Which setup works best for an early-stage PHP web application?

Which combination would work best for an early-stage PHP web application? The application’s features include a newsfeed, uploading/sharing/hosting files and images, and transactions involving money (Stripe).

-HOSTING SERVER: Shared, VPS, Dedicated, or Cloud?


That’s really going to depend entirely on your specific needs and on your development team (whether that’s just you, or a group, or whatever).

Personally I’ve enjoyed tinkering with Nginx recently.

As for hosting - I’d definitely recommend VPS most of the time. Unless you’re big enough that you need dedicated, and to be honest, there’s an argument for remaining with more easily scalable solutions anyway.

With as cheap as VPS are getting now, if you have the knowledge necessary (or have someone who does on your team) to set up a small hosting VPS, I’d never recommend shared hosting. But that’s just my preference.

There are many reasons that shared hosting is bad for anything but a “look at me” website:

  1. Shared accounts have limited resources shared among MANY accounts: Slow, poor security, you “earn” the reputation (read BLACKLIST) of the worst of your shared accounts, and you have very little control over the server’s configuration.

  2. Shared accounts pay a lot extra for a dedicated IP address for SSL services (you do NOT want to use the host’s cert if you’re representing yourself as a professional).

VPS has some of the same problems but those accounts are far more limited in number of “shares” and you can take advantage of some “unused” capacity. You also have some direct access to the server (the daemons) as it relates to your account.

  1. Dedi is far more expensive but you do have full control and you are guaranteed full use of the available resources (noone else is sharing them with you).

As for my preferences, I am on a dedi account (with a shared account for some other services) and will always opt for Apache with PHP and MySQL - WHM/cPanel, too!



Definitely true.

Shared accounts pay a lot extra for a dedicated IP address for SSL services (you do NOT want to use the host’s cert if you’re representing yourself as a professional).

I’ve never tried to use SSL on a shared host. I imagine some hosts wouldn’t allow it, and others would only offer you their own. I’m sure it’d be a royal pain, for sure. One note though, so as to not confuse people who are new to various types of hosting - in general, you do not need a dedicated IP to have an SSL certificate. For example, on a VPS box, you can share an IP with several other VPS, but since you have your own unique hostname, and presumably FQDN, that you’re using on it, you can get your own SSL without issue. I have no idea if a shared host might require that you get a unique IP in order to arrange SSL for you, but it’s definitely not a normal requirement.

and will always opt for Apache with PHP

Out of curiosity, do you have an opinion on Apache vs Nginx, or have you tried to compare?


I haven’t tried nginx. It just seemed too much like comparing a (free) Rolls Royce with a Yugo (which tries to match the Rolls’ features). Yes, nginx is a light weight version but I’ve never heard of it being used in a production environment (no, I haven’t researched that at all) and Apache is used by almost everyone so it’s easy to find and compare hosts (the major differences between hosts seems to be leading edge vs bleeding edge updates of daemon software, cPanel (w/WHM if appropriate) and .htaccess/mod_rewrite availability (aside from hosting support and reliability which are both outstanding at my host: WebHostingBuzz.com).

I would NEVER use a M$ server (security and expense of proprietary software are major issues for me).



Yeah, I think nginx comes in more often on VPS and dedicated environments, as a lot of hosts don’t offer it.

It just seemed too much like comparing a (free) Rolls Royce with a Yugo (which tries to match the Rolls’ features).

Luckily, both Apache and nginx are free :slight_smile:
If you’re ever interested, look into it. In many different types of hosting situations, it seems to me that nginx is a much better option. Apache being the only option has led to it sometimes being a bit bloated and heavy handed sometimes, I think. You dislike Microsoft - but isn’t that how Microsoft is popular? The fact that everyone uses it self-reinforces - same thing with Apache, in that respect :smile:

When I run or admin servers now, I use each of them sometimes - I haven’t settled on a universal better option. Definitely not arguing that Apache is the worse option - but I definitely think that it might be in some situations, at the very least.

I, too, would never use a Microsoft server either, given any other option :wink:


I’m too much of a fan of Apache to go looking for Nginx but I must agree that both are “low” cost web servers. Moreover, both reside on a 'nix OS which is critical for security.

Ah! You finally hit on Apache’s sole (IMHO) problem: It’s gotten bloated over the years. Okay, the bloat (presumably) comes from its really great features (and you can turn off the mods you don’t need to run leaner) but it’s those features which make it great! The fact that Apache was developed by the open source community ensures there are either no problems OR that they will be corrected as soon as any are detected.

I’ve been around desktop computers since before they were “desktop computers.” I know that M$ has been extremely heavy handed while it lacks (lacked?) any concern for security. While I have peripheral knowledge of the unethical manner in which M$ is reputed to have “stolen” technology from others, my main problem is that M$ provides “bug-ware” and then SELLS corrections every two years (while introducing a new set of problems). Unfortunately, my investment in applications which must be run on a WinDoze box means that I’m stuck … but only for my desktop, not for a production server.

Okay, time to get off my soapbox (with its long held biases; for the Mac fans, there are a different set of issues centering around Apple’s closed architecture for which they charge artificially high prices - IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, of course).

My strongly held opinions are based on snippets of knowledge gained over too many years to admit to and must be regarded as biases based on my perceptions. If any member must argue against (or for my biases), please do so with someone else.



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