pre-configured server templates when deploying a Laravel application with Forge. These include web servers like Nginx or Apache, PHP versions, and database servers like MySQL or PostgreSQL. You can deploy a vanilla PHP website or a PHP application built with Laravel, Symfony, WordPress, or Statamic .

Besides, Forge Laravel lets you deploy non-PHP stacks like Node.js. Forge also makes setting up SSL certificates, SSH keys, and other security-related features easy.

Once your server is set up, you can use Forge's deployment tools to deploy your Laravel application to the server. Forge can automatically pull changes from a Git repository and run the necessary Artisan commands to migrate the database and install any dependencies.

Forge also includes a range of monitoring and logging features to help you keep track of your application's performance and identify any issues that arise. You can view server metrics like CPU and memory usage and Laravel-specific metrics like request throughput and database query performance.

 

5 Reasons to Switch to Forge Laravel

Here are the main reasons Laravel developers are switching to Forge Laravel:

  1. It simplifies server setup and management: With Forge, you can quickly set up and configure servers for Laravel applications. Forge handles the server setup process, including installing the required software and configuring security settings.
  2. It streamlines the deployment process: Forge Laravel provides a unified interface for managing server settings and deployment options. You can quickly deploy code changes from a Git repository and run necessary migrations and other Artisan commands.
  3. It does automatic server monitoring and logging: Forge monitors server and application metrics, including CPU and memory usage, request throughput, and database query performance. It also offers access to server logs and error reporting to help developers troubleshoot issues.
  4. It is scalable and simplifies resource management: With Forge Laravel, teams can quickly scale server resources up or down as needed to accommodate changes in traffic or application requirements. Forge also makes managing multiple servers and applications from a single dashboard easy.
  5. It integrates well with the Laravel ecosystem: As a product from Laravel's parent company, Forge is explicitly built to work with Laravel applications. It integrates seamlessly with other Laravel tools and services, including Artisan, Laravel Mix, and Laravel Horizon.

 

The Forge Laravel Workflow

The power of Forge is mainly realized when you run multiple servers, and you need a tool to manage the servers. It relieves you of the headache of creating a server. All you do is choose your service provider, select your application's services, and let Forge do the rest.

Say, your service provider is Digital Ocean. You input your credentials, server name, size, region, PHP version, database name and database type. Then, you click on Create Server button. Forge Laravel does the rest of the Digital Ocean configurations. And voila, you have a running server! There is no Nginx configuration, SSHing into the server, and the rest of the boring stuff that developers hate.

You can create a site (domain or project on Forge) by choosing the root domain, project type, and web directory. A typical site name is project_name.main_domain.com. Forge prepares the site by creating a folder of the same site name and configuring Nginx to recognize the domain.

After the site is prepared, you can click on it to customize it further. For instance, you can assign a git repository to the new site. After linking your site with a git repository, you can deploy your application after editing the given script. For example, you can write a line php artisan migrate --force that migrates the database whenever a new deployment occurs. So, how do you start using Forge Laravel?

 

Getting Started with Forge Laravel

Server Providers

On the Forge Laravel landing page, click on Start a free trial, then register your account. Enter primary account details like source control, service provider with API token. Source control is the website hosting your git repositories. Examples of service providers are Digital Ocean, AWS, and Akamai.

Lastly, click the Connect button to deploy your applications and manage your services.

Connect to Forge Laravel

You can then subscribe to a package of your choice. Forge Laravel lets you test a package for 5 days before paying for it.

Laravel Forge supports a variety of popular server providers, making it a versatile choice for developers who want to use their preferred hosting platform. Some of the server providers supported by Laravel Forge include:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): A leading cloud provider offering a wide range of services and infrastructure options.
  • DigitalOcean: A developer-friendly cloud provider known for its simplicity, performance, and competitive pricing.
  • Linode: A cloud provider offering high-performance SSD servers with a focus on simplicity and affordability.
  • Vultr: A cloud provider that provides high-performance SSD cloud servers with a variety of plans to suit different needs.
  • Hetzner: A cloud provider offering affordable cloud servers with a focus on privacy and data protection.
  • Custom VPS providers: Laravel Forge also allows you to use custom VPS providers, giving you the flexibility to choose other hosting solutions that meet your specific requirements.

 

Provisioning a New Server

Laravel Forge simplifies the process of provisioning a new server by automating the installation and configuration of necessary software and services. Here are the steps to provision a new server using Laravel Forge:

  1. Sign in to your Laravel Forge account.
  2. Click the "Create Server" button.
  3. Select your preferred server provider from the list.
  4. Choose the server size, region, and other options as per your requirements.
  5. Provide a name for your server and click "Create Server".

Laravel Forge will then automatically configure the server, including installing necessary packages like PHP, Nginx, MySQL, Redis, and more.

 

Deployment Process

Laravel Forge streamlines the deployment process by integrating with Git repositories and automating the deployment of your Laravel applications.

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you set up a Laravel Forge account, create a new server, and deploy a Laravel application:

  1. Sign up for Laravel Forge: Visit the Laravel Forge website (https://forge.laravel.com/) and click "Start your free trial" to sign up for an account. You'll need to provide your email address, name, and create a password. Once your account is set up, log in to access your dashboard.
  2. Connect a server provider: In your Laravel Forge dashboard, click on your avatar in the top right corner and select "Server Providers." Choose your preferred server provider (AWS, DigitalOcean, Linode, etc.) and follow the instructions to connect your account.
  3. Create a new server: Click the "Create Server" button on your Laravel Forge dashboard. Select your server provider, choose the server size, region, and other options as per your requirements. Provide a name for your server and click "Create Server." Laravel Forge will automatically configure the server and install the necessary packages.
  4. Create a new site: After the server is provisioned, click on the server name in your dashboard. Go to the "Sites" tab and click "Add Site." Provide a domain name for your site and select the project type (e.g., Laravel). Click "Add Site" to create the new site.
  5. Connect your Git repository: In the "Deployment" tab of your new site, connect your Git repository by providing the necessary details, such as repository URL, branch, and authentication credentials.
  6. Configure deployment script: Laravel Forge generates a default deployment script. You can customize this script as needed to suit your application's requirements.
  7. Manage environment variables: In the "Environment" tab, you can manage environment variables for your application. Add, edit, or remove environment variables as needed.
  8. Install SSL certificate: To secure your Laravel application, you can install a free Let's Encrypt SSL certificate. Go to the "SSL" tab, select "Let's Encrypt," and click "Obtain Certificate."
  9. Deploy your Laravel application: Once everything is set up, click the "Deploy Now" button in the "Deployment" tab. Laravel Forge will automatically pull the latest code from your Git repository, run the deployment script, and make your application live.
  10. Configure your domain's DNS settings: To point your domain to your newly deployed Laravel application, update your domain's DNS settings with the IP address of your Laravel Forge server.

 

Conclusion

Forge Laravel is a powerful platform for deploying and managing Laravel applications on cloud-based hosting providers.

It offers a comprehensive solution for you and your team to streamline the deployment and management of Laravel applications. It provides simplified server setup and management, streamlined deployment process, automatic server monitoring and logging, scalability and resource management, and integration with the Laravel ecosystem,

Following the Forge Laravel workflow, you can easily set up and configure servers, deploy code changes, and monitor server and application performance. With its user-friendly interface and powerful management features, Forge Laravel makes it easy to focus on building great applications instead of worrying about server setup and maintenance.

Whether you're a solo developer or part of a large team, Forge Laravel can help you save time and streamline your workflow, so you can focus on what matters - building great applications.

 

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Steve Alila

He specializes in web design, WordPress development, and data analysis, with proficiency in Python, JavaScript, and data extraction tools. Additionally, he excels in web API development, AI integration, and data presentation using Matplotlib and Plotly. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or check his projects on GitHub page.

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