Working on Laravel apps can be challenging, such as configuring database servers, handling storage and cache management, and dealing with downtime. That said, there’s a solution — Laravel Vapor, which takes pesky server management hassles and puts them into a neat package so developers can focus on what truly matters — writing reliable PHP code.

In this article, we'll explain the most crucial benefits and specificities of Laravel Vapor for app development that can save development time and a project's budget.

Let's dive in! 

In This Article:

  1. What Is Laravel?
  2. What Is Laravel Vapor?
  3. Navigating Laravel with Geniusee
  4. Conclusion

What Is Laravel?

Laravel is one of the most popular free, open-source PHP frameworks available to developers. 

As the Laravel app continues to develop, it can run and manage complex web apps securely, at better and faster rates than other PHP frameworks. 

It also has an easy syntax and focuses on the developer’s experience. Moreover, Laravel simplifies the development process by improving and simplifying common tasks, such as routing sessions, caching data, and the authentication process. 

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What Is Laravel Vapor?

You might be wondering, “Why Laravel Vapor? Why not stick to the good ol' server-based deployment process?” That's like asking, “Why drive a Tesla when I can use a horse-drawn carriage?” 

Sure, you could, but would you really want to? 

Laravel Vapor is an auto-scaling, serverless deployment platform for Laravel powered by AWS Lambda

Vapor is built around the Laravel PHP Framework and makes it easy to use AWS Lambda-powered serverless technology apps so that you don't need to do any setup for the Lambda ecosystem.

It allows you to deploy your Laravel app on the AWS Cloud without the usual complexity and challenges. It automates many of the steps and makes it as easy as the wave of a magic wand. 

Vapor uses AWS's serverless Lambda function to automatically scale up and down based on demand. With Vapor, you can easily instruct AWS and manage many other services, for example:

  • RDS
  • Elastic Cache
  • SQS
  • S3
  • Route 53

Most of DevOps’ work is processed under the hood during Vapor’s deployment. Despite the simplicity of this infrastructure on Vapor, if you dig deep into the Vapor deployment logs, you will find a lot of configuration options related to load balancers (most of them located in the vapor.yml file at the root of the project), so you can calibrate your project accurately. 

Now, let’s delve into the major benefits of using Vapor and how they can help create a serverless deployment platform.

Benefits of using Laravel Vapor

1. Vapor UI — The Powerhouse

The Vapor user interface is a powerhouse of functionalities. It offers insights into logs, monitors activities, manages custom domains, and allows you to switch application versions. 

Dashboard of Laravel Vapor

You can also use it to invoke and execute commands and tweak environment variables and secrets for your journey. Plus, the UI makes it easy to manage databases and caches. 

2. Vapor CLI — The Swiss Army Knife

You can install Vapor CLI directly into your project for Vapor deploy productions from your CI pipeline. So, with Vapor CLI, your Laravel infrastructure is at your fingertips.

Concurrency. Normally, Vapor lets your app process web requests at full capacity, usually 1,000 things happening concurrently across all your AWS Lambda functions in a region. If you want fewer things happening concurrently, you can change the 'concurrency' option in the setting's vapor.yml file.

This CLI is your one-stop solution to invoke artisan commands, create new projects, collect statics, and much more. 

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3. AWS Lambda — Powering Vapor

Powering Vapor is AWS Lambda, offering limitless scaling possibilities. With it, your application scales to meet demand, so you don't have to worry about your app crashing during peak times. It's nuances like these that industry leaders like Geniusee excel at, ensuring applications are optimized for peak performance.

By default, Vapor creates three lambdas for each environment — CLI, queue, and the application itself, each configured with strict cloud security measures. But Vapor doesn't stop there. It allows you to configure memory allocation and concurrency settings, ensuring your application runs as smoothly as butter and has easy integration with your AWS account.

Memory. Vapor gives your Lambda function computer power based on the memory you've set for the app. You can make this memory bigger or smaller using the 'memory' option in your setting's vapor.yml file:

 memory option in the settings' vapor.yml file

Concurrency. Normally, Vapor lets your app process web requests at full capacity, usually 1,000 things happening concurrently across all your AWS Lambda functions in a region. If you want fewer things happening concurrently, you can change the 'concurrency' option in the setting's vapor.yml file.

Laravel Vapor concurrency option

Prewarming. When a setting is deployed, the first request might face “cold starts.” This means it might take a few seconds more while AWS gets a serverless container ready. Once a request has been handled by that container, it's ready for more requests without delay.

To lessen “cold starts” after a fresh deployment, Vapor lets you set a 'warm' value in your vapor.yml file. This value is how many serverless containers Vapor will get ready before the app is open to the public.

Vapor keeps getting this many containers ready every 5 minutes, so they're always prepared:

Warm value in Laravel Vapor

Databases. Vapor isn't just for deployments. You can also make, manage, scale, and restore your normal and serverless databases directly from Vapor's easy-to-use dashboard. Here's a configuration example for the database in vapor.yml:

A configuration example for the database in Laravel Vapor

Caches. Vapor lets you make and manage DynamoDB or ElastiCache Redis clusters. Like other services, you can make a cache using the Vapor UI or the Vapor CLI. Here's a CLI command to create a cache:

A CLI command to create a cache in Laravel Vapor

To connect the cache you've made, you need this line in your vapor.yml configuration file:

A line in a vapor.yml configuration file to connect the cache

You can also make the cache bigger through the Vapor UI's cache detail screen or the “cache: scale” CLI command.

4. Cloud Storage — Say Goodbye to Local

With Vapor, there's no need to stress over local storage or cloud security. You can be confident your files are always accessible and permanent in a serverless environment.

Moreover, when running an application in a serverless environment, there's no necessity for file uploading into the local file system since you can never be sure the same serverless “container” will be used on a subsequent request. 

All file uploads should be stored in a cloud storage system, such as AWS S3, or a shared file system through AWS EFS. Here’s the configuration line in vapor.yml for connecting the S3 bucket:

The configuration line in vapor.yml for connecting the S3 bucket

5. Zero-Downtime Deployments and Rollbacks — Be Fearless

In software development, every second counts, and downtime can cost you dearly. This is why Laravel Vapor prioritizes zero-downtime deployments. It allows for updates and modifications and vapor deploy updates without interrupting your application's availability. 

Imagine making changes on the fly while your application hums along without missing a beat. How's that for a seamless experience?

But what about those oopsie moments when you've rolled out an update and things don't go quite as planned? With Vapor, you can roll back your entire application, including environment variables, within seconds.

Laravel Vapor development ensures your application remains accessible during updates, resulting in zero downtime. You only need to navigate to the Vapor UI or use Vapor's simple CLI. So, be bold, experiment, and iterate without fearing irreversible errors. 

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6. DNS & Certificates — Setting Up Shop Has Never Been Easier

Managing DNS records can feel like deciphering an ancient language. But with Vapor, this process becomes a cakewalk. Whether from the Vapor UI or CLI, you can manage your application's DNS records like a pro.

Moreover, when it comes to security, Vapor leaves no stone unturned. During deployment, every Vapor application receives a free, auto-renewing SSL certificate, ensuring your application remains secure and trustworthy.

7. Applications With SQS Queues — Powering Through Tasks Efficiently

Queues are your best friends for managing jobs and tasks efficiently. By default, Vapor will create an SQS queue with the same name as your project and inject the proper environment variables to make this queue the default. 

But what if you have specific needs and want to use custom queue names? Vapor has you covered. Simply define a queue’s option in your environment's vapor.yml configuration and list your queues.

If you want Vapor to create custom queue names instead, you may define a queue option in your environment's vapor.yml configuration. The first queue on the list will be considered your “default” queue and automatically set as the “SQS_QUEUE” environment variable.


Queues in Laravel Vapor

Currently, serverless applications on AWS may only process a single request (web or queue) for a maximum of 15 minutes. 

8. Multiple Environments — Flexibility at Its Best

Ever wish you could clone your application to test new features without disturbing your live site? With your Vapor account, you can do just that. Each Vapor project can have multiple unique environments. To help you preview your application, each environment receives its own Vapor vanity URL.

You could have a “production” environment and a “staging” one for testing. But why stop there? Vapor allows you to create as many environments as you need, giving you the freedom to innovate and experiment. You can create multiple environments per project. Perfect for development, testing, and production stages.

Laravel Vapor doesn't just deploy your application. It gives you a new world of flexibility, control, and simplicity: no more juggling servers or downtime nightmares, just a smooth ride into the clouds. With this tool, the future of web development is here. So embrace the change, and let your applications soar to new heights.

While it offers groundbreaking capabilities to supercharge Laravel deployment, navigating its intricacies may still pose challenges, especially for businesses new to the serverless paradigm. 

Challenges and Solutions

  • Insufficient practical experience. Serverless architectures can have tight constraints with persistent database connections, leading to deployment and performance issues. 

  • Security implications. Serverless architectures, while efficient, might introduce new security concerns that businesses aren't familiar with, requiring them to rethink their security strategies.

  • Confusing learning curve. With its unique serverless architecture, it might have a difficult learning curve for traditional developers. This means projects may get delayed or not work well with your existing environment.

  • Higher investment costs. The necessity to invest in training or hiring new developers who can work on Laravel brings an extra headroom of investment. This means the overall budget for projects will increase.

  • Integration complications. Integrating third-party services or legacy systems with it might not be straightforward, requiring additional effort and sometimes custom solutions.

To solve these business challenges, Geniusee offers trained, experienced professionals who can help develop and deploy everything your business needs, saving time, money, and effort. Here are a few case studies you can check to learn more about how Geniusee works.

By partnering with experts like Geniusee, you can focus more on building and innovating while leaving the deployment and optimization to seasoned professionals.

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Now, you should understand the benefits and challenges of integrating Laravel Vapor with your workflow. For more information on it, check out their official site and the AWS support forums. The next time you're confused about how to get started with Laravel or contemplating the deployment conundrum, remember this tool for serverless deployment.

Finally, if you need a helping hand in navigating the exciting, yet challenging, world of Laravel development, consider Geniusee. As experts in Laravel, cloud security, and AWS, we offer comprehensive services that can take your application from idea to deployment. Let us do the heavy lifting while you focus on your core business.

Remember, it's not about working harder but smarter. And with Geniusee on your side, the sky's the limit. So, here's to a future of effortless deployments and highly scalable applications. Cheers!