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Getting Started with PHP Laravel Web App

This quickstart launches a PHP Laravel Web App to AWS via Nullstone. It also configures a local development environment using Docker that works identical to production, but with debugging enabled.

This quickstart contains a walkthrough for generating a Laravel app. A working example is available to fork at nullstone-io/laravel-quickstart.


This quickstart is based off the official Your First Laravel Project guide

Create Laravel app

Generate app

In this example, we are going to create a Laravel web app in the current directory. In your repository root, run this command.

composer create-project laravel/laravel .

This will create the following files and directories:

├── .env
├── .env.example
├── .gitattributes
├── .styleci.yml
├── app
├── artisan
├── bootstrap
├── composer.json
├── composer.lock
├── config
├── database
├── lang
├── package.json
├── phpunit.xml
├── public
├── resources
├── routes
├── storage
├── tests
├── vendor
└── webpack.mix.js

Configure docker locally


Nullstone provides a docker image nullstone/laravel:local that is configured for local development. The source for the docker image is on GitHub at nullstone-io/docker-laravel.

Now, create a docker-compose.yml to run locally using Docker with an attached postgres Docker container.

version: "3.8"

      image: nullstone/laravel:local
         - .:/app
         - vendor:/app/vendor
         - "9000:9000"
         - NULLSTONE_ENV=local
         - APP_KEY=${APP_KEY}
         - POSTGRES_URL=postgres://acme:acme@db:5432/acme
         - db

      image: postgres
         - "5432:5432"
         - POSTGRES_USER=acme
         - POSTGRES_PASSWORD=acme
         - POSTGRES_DB=acme

   vendor: {}

Let's start our app locally.

docker compose up

Visit http://localhost:9000.


Even though this is running in docker, debugging and hot-reloading is enabled similar to your local environment. When you make changes to code, there is no need to rebuild/restart your docker container.

Update dependencies

As you add dependencies to your application, ensure that there is an entry for the dependency in composer.json. Then, restart your docker container with docker compose up or docker compose restart. The local docker image will install dependencies on boot.

Prepare for Production

Before deploying your Laravel app to production, we need to dockerize the app. In this section, we will create a simple Dockerfile.

Create Dockerfile

# syntax=docker/dockerfile:1
FROM nullstone/laravel

# Copy code, install dependencies
COPY --chown=nobody:nobody . .
RUN composer install --optimize-autoloader --no-dev

Launch to Nullstone

Create app

When launching to Nullstone, we're going to create an app in the Nullstone UI and attach capabilities that automatically configure our app. Follow these steps in the Nullstone UI.

  1. Create an application.
    • Name: In this example, we're naming our app laravel-quickstart
    • Framework: laravel
    • App Type: Container
  2. From the Domains tab for the application, add a subdomain. (This will automatically attach a load balancer capability)
  3. From the Capabilities tab for the application, add a capability named APP_KEY for Laravel.
  4. From the Capabilities tab for the application, add a capability named Nginx Sidecar for Fargate Service.

Create postgresql datastore

  1. Create a datastore - RDS Postgres Cluster
  2. Visit your application created in the previous step.
  3. From the Datastores tab, add the datastore you just created.


Our application is ready to launch. Click "Launch" through the UI or issue up through the CLI.

nullstone up --wait --app=laravel-quickstart --env=dev


Once your application is provisioned, you may build and deploy your app.

You can name your image whatever you want, just remember this image name for the deploy step. In this example, we are using an image name of laravel-app.

docker build -t laravel-app .


Now, issue launch to push your docker image and deploy the service with a new version.

nullstone launch --source=laravel-app --app=laravel-quickstart --env=dev



When pushing your image, Nullstone performs auto-versioning if you are in a git-tracked directory. Nullstone selects the short commit SHA (a unique 8-character token) from the git repository to tag the docker image.

To use a manual version, issue launch with --version (this example uses 1.0.0).

nullstone launch --source=laravel-app --app=laravel-quickstart --env=dev --version=1.0.0

Version conflicts

Nullstone enforces version/image tag immutability for security reasons.

If you repeatedly push a new docker image without committing anything to git, you will receive an error message like this:

error pushing artifact: error pushing image: tag invalid: The image tag 'c3c7cd83' already exists in the 'periwinkle-louse-fkslv' repository and cannot be overwritten because the repository is immutable.

The easiest way to resolve this is to launch with an indexed version. The following uses the same commit sha, but with a -2 suffix to distinguish the image tag.

nullstone launch --source=laravel-app --app=laravel-quickstart --env=dev --version=c3c7cd83-2
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