A Comparative Study: Runcloud Vs Serverpilot Vs Forge
Today several businesses are being empowered with technology innovation and digital transformation. It’s time to take a step forward to the cloud, or on a virtual private server (VPS). You will come across numerous VPS providers who specialize in offering better value in terms of CPU and RAM resources rather than the shared hosting counterparts. A few years ago, when I moved my website to Amazon Web Services; it took me days to deploy the server and get it ready with PHP, MySQL, and Apache. The good news is things have changed today! All thanks to the growing PHP development companies and Laravel service providers available across the globe.
RunCloud, ServerPilot, and Laravel Forge are some my favorite SaaS tools that can be used to deploy, configure, manage, and monitor VPS on any cloud hosting providers like AWS, Linode, Vultr, Digital Ocean, and others. In the following post, you will come across three look-alike services that are different in numerous ways.
Easy to register, the tool doesn’t require a credit card and can be used with your Facebook, Google, or GitHub account. In case, if you don’t fancy using your social media account, then just use your email address. Now what you need to do is deploy a fresh Ubuntu 16.04 LTS VPS on almost any VPS hosting provider. Here I have used a Linode VPS which costs $5 per month.
Once your server is ready, you go back to RunCloud and enter your server details like the IP address to get your connection command.
You will discover a very long one-line command like this.
Run the command on our server as the root user which will probably take around 15 to 20 minutes or the process to complete, and once you are done, you can start to manage your server from within the web panel.
Managing the server
Now it’s time to create a web application. This will act as a virtual host on the web server. While working on this, you need to select your PHP version and assign your domain name to the web application. You can assign more than once.
The UI is pretty much user-friendly and intuitive so one can find whatever they need (quick and easy). According to me, one of the most basic requirements would be to be able to create virtual hosts (Web Application), assign domain names and create databases and perhaps deploy my application from GitHub or any other Git server. In addition to this, there is also a script installer that supports WordPress, Joomla, Concrete5, PHPMyAdmin and a few more common PHP tools.
This SaaS tool is the oldest among the three and most well-marketed. So when I ask around if anybody makes use of server management tool, they reply ServerPilot.io.
ServerPilot has a free account that can be used with limited features. If you want to pursue further then you can choose Coach ($10/mo) and Business ($49/mo) plans. Remember, these prices are for server deployments and not per account to ServerPilot.
Coach comprises of more and more features like free SSL via LetsEncrypt, server health stats and other whereas the business package is more like a mini NewRelic or an application performance monitoring service. Of course, the Free package is good enough, but limited compared to their Coach and Business options.
Connecting a Server
This is quite similar to RunCloud. For this, you require a fresh Ubuntu 16.04 VPS server. Now if you don’t have the root password to your server, you don’t need to copy and paste the installer command via SSH. Just you need to enter your server IP address and your root password, and ServerPilot will get your server ready in a few minutes.
But if you don’t want to enter the root password then you can opt not to do that. Just install run the command, and copy and paste that via SSH into your server. I personally feel that server deployment processes are smooth and fast. Once done, you will be redirected to create an App right away. Here, an App is like the virtual host. In addition to this, you can also select your PHP version if you want. I selected PHP 7.1.
Managing Your Server
Trust me, from registration to deploying a server, the experience was really good and fast. I got the serving running in no time at all. Now, unfortunately, PHP tools like Joomla and Concrete5 are not present, and ServerPilot.io also does not give the option to set where your web root should be other than /public. You can still manage though.
Connecting a Server
Unlike Serverpilot and RunCloud, Laravel Forge will connect to your cloud hosting provider via API and deploy servers then and there on your behalf. With this, you don’t require to deploy your server in the cloud hosting provider first and enter details later on.
Managing Your Server
It may quite interest you to know that Laravel Forge has a lot covered when it comes to managing the server. Once the server is ready, the site can be easily created. Since it’s developed by PHP, Forge allows one to deploy their files through Git or you can think of installing WordPress.
While creating a site, you are presented with the option to add your domain name. And it becomes pretty much easy to set whether to have the wildcard sub-domain option enabled or not. However, there is no option for multiple domain names for a single site.
I believe each has its own strength and weakness. RunCloud has the best web panel, which comes with everything that you need to manage your server whereas I can praise ServerPilot for is how fast a server gets deployed.