Install Laravel 8

Laravel is the most PHPopular framework. Learn how to install and tune Laravel 8 on fortrabbit.

Get ready

Please make sure to have followed our get ready guide before starting here.

MIND: This the install guide for Laravel version 8. We have an Laravel install guide for a newer version (9). Check out that article as well, it includes more up-to-date information.

Quick start

This is the fastest way to start with a fresh installation. Please scroll below for migrating an existing Laravel. Execute the following in your terminal on your local machine:

# 1. Use Composer to create a local Laravel project named like your App
$ composer create-project laravel/laravel --prefer-dist {{app-name}}
# this installs Laravel with Composer locally and will take a while

# 2. Change into the folder
$ cd {{app-name}}

# 3. Initialize a local Git repo
$ git init

# 4. Add all files
$ git add -A

# 5. Commit files for the first time
$ git commit -m 'Initial'

# 6. Add fortrabbit as a remote
$ git remote add fortrabbit {{ssh-user}}@deploy.{{region}}{{app-name}}.git

# 7. Push changes to fortrabbit
$ git push -u fortrabbit main
# this installs Laravel with Composer on remote and take a while

# the next deployments will be much faster
# 8. Push from now on
$ git push

Got an error? Please see the access troubleshooting. Did it work? Cool, when this is done, you can visit your App URL in the browser to see the Laravel welcome screen:


Don't stop with a plain vanilla installation. Make it yours! Check out the following topics if you have an existing Laravel installation or if you would like to set up Laravel so that you can run it in a local development environment as well as in your fortrabbit App:

Setup for an existing code base

You can also push your existing Laravel installation to fortrabbit. If you are already using Git, you can add fortrabbit as an additional remote, as described above under point 6. When moving from another host to fortrabbit, please also read our migration guide.

MySQL configuration

If you have chosen Laravel in the Software Preset when creating your App, we will automatically populate the "right" environment variables for the MySQL connection. So you don't need to set anything! Just keep config/database.php as it is.

The all CAPITAL configs in the config/database.php file will be replaced by the contents of the environment variables. For your local development setup you can populate the .env file with your local database credentials. See our ENV var article as well.

MySQL configuration with App secrets

Beside using ENV vars to configure your MySQL connection, you can also use fortrabbit App secrets (see the article for more info). Here is an example for config/database.php:

// locally: use standard settings
$mysql = [
    'driver'    => 'mysql',
    'host'      => env('DB_HOST', 'localhost'),
    'database'  => env('DB_DATABASE', 'forge'),
    'username'  => env('DB_USERNAME', 'forge'),
    'password'  => env('DB_PASSWORD', ''),
    'charset'   => 'utf8',
    'collation' => 'utf8_unicode_ci',
    'prefix'    => '',

// on fortrabbit: construct credentials from App secrets
if (getenv('APP_SECRETS')) {
    $secrets = json_decode(file_get_contents(getenv('APP_SECRETS')), true);
    $mysql = [
        'driver'    => 'mysql',
        'host'      => $secrets['MYSQL']['HOST'],
        'port'      => $secrets['MYSQL']['PORT'],
        'database'  => $secrets['MYSQL']['DATABASE'],
        'username'  => $secrets['MYSQL']['USER'],
        'password'  => $secrets['MYSQL']['PASSWORD'],
        'charset'   => 'utf8',
        'collation' => 'utf8_unicode_ci',
        'prefix'    => '',

return [
    'default'     => env('DB_CONNECTION', 'mysql'),
    'connections' => [
        'mysql' => $mysql,
    'migrations'  => 'migrations',
    // possible other code …

This configuration contains environment detection, so the App can run on your local machine with your local database, as well as on fortrabbit. You can also use App secrets to store custom third party access credentials.

Emoji support

Laravel uses the utf8mb4 character set by default, which includes support for storing "emojis 🔥" in the database. You need to manually configure the default string length generated by migrations in order for MySQL to create indexes for them in your AppServiceProvider:

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Schema;

 * Bootstrap any application services.
 * @return void
public function boot()

Database import and export

There are various use cases for exporting and importing databases. Likely you want to:

  1. Export the database from your old webhosting
  2. Export your local database to import it to the fortrabbit database
  3. Export the remote database from fortrabbit to bring your local installation up-to-date

Read on in the MySQL article on how to do that and other tasks.

Working with artisan migrate

If you are using the Universal Stack, you can log in to SSH and execute artisan on the App (note that you'll need to call artisan via PHP: more on that here):

# login and execute
$ ssh {{ssh-user}}@deploy.{{region}}
$ php artisan migrate --force

If you are using the Universal or the Professional Stack, you can execute remote commands via SSH. For example:

# remote execution
$ ssh {{ssh-user}}@deploy.{{region}} 'php artisan migrate --force'

Note: If APP_ENV is set to production - which is the default - the --force flag for migrate commands will override the confirmation prompt.

You can also add this command to your composer.json to have it run automatically every time you push changes.

"scripts": {  
    "post-install-cmd": [
        "php artisan migrate --no-interaction --force",

With that in place, any time you deploy your code, database changes will be applied immediately. If no database changes are required, nothing happens, so it is safe to run all the time. Just make sure to test your upgrades and migrations locally first.


Logging for Universal Apps

You can access your logs via SSH or SFTP. Laravel, per default, stores it's log files in storage/logs. You can download them via SFTP from that folder. If you need to "tail" your logs live, you can:

# login via SSH
$ ssh {{ssh-user}}@deploy.{{region}}

# tail the logs
$ tail -f storage/logs/laravel.log

Logging for Professional Apps

By default Laravel writes all logs to storage/logs/. Since you don't have direct file access, you need to configure Laravel to write to the PHP error_log method instead.

Laravel's logging.php config allows you to define various log channels. Make sure to add the errorlog channel to the stack or simply set the default channel via ENV var:


You can now use our regular log access to view the stream.

Flare (no business association) is an error tracker for Laravel, which provides a searchable log archive and SMS, Email & Slack notifications.

User sessions

There are various session drivers available in Laravel: see a full list here. Read further to see which ones are most suitable for your App. Whichever driver you end up using, you will need to specify it in the environment variables. Add a new ENV var SESSION_DRIVER in the Dashboard and give it the appropriate value.

Go to ENV vars for the App: {{app-name}}

User sessions for Universal Apps

Since Universal Apps have persistent storage, you are able to use the default file driver for sessions. You can of course also use the other options specified in the Laravel session docs, though please note that we do not support Redis or Memcached out of the box. If you would like to use Redis, please see our section on Redis below. If you would like to use Memcached, consider switching to a Professional App.

To use the database driver, follow these steps:

# Create a migration for the session table  - locally
$ php artisan session:table

# Apply the migration - locally
$ php artisan migrate

# Add, commit and push the migration file
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "session migration"
$ git push

# Run the migration on the App via SSH remote execution
$ ssh {{ssh-user}}@deploy.{{region}} php artisan migrate --force

User sessions for Professional Apps

If you are on the Professional Stack, since you might have multiple Nodes and no persistent shared storage, you can not rely on the default Laravel file session driver. One solution to this issue is to use a cache-based store like Redis or Memcached. See our instructions below for setting up the fortrabbit Memcache component. Don't forget to specify memcached as the SESSION_DRIVER environment variable.

Note that, since Memcache is an in-memory store which does not persist its data over server reboots, for long-lived sessions the database driver should be preferred (see the previous section for details).


Queueing for Universal Apps

The Universal Stack does not support long running processes like php artisan queue:work. Please see below for details on how to implement them in the Professional Stack.

Queueing for Professional Apps

Laravel supports multiple queue drivers. One which can be used with fortrabbit out of the box is database, which simply uses your database connection as a queue:

# Create a migration for the jobs table locally
php artisan queue:table 

# Apply the migration locally
$ php artisan migrate

# Add, commit and push the migration file
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "queue migration"
$ git push

# Run the migration on the App via SSH remote execution
$ ssh {{ssh-user}}@deploy.{{region}} php artisan migrate --force

That's great for small use-cases and tinkering, but if your App handles very many queue messages you should consider Redis.

Once you've decided the queue you want to use, just open config/queue.php and set default to either redis, database, sqs - or even better: set the QUEUE_CONNECTION environment variable accordingly in the Dashboard.

To run php artisan queue:work in the background, spin up a new Worker and define the artisan command as a Nonstop Job.

NB: Laravel offers two commands to process queues: queue:work and queue:listen. We recommend using queue:work, and not using queue:listen. This is because the queue:listen command boots the Laravel framework for each iteration, whereas queue:work boots the framework once and runs as a daemon. Using queue:work offers high memory and performance gains in comparison with queue:listen.

Setting up Object Storage (Professional Stack)

fortrabbit Professional Apps have an ephemeral storage. If you require persistent storage for user uploads or any other runtime data your App creates (including assets like CSS and JS), you can use our Object Storage Component. Once you have booked the Component in the Dashboard the credentials will become available via the App secrets. Using our object-storage driver reduces the configuration effort to a minimum:

composer require fortrabbit/laravel-object-storage

To make your App access the Object Storage, open up config/filesystems.php and modify it as follows:

return [
    'default' => env('FILESYSTEM_DRIVER', 'local'),
    'cloud'   => env('FILESYSTEM_CLOUD', 's3'),
    'disks'   => [
            's3' => [
                'driver' => 'object-storage'
                // no further settings required
            // other disk …

If you want to use the Object Storage with your fortrabbit App and local storage with your local development setup then replace the "default" value in filesystems.php as well. Set FILESYSTEM_DRIVER in your local .env file to the value local and the environment variable in the Dashboard to the value s3. Also see the README of the repo.

Using Laravel Mix

Laravel Mix compiles JS and CSS to really small and handy files using webpack (also see the Laravel docs on this). You can run Mix locally, but not on fortrabbit as Node.js currently is not available on our services. So you need to run the build process for production locally first.

# Install node modules (locally)
npm install

# Build assets using Laravel Mix (locally)
npm run prod

This will compile your assets in the locations specified in your webpack.mix.js file, which by default is public/js and public/css. To keep your Git repo clean these, along with public/mix-manifest.json, should be added to your .gitignore file and not committed to the repo.

Since this will mean your assets won't be deployed with Git, we need to use other tools for deploying the assets.

Deploying assets with Universal Apps

We recommend using rsync. The one-liner below works with the most common scenarios, but feel free to adjust it to your needs if your setup differs:

# Rsync command to sync the assets in your /public folder 
rsync -av --include='/js/***' --include='/css/***' --include='mix-manifest.json' --exclude='*'  ./public/ {{app-name}}@deploy.{{region}}

For your convenience you can define rsync command npm run deploy-assets. Example of package.json:

  "scripts": {
    "deploy-assets": "rsync -av ...",

Deploying assets with Professional Apps

You can export your minified assets to the Object Storage by extending Laravel Mix with the webpack-s3-plugin. This is how it works: To start, in your terminal, enter:

# Get your Object Storage credentials
$ ssh {{app-name}}@deploy.{{region}} secrets OBJECT_STORAGE

Then put the values which this command outputs in your .env file and prefix the keys with OBJECT_STORAGE_. In your webpack.mix.js you load the plugin and configure it with the env vars:

const mix = require('laravel-mix');
const S3Plugin = require('webpack-s3-plugin');

mix.js('resources/js/app.js', 'public/js')
    .sass('resources/sass/app.scss', 'public/css');

// S3Plugin config
if (process.env.npm_config_env === 'production') {
        plugins: [
            new S3Plugin({
                // Only upload css and js
                include: /.*\.(css|js)/,
                s3Options: {
                    accessKeyId: process.env.OBJECT_STORAGE_KEY,
                    secretAccessKey: process.env.OBJECT_STORAGE_SECRET,
                    endpoint: process.env.OBJECT_STORAGE_SERVER,
                    region: process.env.OBJECT_STORAGE_REGION,
                    signatureVersion: 'v2'
                s3UploadOptions: {
                    Bucket: process.env.OBJECT_STORAGE_BUCKET
                // the source dir
                directory: 'public'

Back in your terminal:

# Install package via NPM
$ npm install webpack-s3-plugin --save

# Run the publish task
$ npm run production --env=production

Bear in mind that you need to tell your source code to look for the minified CSS & JS files on the offshore Object Storage.

Another option might be to combine fortrabbit with GitHub Actions so you can have builds running over at GitHub and deploy everything along with artefacts afterwards. See our blog post.

Working with Redis

Redis can be used in Laravel as a cache or a queue or both. fortrabbit does not offer a Redis service of its own. To use Redis, you will need to book an externally-hosted Redis service. We have an article for Redis Labs.

  1. On the fortrabbit side, turn on the Redis extension in the Dashboard under App > Settings > PHP.
  2. Then setup an Account with a Redis provider.
  3. Then configure the redis database connection in config/database.php:
// locally: use standards
$redis = [
    'host'     => env('REDIS_HOST', 'localhost'),
    'password' => env('REDIS_PASSWORD', null),
    'port'     => env('REDIS_PORT', 6379),
    'database' => 0,

// on fortrabbit: construct credentials from App secrets
if (getenv('APP_SECRETS')) {
    $secrets = json_decode(file_get_contents(getenv('APP_SECRETS')), true);
    $redis = [
        'host'     => $secrets['CUSTOM']['REDIS_HOST'],
        'port'     => $secrets['CUSTOM']['REDIS_PORT'],
        'password' => $secrets['CUSTOM']['REDIS_PASSWORD']
        'persistent' => 1

return [
    // other code …
    'redis' => [
        'cluster' => false,
        'default' => $redis
    // other code …

If you plan on using Redis as a cache, then open config/cache.php and set the CACHE_DRIVER environment variable to redis in the Dashboard).

Setting up Memcache (Professional Stack)

Memcache is a data store that can be used for caching and session storage. You can enable the Memcache component in the Dashboard. Then you can use the App Secrets to get your credentials. Modify the memcached connection in your config/cache.php like so:

// locally: use standard settings
$servers = [[
    'host' => env('MEMCACHED_HOST', ''),
    'port' => env('MEMCACHED_PORT', 11211),
    'weight' => 100,

// on fortrabbit: construct credentials from App secrets
if (getenv('APP_SECRETS')) {
    $secrets = json_decode(file_get_contents(getenv('APP_SECRETS')), true);
    $servers = [[
        'host' => $secrets['MEMCACHE']['HOST1'],
        'port' => $secrets['MEMCACHE']['PORT1'],
        'weight' => 100,
    if ($secrets['MEMCACHE']['COUNT'] > 1) {
        $servers []= [
            'host' => $secrets['MEMCACHE']['HOST2'],
            'port' => $secrets['MEMCACHE']['PORT2'],
            'weight' => 100,

if (extension_loaded('memcached')) {
    $timeout_ms = 50;
    $options = [
      // Assure that dead servers are properly removed and ...
      \Memcached::OPT_REMOVE_FAILED_SERVERS => true,

      // ... retried after a short while (here: 2 seconds)
      \Memcached::OPT_RETRY_TIMEOUT         => 2,

      // KETAMA must be enabled so that replication can be used
      \Memcached::OPT_LIBKETAMA_COMPATIBLE  => true,

      // Replicate the data, write it to both memcached servers   
      \Memcached::OPT_NUMBER_OF_REPLICAS    => 1,

      // Those values assure that a dead (due to increased latency or
      // really unresponsive) memcached server is dropped fast
      \Memcached::OPT_POLL_TIMEOUT          => $timeout_ms,        // milliseconds
      \Memcached::OPT_SEND_TIMEOUT          => $timeout_ms * 1000, // microseconds
      \Memcached::OPT_RECV_TIMEOUT          => $timeout_ms * 1000, // microseconds
      \Memcached::OPT_CONNECT_TIMEOUT       => $timeout_ms,        // milliseconds

      // Further performance tuning
      \Memcached::OPT_NO_BLOCK              => true,

return [
    // other code …
    'stores' => [
        // other code …
        'memcached' => [
            'driver'        => 'memcached',
            'persistent_id' => env('MEMCACHED_PERSISTENT_ID'),
            'options'       => $options ?? [],
            'servers'       => $servers,
        // other code …
    // other code …

In addition, set the CACHE_DRIVER environment variable so that you can use memcached in your production App on fortrabbit. If you don't have memcached on your local machine, set the driver to file or database via .env.


The Laravel scheduler is not supported with the Universal Stack by design. The minimum time frame for standard cron jobs is 10 minutes here, but the Laravel scheduler requires a 1 minute schedule. Use the Professional Stack in combination with the Workers Component. That way your cron jobs will be outsourced to background processes.

Using artisan down (Professional Stack)

artisan down generates the file storage/framework/down, which is then checked from your App's HTTP kernel with the CheckForMaintenanceMode middleware. Modifying files via SSH remote execution only affects the deployment Node, not your live App. Any file changes via SSH remote exec do not affect your App.

There are at least two options to do this:

  1. Add artisan down as a post-install-cmd script in composer.json, then git push (remove the command and push again to bring it back online)
  2. Use a custom middleware and command which uses another source than a file, like memcache or database

Using Laravel Envoy

Easy. Here is an Envoy.blade.php example:

@servers(['fr' => '{{ssh-user}}@deploy.{{region}}'])

@task('ls', ['on' => 'fr'])
    ls -lha

@task('migrate', ['on' => 'fr'])
    php artisan migrate

Then execute locally:

$ envoy run ls
$ envoy run migrate

Sending mail

You can not use sendmail on fortrabbit but Laravel provides an API over the popular SwiftMailer library. The mail configuration file is app/config/mail.php, and contains options allowing you to change your SMTP host, port, and credentials, as well as set a global form address for all messages delivered by the library.

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