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What would make Laravel Forge even better

A little over a year ago Laravel Forge was launched.  At Spatie we currently have 60 servers that are provisioned by and administered using it. I’m assuming we still hold the biggest Forge-account. By this time next year the number of servers will probably be higher.  So yeah, I’m a very happy customer.

But no service is perfect. Here’s a list of things that would make a great service even better:

  • the only way you can interact with Forge now is through the website. It would be great if there was a API to create and administer servers. Image being able to programatically spin up new servers, or start/stop a queue. Related to an API, a command line tool would be very handy as well.
  • when provisioning DigitalOcean servers using Forge there is an option to enable backups. Unfortunately  those backups are only taken once every week. For our clients this is not acceptable. When relying solely on the DO backup service,  days of work could potentially be lost. Sure, you could resort to enterprise grade solutions like BackupPC or Bacula, but you’ll have to learn setting it up. It would be awesome if Forge could take care of backups. I’m imaging that it could work similar to ottomatik.io: just point it to where files should be backupped to and it’ll handle all the rest.
  • every PHP-developer is looking forward to PHP7.  Forge could help migrating to PHP7 by providing a one click upgrade button.
  • when provisioning a new server we’ll often added swap memory to it afterwards. Forge could make this easier by providing it as an option when provisioning a new server.

In a few weeks Laracon will start. Like last year, I’m really curious what Taylor will unveil. I’m even looking forward to it more than Apple’s WWDC (insert smiley here). It would be great if some of the things mentioned above would become reality.

If you have some thoughts on how Forge can be improved, let me know in the comments below.

Freek Van der Herten is a partner and developer at Spatie, an Antwerp based company that specializes in creating web apps with Laravel. After hours he writes about modern PHP and Laravel on this blog. When not coding he’s probably rehearsing with his kraut rock band.
  • Forge is great!
    But it is not a managed server. You still need to rely on a a server administrator to take care of maintenance to keep the server up to date and secure. Even though Forge will automatically install security patches you won’t get a message that the changes will only take effect after a reboot. The backup issue mentioned in this article is also a thing. For this reason I’ve recently started using the Laravel service of cloudways. They offer 24/7 monitoring, managing and daily backups on DO droplets. Still happy so far (after couple of weeks using it).

  • Peter Steenbergen

    I sended the following to Taylor as Ideas for implemting in forge.

    – API Endpoint for creating a server which gives back the string to add it to forge. So easy adding a custom server provider like TransIP;
    – Adding Sites to forge;
    – Adding SSL by API on particular domain;
    – Adding Cronjobs;
    – Cloning a server and hook into LoadBalancer, like adding a webserver instance on heavy load during specific times (ie start extra webserver at 19:00 and remove it at 21:00 o’ clock);
    – Choose a provision script from the recipes after creation of a server (by API), then you can choose like Spin up a SOLR server on CentOS/Ubuntu and run build script by Ansible or Recipe.

    That was my first thoughts at least.