Multiple read-only database slaves in Laravel

January 14, 2015

See an updated post on multiple read-slaves here.

Having recently moved one of our applications to AWS I've discovered how easy it is to create read-only database replicas if you're using the RDS service. RDS makes it really easy to provision an optimised database server for your application and supports a range of engines out of the box, including MySQL, Postgres and a new highly-optimised MySQL fork called Aurora.

Because it's now a cinch to create a database slave I was excited to see how easy it is to have Laravel support read connections. However, what struck me here is that it only supports one write connection and one read connection - and depending on your application and how it scales this may or may not be enough. I was keen for the potential to have multiple read-only replicas.

Looking at the issue that requests read/write connections in Laravel you can see the discussion around handling multiple database connections and that simply using the array_rand() function is the easiest solution for handing off queries to different databases.

// Before returning the database configuration, place read hosts into an array.
$readHosts = ['', ''];


'mysql' => array(
    'read' => array(
        // Return a random host
        'host' => $readHosts[array_rand($readHosts)],
    'write' => array(
        'host' => ''
    'driver'    => 'mysql',
    'database'  => 'database',
    'username'  => 'root',
    'password'  => '',
    'charset'   => 'utf8',
    'collation' => 'utf8_unicode_ci',
    'prefix'    => '',

A blog about Laravel & Rails,
written by Dwight Watson.