Google Cloud Platform offers four hosting options for PHP developers. It's important to consider which environment is closest to your needs, but also keep in mind that many apps will need to take advantage of two or more of these hosting options.
App Engine is a great place to start. App Engine is a platform as a service for web apps and mobile backends. It can automatically scale your app in response to traffic. You don't have to provision or maintain servers. Alternatively, if you're interested in using virtual machines or containers directly you can read the tutorials on using Compute Engine or Google Kubernetes Engine.
App Engine has two environments: the standard environment and the flexible environment. Each environment has advantages. You can read about the general differences between the two environments in the App Engine documentation. For PHP developers, the key differences are:
|Standard environment||Flexible environment|
|Limited free tier.||No free tier.|
|PHP 5.5 only.||PHP 5.6, 7.0 & 7.1.|
|A subset of PHP extensions is available.||Runtime can be extended to install any PHP extension that works on Debian Linux.|
|No command-line access to instances.||Command-line access to instances using Cloud Shell and SSH.|
|Google-managed web server||Configurable NGINX web server.|
|No filesystem writes.||Writeable filesystem.|
|No ability to run deployment scripts.||Ability to run deployment scripts using
|Use Standard Environment||Use Flexible Environment|