About two years ago i published "Cloudscapes — comparing PHP cloud hosting platforms". I think it's a good time to revisit the scene.
Note: This is a totally subjective insider view. We are a PHP cloud hosting provider ourselves, that's why fortrabbit is not included as a third-person singular in this list. The boundaries are blurred. There is not really a PHP cloud hosting category, i have just included everything that looked interesting to me as a developer / startup guy.
Heroku invented the PaaS category, so it's natural to name them first. Very recently they finally catched up and made a big step forward being a true PHP PaaS with native Composer support and HHVM integration. To make PHP really fly, they hired David Zuelke. I think the big picture here is: Laravel is to PHP now, what Ruby was to Rails a few years ago. Heroku proofed to be past, present and future of PaaS.
AppFog made a lot of waves in the PHP community back then, then they transformed to AppFog, then they got bought by CenturyLink, then they ditched their free plans. Maybe i am wrong, but it looks a bit silent over there, maybe they are doing something else, maybe they just keep calm and do their business?
Pagodabox is working on a new dashboard interface for quite a while now. I had the chance to sneak-peak it — looks promising and really really stylish.
dotCloud made a 540deg turn. As far as is read the story: Like AppFog (and us in the future), they ditched the freemium plan. Alongside they open-sourced a core component of their platform: Docker (LXC made easy). Docker went boom. DotCloud pivoted and became Docker.com offering B2B solutions services around Docker. Alongside a new category was born: Docker as a Service with commercial services like: Flynn, Stackdock, Deis, Orchard, Tutum, Appsdeck … A really interesting story about combining open source and business.
After Engine Yard acquired Orchestra it took a while until they finally integrated everything to one seamless service. The transition is over and everything looks very smooth, on an enterprise level.
New kids on the block
Viaduct will launch in June.
Laravel Forge was the big announcement Taylor Otwell (creator of the Laravel framework) made very recently on Laracon NYC. I would describe it like this: Actually not a real hosting service — more like a meta-service (SaaS) bringing together your development environment and your hosting services. Naturally it's coupled (but not limited?) to the Laravel framework. PuPHPet or ServerPilot are similar services.
Bowery is another new interesting service, aiming to simplify setup of development environments.
All the others
GetPantheon, CloudProvider, JiffyBox, GetUp cloud, Acquia, Google App Engine, OpenShift, AWS, Windows Azure, Rackspace, CloudSigma, ElasticDot, Fused, CityCloud, Little Orange and of course Digital Ocean, Linode, WebFaction, Media Temple, NearlyFreeSpeach and even GoDaddy, Hetzner and that's still just the tip of the iceberg, because that is just the english speaking side of the world and these are only the offers for developers. There are also services targeting the needs of consumers without HTML-skills, designers or enterprises (top-down approach).
You — as a developer — have more choice than ever now, cool. We — as an "old service" — are of course scared as fuck by the new competition from all sides. But hey, let's embrace it. New entries in our market segment are proofing that we are on the right track. We have a cool service and we got cool stuff in the pipeline.