How Idealstack helps you implement

Modern best-practices for hosting apps on AWS

Idealstack deploys a

modern best-practice hosting cluster

based on AWS reference architectures for web hosting


  • Sites run on multiple servers spread across multiple Availability Zones (independent data centers) to minimise downtime due to hardware or network issues
  • Servers and sites are monitored and restarted if they are unhealthy
  • Configuration changes are rolled out without downtime
  • Autoscaling is used to scale the cluster up or down based on the load of the instances
  • Sites are run inside isolated Docker containers


Idealstack will help you implement a Well Architected system

What do we mean by modern best practices? 

AWS Well Architected


The phrase "best practice" is one of the most over-used and meaningless in IT.  But when we say it we mean something real : the design of Idealstack is inspired by the AWS Well Architected Framework which outlines how to design a best-practice modern IT system.  These principles are applied throughout IT, at some small organizations and most of the largest ones.

In many ways PHP web development has been left behind by these modern IT practices.  Often web hosting is designed to deliver minimum cost, as there are a huge number of people wanting to host a website for the smallest possible cost.  But for many businesses these days websites are far more important than this - the business cannot function properly without the website.  If this sounds like you or your clients, then you should pay attention to these principles and try to implement them in the hosting of your website. 

Read the full Well-Architected whitepaper >>

Pillars of the AWS Well Architected Framework

The AWS Well Architected Framework is based on five key pillars

  • Operation Excellence
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance Efficiency
  • Cost Optimization

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Operational Excellence

The ability to run and monitor systems to deliver business value and to continually improve supporting processes and procedures. 

Design Principles

There are six design principles for operational excellence in the cloud:

  • Perform operations as code
  • Annotate documentation
  • Make frequent, small, reversible changes
  • Refine operations procedures frequently
  • Anticipate failure
  • Learn from all operational failures
How does Idealstack help you implement this?
  • Idealstack uses AWS cloudformation to deploy sites and change your live stack.  The structure of your stack and all it's changes are viewable as Cloudformation JSON code
  • Idealstack includes strong version control, so you can see what was changed


The ability to protect information, systems, and assets while delivering business value through risk assessments and mitigation strategies.

Design Principles

There are six design principles for security in the cloud:

  • Implement a strong identity foundation
  • Enable traceability
  • Apply security at all layers
  • Automate security best practices
  • Protect data in transit and at rest
  • Prepare for security events
How does Idealstack help you implement this?
  • All actions within Idealstack are recorded in the version control framework to implement traceability
  • All layers of the stack implement access controls, encryption, security groups and other security measures
  • Sites are isolated from each other in linux containers
  • OS updates are applied automatically
  • Encryption-at-rest is standard


The ability of a system to recover from infrastructure or service disruptions, dynamically acquire computing resources to meet demand, and mitigate disruptions such as misconfigurations or transient network issues.

Design Principles

There are five design principles for reliability in the cloud:

  • Test recovery procedures
  • Automatically recover from failure
  • Scale horizontally to increase aggregate system availability
  • Stop guessing capacity
  • Manage change in automation
How does Idealstack help you implement this?
  • The load balancer checks the healthchecks on the instances and individual sites to make sure they are healthy and recreates them if not
  • Sites scale horizontally across multiple availability zones to ensure reliability
  • Autoscaling means you no longer have to guess capacity

Performance Efficiency

The ability to use computing resources efficiently to meet system requirements and to maintain that efficiency as demand changes and technologies evolve. 

Design Principles

There are five design principles for performance efficiency in the cloud:

  • Democratize advanced technologies
  • Go global in minutes
  • Use serverless architectures
  • Experiment more often
  • Mechanical sympathy
How does Idealstack help you implement this?
  • Creating a new stack or changing site settings in Idealstack is a matter of a few clicks
  • Deploy in any supported region in minutes
  • Create test stacks and only pay for the time you use them

Cost Optimization

The ability to avoid or eliminate unneeded cost or suboptimal resources. 

Design Principles

There are five design principles for cost optimization in the cloud:

  • Adopt a consumption model
  • Measure overall efficiency
  • Stop spending money on data center operations
  • Analyze and attribute expenditure
  • Use managed services to reduce cost of ownership
How does Idealstack help you implement this?
  • Only pay for what you use
  • Utilise reserved instances to reduce costs
  • Idealstack manages your stack, operating system updates and other mundane tasks to reduce your cost of ownership

Read how to optimize AWS costs