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March 16, 2023

PHP Cloud Hosting, Containerization, and Orchestration Trends to Watch

PHP Development

The ongoing move to PHP cloud hosting is inextricably linked to containerization and orchestration. The central reason for that connection? Cost. Deploying containerized and efficiently orchestrated applications on the cloud almost always offer significant cost savings over the same system using a virtual machine-based approach. But what are the technologies PHP teams are using as they containerize, orchestrate, and deploy their applications on the cloud, and what are the top cloud hosting providers being used by PHP teams today? 

In this blog, we dive in on the top PHP cloud hosting providers being used today, the percentage of teams undergoing containerization and orchestration efforts, and the top technologies being used as the foundation of these efforts.

Editor's Note: The 2024 PHP Landscape Report is now available. Be sure to reference it for the latest data on Hosting, Container, and Orchestration trends for PHP teams.

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PHP cloud hosting, and cloud-hybrid deployment strategies continue to grow in the PHP space. In our 2023 PHP Landscape Report, we asked teams to share where they are deploying their applications (allowing for multiple selections to account for multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployment). Our report found the top three deployment options were AWS (46%), on-premises (36.8%), and Google Cloud Platform (19.5%). Among respondents who selected “Other”, VPS services were the most commonly provided response. Overall, we found most respondents were using at least one cloud provider.

graph showing top php cloud hosting providers
Source: 2023 PHP Landscape Report

We also noted a year-on-year trend of organizations moving from self-hosted/on-premise solutions to cloud deployment. Across the board, each cloud platform we have tracked has shown increases this year.

image showing year over year change for php cloud hosting providers
Source: 2023 PHP Landscape Report


Some of this may be attributed to the costs of self-hosting, where things like managing backups, mitigating disaster recovery, and providing geographic distribution of applications can stretch an organizations capabilities. In other cases, the various cloud platforms provide deployment and management ease-of-use that can have outsized return on investment.

Top PHP Cloud Hosting Providers of 2023

  1. AWS
  2. Google Cloud Platform
  3. Digital Ocean
  4. Microsoft Azure

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2023 PHP Landscape Report

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Containerized deployments are quickly becoming the norm for PHP applications. Since containers provide repeatable, idempotent deployment, they are a perfect solution particularly when an application requires autoscaling. Other benefits include the ability to develop applications in conditions closely mimicking production, the ability to model all infrastructure integrations, and the ability to lock down networking between services in ways that are difficult to accomplish in traditional hosted environments.

Our 2023 PHP Landscape Report found over 57.5% of respondents currently using containerization technologies, with an additional 19.8% planning on using container technologies within the next year. Only 22.7% noted they were not using container technologies, and had no plans to do so within the next year.

chart showing php container adoption status
Source: 2023 PHP Landscape Report


Compared to our 2022 report, there were fewer respondents noting plans to use container technologies within the next 12 months, with nearly 20% in 2023 compared to 47% in 2022. However, in 2023 we noted significantly more teams using container technologies, with over 57% in 2023 vs. 30% in 2022. 

Looking at container adoption by organization size, we found 65% of companies with over 100 employees currently using container technologies. Companies with under 100 people were over 10 points lower at 53.3%.

In 2022, we observed 47% of respondents indicating they would be adopting containers in the coming year, and 30% already using them. In 2023, we observed 20% indicating they would adopt in the coming year, and 57% already using them. While we understand that the respondents are not the same set, we find it interesting that each of these numbers changed by 27% year on year; the takeaway is that organizations are creating and being successful with plans to containerize their PHP applications.

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Top PHP Container Technologies

Later in the report, we asked teams to share the container technologies they use with their PHP applications. Our survey found Docker as the most popular container technology with over 68.3% of responses, followed by Podman (10.2%), ContainerD (9.4%), CRI-0 (8.5%) and Other at 3.6%.

chart showing top PHP containerization technologies
Source: 2023 PHP Landscape Report


While organizations have a variety of container technologies to choose from (in large part due to the work of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and its partners), Docker is clearly the technology of choice when developing containerized applications for PHP.

Top PHP Container Technologies of 2023

  1. Docker
  2. Podman
  3. ContainerD
  4. CRI-O
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PHP orchestration is a valuable approach for teams who want to automate deployment and management of their container-based PHP applications. And, while there are use cases for not orchestrating container deployments, our report found a nearly 1:1 overlap with teams using containers and teams using orchestration technologies.

47.7% of teams reported using orchestration technologies, with an additional 17.2% planning on using them within the next 12 months. Only 35.1% noted no plans to use orchestration technologies.

chart showing php orchestration adoption status
Source: 2023 PHP Landscape Report


When looking at these results by company size, we found that companies with over 100 employees were much more likely than companies with under 100 employees to be using orchestration technologies, with 58.6% vs 41.7% respectively.

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Top PHP Orchestration Technologies

Our 2023 PHP Landscape Report found some clear favorites among PHP orchestration technologies. Kubernetes was the top orchestration technology with 44.8% of responses, followed by Ansible (31.9%), Terraform (27.85%), AWS Cloud Formation (25.3%), and Helm (19.4%).

chart showing top php orchestration technologies
Source: 2023 PHP Landscape Report


While popular cloud platforms such as AWS provide platform-specific orchestration technologies, consumers are clearly gravitating to open source solutions such as Kubernetes and Terraform, often combining them with other automation and provisioning tools such as Ansible and Puppet.

With the growing number of containerized applications, it’s no small wonder that Kubernetes was a favorite amongst respondents, and Ansible, at number two, is often used in conjunction with Kubernetes in tools such as kubespray. Standardizing on open source solutions allows organizations to have hybrid and multi-cloud strategies that avoid vendor lock-in, and allow selecting platforms based on the value they provide for your PHP applications.

Top 5 PHP Orchestration Technologies of 2023

  1. Kubernetes
  2. Ansible
  3. Terraform
  4. AWS Cloud Formation
  5. Helm
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Final Thoughts

As teams containerize their applications or build new containerized applications, they will increasingly deploy those applications via leading PHP cloud hosting providers detailed above. And, as we’ve seen in our 2023 report, open source container and container orchestration options like Docker and Kubernetes will likely remain top choices for teams pursuing those endeavors.

The good news for teams containerizing and orchestrating their applications is that they don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are tried and true technologies to help, and a healthy ecosystem of PHP container images and orchestration templates that can make these processes more efficient.

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ZendPHP is container and cloud ready PHP, with added observability and orchestration features that make it easy to monitor, debug, and orchestrate your PHP applications. Try it free today via the link below.

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