Posted on Sep 11, 2023

Scaling web applications with laravel and bref.sh

#PHP #Serverless #DevOps

 8 mins of reading

Scaling web applications is a critical aspect of ensuring their smooth operation and performance as they encounter increased traffic and workload. Laravel, being one of the most popular PHP frameworks, offers robust features and flexibility that make it an excellent choice for building scalable applications. In this blog post, we’ll explore various strategies for scaling Laravel applications, including traditional server scaling, serverless architecture using Bref.sh.

As user demand grows, traditional server scaling has been a common approach to handle increased traffic. It involves adding more servers to distribute the workload and ensure high availability. This method often requires setting up load balancers to distribute incoming requests, horizontally scaling the application by adding more servers to the pool, and implementing database replication for better performance and fault tolerance.

However, as technology evolves, serverless architecture has gained popularity due to its numerous benefits. Bref.sh, a serverless framework specifically designed for PHP applications, enables developers to deploy Laravel applications on serverless platforms such as AWS Lambda. With serverless, the infrastructure management burden is significantly reduced, and automatic scaling ensures that resources are allocated dynamically based on demand, leading to cost optimization and improved performance.

Throughout this blog post, we’ll delve into each of these scaling approaches, examining their benefits, implementation techniques, and best practices. By understanding these strategies, you’ll be well-equipped to scale your Laravel applications effectively, providing a seamless experience to your growing user base.

Stay tuned as we explore the world of scaling Laravel applications using traditional server scaling, serverless architecture with Bref.sh. Let’s dive in!

Traditional Server Scaling

When it comes to scaling Laravel applications, one of the tried and tested approaches is traditional server scaling. This method involves adding more servers to handle increased traffic and distribute the workload effectively. Let’s take a closer look at the key aspects of traditional server scaling.

Load Balancers: Load balancers play a crucial role in distributing incoming requests across multiple servers. By evenly distributing the workload, they help prevent any single server from becoming overwhelmed. Popular load balancer solutions include Nginx, HAProxy, and AWS Elastic Load Balancer (ELB).

Horizontal Scaling: With horizontal scaling, additional servers are added to the server pool to handle increased traffic. Each server in the pool operates independently, sharing the load and ensuring better performance. Horizontal scaling allows for better utilization of resources and improved fault tolerance.

Database Replication: Scaling the application servers is not the only consideration when it comes to handling increased traffic. Database scalability is equally important. Implementing database replication, such as master-slave replication or multi-master replication, can help distribute the database workload and ensure better read and write performance.

While traditional server scaling offers increased scalability and performance, it also comes with some challenges and considerations:

Server Management: With more servers in the infrastructure, managing and maintaining them can become complex. It requires monitoring server health, applying updates and patches, and ensuring proper configuration across all servers.

Cost: Traditional server scaling involves the cost of purchasing and maintaining additional hardware or provisioning virtual servers. Along with the server costs, there are expenses associated with power, cooling, and network infrastructure.

Complexity: As the number of servers increases, so does the complexity of the overall system. Ensuring proper load balancing, managing server configurations, and maintaining data consistency across multiple servers can become challenging.

Despite these challenges, traditional server scaling remains a viable approach for scaling Laravel applications. It offers flexibility, control, and the ability to fine-tune the infrastructure to meet specific requirements.

In the next section, we will explore an alternative approach to scaling Laravel applications: serverless architecture with Bref.sh.


Serverless Architecture with Bref.sh

Serverless architecture has gained popularity in recent years due to its scalability, cost-effectiveness, and reduced infrastructure management. Bref.sh is a powerful serverless framework specifically designed for PHP applications, including Laravel. Let’s delve into the world of serverless architecture and how Bref.sh can be leveraged to scale Laravel applications.

Introduction to Serverless Architecture: In a serverless architecture, the server management burden is abstracted away. Instead of provisioning and managing servers, developers can focus solely on writing code. Applications are divided into small, stateless functions that are triggered by events. Each function runs independently and automatically scales based on demand.

Benefits of Serverless Architecture: Serverless architecture offers several advantages when it comes to scaling Laravel applications:

  • Automatic Scaling: With serverless, the platform automatically scales the application by allocating resources dynamically based on incoming requests. This ensures optimal performance during peak times and cost savings during periods of low traffic.
  • Cost Optimization: Serverless platforms charge based on actual usage, providing cost savings compared to maintaining a fleet of servers constantly. With serverless, you only pay for the resources consumed during function execution.
  • Reduced Infrastructure Management: Serverless platforms abstract away the infrastructure management tasks, such as server provisioning, scaling, and monitoring. Developers can focus on writing code and deploying functions without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.


Bref.sh and Laravel Integration:

Bref.sh is a serverless framework that simplifies deploying Laravel applications on serverless platforms such as AWS Lambda. It provides a smooth integration with Laravel, allowing you to harness the power of serverless while leveraging the Laravel framework’s features and ecosystem.

You can visit the documentation page at https://bref.sh/

Deployment Process with Bref.sh: The deployment process with Bref.sh involves the following steps:

  1. Configuration: Set up the Bref.sh configuration file to define the functions, events, and dependencies required for your Laravel application.
  2. Function Definition: Define individual functions within your Laravel application that correspond to specific routes or tasks.
  3. Deploying Functions: Use Bref.sh CLI commands to deploy your Laravel application to a serverless platform like AWS Lambda. Bref.sh handles the necessary packaging, uploading, and configuration behind the scenes.
  4. Event Triggers: Configure event triggers to connect your serverless functions to various events such as HTTP requests, queues, or scheduled tasks.

Scaling Laravel with Bref.sh: By leveraging Bref.sh and serverless architecture, you can easily scale Laravel applications. As traffic increases, the serverless platform automatically scales your application by provisioning and executing additional function instances to handle the workload. This elastic scaling ensures optimal performance and eliminates the need for manual server provisioning.

Prerequisites: Before you begin, ensure you have the following prerequisites in place:

  1. A Laravel project set up on your local development environment.
  2. An AWS account to deploy your application on AWS Lambda using Bref.sh


Step 1: Install Bref.sh To start, we need to install Bref.sh as a Composer dependency in your Laravel project. Open a terminal or command prompt and navigate to your Laravel project directory. Then, execute the following command:

Step 2: Configure Serverless.yml Once Bref.sh is installed, you need to create a serverless.yml file in the root directory of your Laravel project. This file will contain the configuration settings for your serverless deployment. Here’s a basic example of serverless.yml:

In the serverless.yml file, we define the service name, AWS region, runtime, and other essential settings. The functions section specifies the Lambda function named web, which will handle incoming HTTP requests.

Step 3: Create the Deployment Package To create the deployment package, you need to build your Laravel project and copy the necessary files to the vendor directory. Bref.sh provides a convenient command to automate this process:

Step 4: Deploy to AWS Lambda With the deployment package ready, it’s time to deploy your Laravel project to AWS Lambda. Execute the following command:

Step 5: Access Your Serverless Laravel Application After a successful deployment, Serverless will provide you with an API Gateway URL that maps to your Lambda function. You can access your serverless Laravel application by visiting this URL in your web browser.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully integrated Bref.sh into your Laravel project, making it serverless-ready on AWS Lambda. Serverless PHP opens up new possibilities for scalable and cost-effective solutions. Now you can focus on building powerful applications without worrying about server management.


Best Practices for Scaling Laravel

Scaling Laravel applications involves more than just adopting specific approaches or technologies. It also requires implementing best practices that optimize performance, ensure efficient resource utilization, and maintain the scalability of your application. Here are some key best practices to consider:

  • Caching: Utilize Laravel’s caching mechanisms to reduce the load on your application and improve response times. Leverage caching solutions like Redis or Memcached to store frequently accessed data, query results, or rendered views.
  • Database Optimization: Optimize database performance by using proper indexing, minimizing database queries, and leveraging tools like Laravel’s query builder to write efficient database queries. Consider database replication or sharding techniques to distribute the database workload.
  • Code Profiling: Use profiling tools and techniques to identify performance bottlenecks in your code. Profile your application to pinpoint areas that can be optimized or optimized.
  • Resource Monitoring: Implement monitoring solutions to gain insights into your application’s performance, resource usage, and potential issues. Utilize tools like Laravel Horizon, New Relic, or custom monitoring setups to track important metrics and ensure the health of your application.
  • Horizontal and Vertical Scaling: Depending on your application’s requirements, consider both horizontal scaling (adding more servers or instances) and vertical scaling (increasing the resources of existing servers or instances) to handle increased traffic and workload effectively.




Scaling Laravel applications is a crucial step in ensuring their performance, availability, and user experience as they encounter increased traffic and workload. In this blog post, we explored different approaches to scaling Laravel, including traditional server scaling and serverless architecture with Bref.sh.

Traditional server scaling provides control and flexibility but comes with challenges such as server management and complexity. On the other hand, serverless architecture with Bref.sh offers automatic scaling, cost optimization, and reduced infrastructure management.

To successfully scale Laravel applications, it’s essential to follow best practices such as caching, database optimization, code profiling, and resource monitoring. These practices optimize performance, ensure efficient resource utilization, and maintain the scalability of your application.

As you embark on scaling your Laravel applications, consider the specific requirements and constraints of your project. Experiment with different approaches, measure performance, and continuously monitor and optimize your application for optimal scalability.

Scaling Laravel applications is an ongoing process, and as your user base and workload grow, adapting your scaling strategies will be necessary. Stay proactive, iterate on your approaches, and continue to explore new technologies and techniques to keep your Laravel applications scalable and responsive.

We hope this blog post has provided you with valuable insights and guidance on scaling Laravel applications effectively. Happy scaling!