Traditional hosting is not what modern website builders and owners need. People end up with different kinds of hosts — shared, dedicated, managed — for differently sized projects, and none of them are very flexible. Even with virtual servers available “on demand” from EC2, there’s still a big gap to having a scalable website.
That’s what makes the Pantheon platform’s elastic hosting different. It fits all sized projects, and every single one is set up for internet scale and blazing performance from the start. It also allows you to run as many instances of a site as needed for development, and includes all the tools you need to deliver new features faster.
Learn more about the fastest hosting platform on the planet: The Pantheon Web Hosting Platform.
How We Do it Better
Unlike traditional hosting, Pantheon delivers truly elastic hosting through automation in software. Our massive, multi-tenant platform uniquely leverages containers on top of a dedicated infrastructure.
On Pantheon, scaling is easy and immediate. When your website needs to scale, the platform provisions new containers for you in seconds. We run over a million containers in production and serve 6 billion pageviews a month. No matter how large your site is, it’s a drop in the bucket for our infrastructure.
Select items on the diagram to see how it works.
The Edge is the exterior of Pantheon—the part that directly touches the public internet. The Edge has a built-in, ultra-fast Varnish cache automatically enabled for every site. It improves page load times and helps sites cruise through viral traffic spikes without breaking a sweat. The Edge also knows how to intelligently route and load-balance requests across the entire Runtime Matrix.
Our Runtime Matrix is where the action happens: it executes the code for your website. Over a million Linux containers running PHP and NGINX are distributed across a big grid of powerful dedicated machines. These containers are provisioned and managed by our software without any need for manual configuration. It can provision you more containers at the click of a button, whether that’s to scale up the production environment or spin up an environment for a new team member.
Inside a Container
The essence of a runtime container is a highly tuned PHP-FPM worker and its connections to the outside world. Incoming requests come via NGINX, which handles requests for static assets and passes dynamic requests to PHP. Runtime containers are "share nothing", but they have connections to services like Valhalla and New Relic. Developers access a container directly via a special encrypted SSH interface, giving access to CLI tools like rsync and SFTP.
Every website needs a database, and we fulfill this need with a horizontally scalable database grid—running the latest MariaDB—that’s similar to the Runtime Matrix in design. The database layer provides redundancy and scalability by supporting a robust replication topology, managed automatically.
Pantheon bundles Redis as a core service on the platform. Redis is a second-generation, in-memory, key-value store with support for structured data. It can accelerate your site’s internal operations through application object caching. This can significantly accelerate dynamic page generation and the logged-in user experience.
Apache Solr–Search Index
Pantheon Search is built into our platform using Apache Solr and delivered as a service. We manage the Solr servers, the 100% solid state drives that store all indexes, and we optimize all aspects of the search stack so you can focus your time on optimizing results pages and filters. No administration is necessary.
Valhalla–Pantheon File System
Pantheon’s highly available containers are seamlessly integrated with Valhalla, our disaster-proof distributed file system. Valhalla keeps your files in sync across all the containers running your site.