Benjamin Crozat The web developer life

Laravel Forge in 2023: review, pricing and alternatives

Benjamin Crozat Benjamin Crozat8 minutes read
Table of contents

Laravel Forge

What is Laravel Forge?

Laravel Forge is a service that automatically provisions optimized PHP servers using the hosting provider of your choice.

It was created by Taylor Otwell in 2014. He was tired of manually creating and configuring servers, so he automated the process. At some point, he realized he could release it as a paid product and considerably improve Laravel’s developer experience.

If you’re curious, you can watch the 2014 Laracon, where Taylor unveiled Forge to the world.

I checked my first invoice for this article, and I’ve been using it since 2015, which is crazy! 🤯

Is Laravel Forge free?

Laravel Forge isn’t free.

You also have to take into account your hosting provider, because Forge plugs itself into it.

That said, the features save a considerable amount of time and pricing is pretty damn good. To me, Forge is a necessary investment to make any Laravel-based online business easier.

Laravel Forge pricing

Monthly

Plan Price
Hobby $12 per month
Growth $19 per month
Business $39 per month

The hobby plan has everything you need. Unless you need to use multiple servers, this is the way to go. The only critical thing missing for me would be database backups, but you can set this up yourself with spatie/laravel-backup for instance.

The growth plan is the perfect balance of price and features because you can manage multiple servers. Database backup are still not available, but who cares?

The business plan is perfect and if you’re actually running a business. $39 is nothing. Database backups can be set up via Forge’s UI and is compatible with pretty much anything (S3, DigitalOcean Spaces, etc.).

Annually

Plan Price
Hobby $120 per year
Growth $199 per year
Business $399 per year

Basically, the annual plans let you save 17%, which is a no brainer if your business depends on it.

The pros of Laravel Forge

The cons of Laravel Forge

How to get started with Laravel Forge

  1. Create an account and subscribe to the desired plan (you get a 7-day free trial no matter what);
  2. Subscribe to a web hosting provider (you will find my recommendations in this article, such as Vultr, my favorite);
  3. Connect your provider to Laravel Forge (this is where having root access over SSH comes in handy 👍);
  4. Deploy your application (the documentation will help you get started).

The best web hosting providers for Laravel Forge

The best web hosting providers for Laravel Forge are:

  1. Vultr (read review)
  2. Hostinger (read review)
  3. GreenGeeks (read review)
  4. DigitalOcean (read review)

Vultr

Vultr

Vultr manages over 45 million cloud server instances deployed by thousands of clients. I love their UI and UX, they’re cheaper than DigitalOcean, and their customer service is top-notch.

It’s the perfect hosting for Laravel Forge, which supports Vultr out of the box.

Pros:

Cons:

Get started with $100 of credit

Hostinger

Hostinger

Hostinger is a web hosting company that offers VPS hosting and dedicated servers. They’re a great choice for beginners and small businesses that want the cheapeat and most affordable option possible without sacrificing reliability (meaning uptime).

Since Hostinger provides full access over SSH, Laravel Forge can easily manage and provision your servers.

Pros:

Cons:

Get started for $3.49/month and 30-day money-back guarantee

GreenGeeks

GreenGeeks

If you ever wanted to host websites without having a negative impact on the environement, GreenGeeks is there for you. They have servers in Europe, the United States and Canada.

Pros:

Cons:

Get started with 30-day money back guarantee

DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean is a reliable cloud hosting provider that offers a delightfully simple and intuitive user interface. It’s integrated into Laravel Forge and whatever you need for your Laravel project, they provide at a reasonable price.

Pros:

Cons:

Get started with $200 of credit

Laravel Forge alternatives

I don’t know a lot of alternatives to Laravel Forge, but I’m researching and I will update this article as soon as I find more of them.

Cloudways

Cloudways

Cloudways is an alternative to Laravel Forge that powers more than 75,000+ businesses. It’s an easy-to-use web hosting for people who want to save cost and time on DevOps matters.

Unlike Laravel Forge, Cloudways doesn’t require you to have a DigitalOcean, Vultr or whatever else account first. They handle everything.

Pros:

Cons:

Get started with a 3-day free trial without credit card

Kinsta

Kinsta

Kinsta is also an alternative to Laravel Forge. It now proposes applications hosting, which works in similar fashion as Forge and Cloudways, but even simpler. I really like how clean it is. Link to your GitHub repository, click to deploy, and you’re ready!

Pros:

Cons:

Get started with $20 off

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