Software & Applications

9 Best Practices to Scale Your Laravel Application on AWS Hosting

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

  • 9 Best Practices to scale your Laravel Application on AWS Hosting
  • Why is it Important to Migrate your Laravel Application to AWS Hosting?
  • 10 Best Practices to Scale Laravel Application on AWS Hosting
  • AWS RDS Aurora with Replication
  • CloudFront CDN
  • Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC)
  • Amazon S3
  • Horizontal Scaling with AWS Auto Scaling (Load Balancer)
  • Application Load balancing – ALB (Laravel Load Balancer)
  • AWS ElastiCache (Redis and Memcached)
  • AWS EFS
  • Route 53
  • What have we learned so far?

When you think about scaling up your Laravel app with AWS hosting, the things that come to mind are AWS auto-scaling and AWS architecture to support millions of users in minutes. You can also avail cost benefits using Laravel development by scaling the transformation or creating apps, websites, and software using high-quality code-based Laravel services. Living on AWS cloud would increase the agility too. When your platform has such compelling features, you don’t need to promote your app to transform into a high-performance and resilient PHP Laravel application. 

If you are analyzing how to leverage AWS hosting to design your Laravel app then let us move forward on discussing the best ways to do so in reality. We will learn how to develop SaaS Laravel applications with high scalability standards on Amazon Web Services. This will clarify what you need in the process and what actions you need to take to gain business value and resiliency for your product. 

We are choosing AWS because it is one of the most mature Iaas providers. Using it makes it easier for you to come up with innovative solutions. Still for the record – the practices we are going to discuss below have the same effects and benefits when applied to any other cloud platform. But before we move on to that, allow me to explain why we think AWS is crucial to large-scale and grow your SaaS Laravel application. 

Why is it Important to Migrate your Laravel Application to AWS Hosting?

Running the digital transformation on AWS for a Laravel web application can offer you benefits like AWS cloud Adoption, reduced IT labor force, getting pre-configured services that help attain faster executions, reduced downtime because of the flexible and repeatable infrastructure. 

When you scale your Laravel application while living on the cloud, you need to decouple your app architecture into various service pieces like cloud storage (Amazon S3 and CDN), automatic scaling EC2 instances (AWS Auto Scaling), and integrate various Saas/Paas AWS components for your modern cloud-native application. 

Remember that you are not only scaling up your app or transforming the architect, once you sign up and get on board with the AWS cloud, but you are also on a journey of continuous innovation i.e., Pay-as-you-go, Micro-services, Serverless, and many more. 

9 Best Practices to Scale Laravel Application on AWS Hosting

AWS RDS Aurora with Replication

Amazon RDS is a database management system. It is compatible with Mysql, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and many more. Equipped with a pre-configured database, software updates, patches, and automated backups, RDS is a self-maintained database. 

If you want to create some replicas and build master-slave relationships with these replicas similar to what happens in Mysql/PostgreSQL replication then it can be achieved in a few clicks by enabling an RDS replication feature. This will scale and cluster your Amazon RDS. Also, it would need very minimal maintenance. 

The Amazon Aurora is the high-performing database in Amazon Web Services. It is so fast that its speed is five times more than MySQL and three times more than PostgreSQL. Apart from high performance and speed, Amazon Aurora is also popular for its high availability. If you are thinking about improving your current system database then you should consider Amazon Aurora. It will enhance the speed and performance rate of your system. 

If you are replicating with AWS Aurora or Multi-AZ availability then it can be very expensive. So, you might take the necessary measures to keep your project within the bounds of your cloud hosting services project. But then again, there are many more practices that will reduce your bills. 

CloudFront CDN

We will be introducing CloudFront CDN in our AWS hosting to save bandwidth. Amazon CloudFront CDN is a wonderful component with a large number of features to highlight. It commonly collaborates with amazon S3 which we will be discussing later in this blog. Amazon CloudFront CDN is a content delivery network that is designed to cache content, serve video content, distribute requests, and other powerful features. 

Core competencies of CloudFront:

  • This CDN is globally distributed, consequently, traffic is routed to the nearest edge location helping to improve User experience and speed.
  • It helps improve application speed by caching static/dynamic content coming from the Amazon S3 or EC2 (origins).
  • It helps reduce AWS bandwidth costs coming from the amazon s3 due to its caching magic.
  • Similarly, It’s used as a video hosting solution for Media/Video streaming.
  • It’s built to improve application performance and scalability by granting low latency.
  • CloudFront can help to secure your back-end instances and filter common botnets/DDoS attacks.
  • It decreases the load on web instances, enabling the use of fewer AWS resources.
  • It has support for security certificates (SSL/TLS).

But the question would be why should you integrate your Laravel application with Cloudfront CDN? – because it will provide you with an additional subdomain. Also, CloudFront can extract all the relevant data from the Amazon S3 bucket as well as put all the static content in it. 

After that, you would be able to build a CloudFront distribution. It helps you distribute all your content across the edge locations which would result in the following – the end-user will start getting cached. Hence, better speed and performance. Considering that your Laravel code-base points to Amazon S3 then it would take a few hours to set up the system and get started with it. 

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC)

Do you launch your AWS resources on a virtual network? Yes, it is possible and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud will guide you through the process to get it done successfully. Amazon VPC enables you to have complete control of your virtual networking atmosphere. This means you can choose your IP address range, subnet design, and also arrange route tables as well as network gateways as per your needs. 

Amazon VPC is a logical network on AWS cloud that lets you create multiple isolated logical networks inside your infrastructure. If you want to scale and grow the architecture and structure of the app in multiple groups or departments, developing VPC networks and robust subnets are necessary. 

AWS networking or Amazon VPC comes with a wide range of features like subnet creation, own IP ranges, AWS security groups or network firewalls, network gateways, route tables, network ACLs, hardware virtual private network or VPN creation, and many more. 

While you are deploying Amazon VPC for your Laravel app then you need to make sure that web instances, backend services, and databases are all added on a private subnet and also that ALB is included on a public subnet. 

With such a setting, you might also want to consider deploying a VPN to access your private network. By complying with one of the multiple PCI/HIPAA/FedRamp requirements, you can now transform your SaaS Laravel application into an extremely secure logical network. 

Amazon S3

After the pay-as-you-go model, if there is any other component that has contributed much to the growth of the cloud then it is none other than Amazon S3. Now get unlimited storage capacity with high availability and durability on Amazon S3. object-based cloud storage here, acts as an API. It can host static websites based on their platforms like HTML, Angular, and React. But the most amazing fact is that you can make Amazon S3 cloud storage as your serverless application and that too effortlessly. 

You don’t need to configure Amazon S3 as it is completely reliable, scalable, and secure. The first thing you need to do while scaling up your Laravel application with AWS hosting services is that you have to separate all kinds of static content including images, videos, docs, media, and more to Amazon S3. It is a standard procedure in DevOps and other development processes where all the static content of your Laravel application is pointed to the Amazon S3 endpoint. 

From the technical point of view, you should shift all your content into the Amazon S3 bucket. This will allow you to set all the IAM roles and permission to give reading access correctly. This will also configure your Laravel driver to point to Amazon S3. 

Amazon S3 is serverless, redundant, and fully scalable to host all types of static websites as well as front-end applications built with various programming languages like HTML, Angular, React, and many more. If you are looking for a host for your static website then you should opt for Amazon S3 cloud hosting. It comes highly recommended. You can execute this practice without much effort in a few steps and it doesn’t need any servers either. 

Horizontal Scaling with AWS Auto Scaling (Load Balancer)

The main topic of this blog is to scale up your Laravel app. So let us talk about scaling and AWS auto-scaling is the best component for the job. It is a powerful feature that has single-handedly revolutionized the paradigm of scalability. Before the launch of AWS auto-scaling, there was just manual scaling in practice. And it was really difficult to react to different traffic events. This created a problem in focusing on any single event which ultimately always results in failures. 

It is also necessary to make one thing very clear that AWS auto-scaling is not the same as a load balancer. Commonly, people get confused between these two terms. If you want to scale up or down AWS auto-scaling can help you by scaling dynamically behind a load balancer which is a Laravel app on load balancing. It must be defined clearly by a set of scaling policies like thresholds or limits. Based on such predetermined criteria for CPU, RAM and other instance metrics can help you with the process of scaling up and down. Using the AWS auto-scaling will save your money as well as unwanted AWS resources. 

The process to deploy AWS Auto Scaling is as mentioned below:

  • Set up AWS Application Load Balancer
  • Define a threshold for triggering the autoscaling event on AWS CloudWatch
  • Determine a min/max server amount
  • Set an AWS Auto Scaling group, AWS Auto Scaling launch configuration pre-configure O.S. with an Amazon Machine Image (AMI).

Application Load balancing – ALB (Laravel Load Balancer)

A while ago, Amazon launched application load balancing with a 7 LB layer. It has some added benefits like it can balance the requests based on their domains or URLs, it supports the inclusion of multiple SSL certificates, and that also not just by port or protocol. The Laravel load balancer comes at the lowest price in the market than any other load balancing service and it is billed by request. 

One of the most important advantages of using an application load balancer is that you will not need multiple load balancers to integrate various APIs and domains, Laravel load balancer alone is enough to do it all. So, it is recommended that you create your Laravel app using an application load balancer with auto-scaling integration. 

If you want to scale and grow your Laravel app then you must have a Laravel load balancer. It will be also helpful in balancing your HTTPS services, APIs, and other web sockets. Though app load balancing was initially built for a microservices environment with Docker, AWS ECS, and Kubernetes, as shown in the architecture, you can always use it with a monolithic approach.

AWS ElastiCache (Redis and Memcached)

Do you want to provide higher throughput and receive lower latency from your database? If yes then imply AWS Elasticache to your Laravel application with AWS hosting. AWS Elasticache is a caching and data storage system. It is fully scalable, available, and managed with goals like enhancing application performance, in-memory data structure stores, and distributed cache data. 

AWS Elasticache is an In-memory key/value store for Memcached and Redis engines. You can set up and run this AWS component entirely self-managed within just a few clicks. Some of its advantages are as mentioned below:

  • It Reduces workload on the backend (Database and processing)
  • It Improves application speed by caching data.
  • It Helps to scale and architect modern applications.
  • ElastiCache manages and stores your application session.
  • It reduces low latency.
  • Can scale from 1 node to many nodes.

AWS ElastiCache use cases:

  • Real-time transactions.
  • Real-time Chats.
  • Analytics and BI.
  • Session Store (Session management).
  • Cache, Caches, and Cache’s data.
  • As a Queuing system

Some people find it difficult to use AWS Elasticache with your app functionality and have problems about which caching system will manage which app module. Integrating your PHP Laravel framework to an AWS component is a 3 step process. It is as  given below: 

  • Deploy AWS ElastiCache and identify your Redis endpoint and port.
  • Deploy Predis/Redis package via Composer
  • Connect your config/database.php file with your Redis end-point

Now, leave everything to the developers. They will figure out which piece of your Laravel app should be used with AWS Elasticache to enhance performance and throughputs. 

AWS EFS

One of the best practices to build a SaaS Laravel application is using an AWS EFS. but if you use EFS to share your Laravel code across multiple instances after AWS auto-scaling then it will not only slow down the application performance but will also introduce another network layer to the scalability equation. 

Though AWS EFS replaced the NFS it is a promising NAS. when developers work with remote storage that is shared with a cluster of instances then there would be no possible way to evade the network latency. Still, AWS EFS can be used for a wide range of activities like elastic file storage, disaster recovery, and improved NFS solutions. 

It will be better if you don’t incorporate AWS EFS with your AWS architecture because the network latency can cause serving your static content or code base. 

Route 53

One piece of advice that people get the most in the case of scaling your Laravel application is to transfer from Godaddy DNS to AWS Route 53. The DNS could be managed by GoDaddy but it is an industry best practice that Route 53 has complete control over your entire DNS domain. 

Your AWS component here will act as a DNS load balancer that will route traffic as per the network latency. This also helps in scaling advanced cloud-native apps. Amazon Route 53 is a modern DNS manager service that can scale and enhance the availability from the perspective of DNS. 

Route 53 acts as an API that could be interoperated with your API Laravel application. It also proposes the necessary agility to deploy scalable apps. Developers and networking experts can use this to integrate Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon S3 buckets, and Elastic load balancing. It is highly recommended that you should transfer all your DNS records and domain name to Route 53. And not just that, also migrate your entire Laravel application to Amazon Route 53. 

Top Features of Amazon Route53:

  • Health Checks. Route53 can monitor your applications for outages or downtimes. Also, it can be used as a monitoring system. (Basic, won’t replace a Monitoring system)
  • DNS Failover Routing policy. As the name states, you can obtain a failover solution on the DNS level, separating your SaaS PHP application on two environments, primary and backup waiting to jump in case the primary fails. This brings us more resiliency and high availability.
  • DNS Latency routing policy. This policy directs traffic requests to the lowest latency, between the end-user and the application environment. As a result, application speed and UX improvements.
  • Geographic routing policy. This routing policy lets your requests be routed to the same physical region where you are located. Similar outcomes from the previous point, degrade latency.

There is a thing that needs clarification. Most people get confused between the DNS failover and a load balancer failover or a Haproxy failover or heartbeat. Well, they are not the same thing.

What have we learned so far?

In this article, we have discussed how you can leverage the benefits from AWS for the success of your Laravel application. AWS has already served more than a million users through an eloquent architecture using AWS best practices. We have also looked at and understand those industry practices that can help you scale your app with AWS hosting. And mind it, these best practices are applicable for all kinds of apps and can be implied on any cloud service with not even a slight reduction in its efficiency.   

When you execute the practices to your web application, you will be transforming your cloud-native app in a systematic manner. So, relax. Once you have joined the AWS cloud, you are on a journey to continuous improvement and betterment through digital transformation. Have a happy journey!

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