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8 development server options for Laravel

Video Notes

If you’re just starting out with Laravel it can be overwhelming choosing a development server platform as there are many options to select from. This guide summarizes 8 of the most popular options so you can make an informed decision on which technology might be the best choice for your development needs.

1. PHP’s built in web server

  • Pre-req: PHP already installed
  • Run via php artisan serve
  • No local domains
  • No database
  • Good for quick prototypes but not very robust

2. Laravel Valet

  • Mac specific
  • Command line based
  • Easy setup with .test domains
  • Fast and lightweight
  • Learn more...

3. Laravel Herd

  • Mac specific
  • Like Valet but even easier
  • Has a graphical interface
  • Quickly set up new and existing applications
  • Easy setup with .test domains
  • One click HTTPS
  • No database; suggest pairing with DBngin
  • Learn more...

4. Laravel Homestead

  • Virtual machine based
  • Requires virtualization software like Parallels or VirtualBox, managed by Vagrant
  • More advanced setup
  • More resource intensive
  • Consistency with production server
  • Learn more...

5. Docker

  • Isolated containers instead of full virtual machines
  • Consistency with production server
  • Can be resource intensive
  • Overhead of understanding how to work with Docker
  • Learn more...

6. Laravel Sail

  • Command line based
  • Docker container customized to work with Laravel
  • Learn more...

7. Laragon

  • Windows specific
  • All-in-one server software
  • Includes: Nginx, PHP, MySQL, Redis
  • User-friendly with graphical interface
  • Lightweight compared to Virtual Machines / Docker
  • Learn more...

8. The “Amps”

  • XAMPP (Cross-platform), WAMP ( Windows), MAMP ( Mac)
  • All-in-one server software
  • Not Laravel specific
  • Lightweight compared to Virtual Machines / Docker
  • Includes: Apache, PHP, MySQL, Redis

Final recommendations

  • Need advanced control? Homestead or Docker via Sail
  • Average Mac developer: Herd w/ DBngin
  • Average Window’s developer: Laragon
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