Sometime its difficult to choose from dozens of options and that happens when you think about choosing a server provider.
Forge is an tool to deploy and host your website in a no time with almost no server configuration. Laravel Forge is a server provisioning and management tool for PHP apps.
Its a great product of Laravel family, which allow you to focus totally on developing and not on Deploying your app.
So before Knowing about Forge in deep, lets see why we need it.
Yes Godaddy/Hostgater/Bluehost are normal choice when you start to deploy your First Laravel App and they seems cheaper and more user friendly. ( How to deploy laravel app on Godaddy shared hosting)
But you know in reality they are not
Yes they are good for starting purpose because they are intended for that only but when it comes to deploy your real project in which you have done hard work, then they create real issue.
Because you get a system shared with others so sometimes your site performance slows down because of others site, even you can't do anything when your website load increases.
On shared hosting you don't have lots of advanced features like Git, Queue, scheduling etc. You have to ask about that and may be they charge you to include this feature.
Here comes VPS (Virtual Private System) providers. Like DigitalOcean, AWS (Amazon web service). Linode, Vultr etc.
Here you can create your server, you can define how much RAM you need, what processor has to be there, and even in which operating system you want to have in your server and these things are not available in shared hosting system.
They also include various advanced features as we have talked about, and can be configured to upgrade your server performance.
The biggest problem with normal VPS providers is that they just provide you empty system, they expect some advanced server information.
This means even they are very good in all cases, you need to configure your own server, they are not responsible for any configuration settings or anything and here is many people move from these platforms.
Think about PAAS as combination of both shared hosting and VPS. But what this mean.This mean, you can design your server and then the server configurations are also done by that.
Common examples are Heroku, Pagodabox, fortrabbit etc.
So why we can't simple use PAAS and where FORGE stand in this mob.
If you are a laravel developer then this is an awesome thing for you, I am sure you will love it.
Now this forge is smart and it takes good part of each of the topics given above. As you have DigitalOcean, AWS as cheap and awesome cloud providers and also heroku type PASS. So forge combines these things. How?
Forge has many features that you don't need to think about that.
Choose Server : you can choose between DigitalOcean, AWS, Linode or Vultr, this makes for so flexible.After you choose and forge takes care of everything to setting up your server
Forge is always up-to-date : this means you never have to think about updating your php version or mysql version.
Push to Deploy : Version controlling is a great help for every developer and if you can push your codes to server directly from github or bitbucket, then life become soo easy, and this can be done by forge.
Free SSL : Every one loves free stuffs, here is a gift for you, forge provide free SSL certificate to make your website more trustworthy. If you use shared hosting then I am sure you will going to pay for this.
Queue Worker : Every laravel developer knows the importance of queuing any event. here with forge you can start your queue worker very easily. ( What is Queue? )
There are lot more with forge, if you want you can subscribe to forge and try it for 5 days for free.
When you buy its subscription then it manages your server very easily and in a best way, but you also have to pay for the server you create from DigitalOcean or AWS or anywhere. This means at-least two subscriptions, one for Forge service and second for Server. On top of this if you want to use GitHub as your version control then pay for that also.
Now if you give VPS a try then yes initially you will have hard time to configure/setup your server, you think about this, how much you will going to learn when you use VPS and almost nothing you learn about servers when using forge.
Now its your choice, if money does't matter you and you don't want to give time to setup your server then FORGE is made for you. Thanks for Taylor for creating Laravel Forge.