For PHP Fog, the name says it all … for now

It’s difficult to find a more fitting corporate name than PHP Fog. It’s cloud computing Platform-as-a-Service with a laser focus on PHP applications. The fogginess comes from the innate nature of the cloud and, more specifically, PaaS, where code enters the mist on one side and running applications emerge on the other. It’s what PHP Fog does in the foggy middle that’s so unique and garnered it a place in our second-annual LaunchPad competition.

When I first covered PHP Fog in January 2011, I likened it to Heroku (a popular PaaS offering for Ruby applications), but PHP Fog might have actually surpassed its forerunner on the automation front since then. As with Heroku, PHP Fog users deploy their code to the platform using Git, at which point the automated process for scaling and other features kicks in. What PHP Fog does that’s fairly unique, though, is offer push-button deployment for specific PHP applications such as WordPress, Drupal, SugarCRM and Joomla.That capability is part a fast evolution for PHP Fog, which also already has endured its first public security breach and appears to have come out stronger in the end.

Founder and CEO Lucas Carlson has hinted on several occasions that what we see today is just the beginning for PHP Fog. If the evolutionary paths of PaaS startups past is any indication, those plans might include a catalog of add-on features and support for non-PHP applications. Although PHP is the foundation of many large web sites, including Facebook, so the company has many options for new features even within PHP.

PHP Fog launched in 2011 and is headquartered in Portland, Ore. It has raised $1.8 million from Madrona Venture Group, First Round Capital and Founders Co-op.