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Installation

Meet Laravel

Laravel is a web application framework with expressive, elegant syntax. A web framework provides a structure and starting point for creating your application, allowing you to focus on creating something amazing while we sweat the details.

Laravel strives to provide an amazing developer experience while providing powerful features such as thorough dependency injection, an expressive database abstraction layer, queues and scheduled jobs, unit and integration testing, and more.

Whether you are new to PHP web frameworks or have years of experience, Laravel is a framework that can grow with you. We'll help you take your first steps as a web developer or give you a boost as you take your expertise to the next level. We can't wait to see what you build.

[!NOTE]
New to Laravel? Check out the Laravel Bootcamp for a hands-on tour of the framework while we walk you through building your first Laravel application.

Why Laravel?

There are a variety of tools and frameworks available to you when building a web application. However, we believe Laravel is the best choice for building modern, full-stack web applications.

A Progressive Framework

We like to call Laravel a "progressive" framework. By that, we mean that Laravel grows with you. If you're just taking your first steps into web development, Laravel's vast library of documentation, guides, and video tutorials will help you learn the ropes without becoming overwhelmed.

If you're a senior developer, Laravel gives you robust tools for dependency injection, unit testing, queues, real-time events, and more. Laravel is fine-tuned for building professional web applications and ready to handle enterprise work loads.

A Scalable Framework

Laravel is incredibly scalable. Thanks to the scaling-friendly nature of PHP and Laravel's built-in support for fast, distributed cache systems like Redis, horizontal scaling with Laravel is a breeze. In fact, Laravel applications have been easily scaled to handle hundreds of millions of requests per month.

Need extreme scaling? Platforms like Laravel Vapor allow you to run your Laravel application at nearly limitless scale on AWS's latest serverless technology.

A Community Framework

Laravel combines the best packages in the PHP ecosystem to offer the most robust and developer friendly framework available. In addition, thousands of talented developers from around the world have contributed to the framework. Who knows, maybe you'll even become a Laravel contributor.

Creating a Laravel Project

Before creating your first Laravel project, make sure that your local machine has PHP and Composer installed. If you are developing on macOS or Windows, PHP, Composer, Node and NPM can be installed in minutes via Laravel Herd.

After you have installed PHP and Composer, you may create a new Laravel project via Composer's create-project command:

composer create-project laravel/laravel example-app

Or, you may create new Laravel projects by globally installing the Laravel installer via Composer:

composer global require laravel/installer
 
laravel new example-app

Once the project has been created, start Laravel's local development server using Laravel Artisan's serve command:

cd example-app
 
php artisan serve

Once you have started the Artisan development server, your application will be accessible in your web browser at http://localhost:8000. Next, you're ready to start taking your next steps into the Laravel ecosystem. Of course, you may also want to configure a database.

[!NOTE] If you would like a head start when developing your Laravel application, consider using one of our starter kits. Laravel's starter kits provide backend and frontend authentication scaffolding for your new Laravel application.

Initial Configuration

All of the configuration files for the Laravel framework are stored in the config directory. Each option is documented, so feel free to look through the files and get familiar with the options available to you.

Laravel needs almost no additional configuration out of the box. You are free to get started developing! However, you may wish to review the config/app.php file and its documentation. It contains several options such as timezone and locale that you may wish to change according to your application.

Environment Based Configuration

Since many of Laravel's configuration option values may vary depending on whether your application is running on your local machine or on a production web server, many important configuration values are defined using the .env file that exists at the root of your application.

Your .env file should not be committed to your application's source control, since each developer / server using your application could require a different environment configuration. Furthermore, this would be a security risk in the event an intruder gains access to your source control repository, since any sensitive credentials would be exposed.

[!NOTE] For more information about the .env file and environment based configuration, check out the full configuration documentation.

Databases and Migrations

Now that you have created your Laravel application, you probably want to store some data in a database. By default, your application's .env configuration file specifies that Laravel will be interacting with a SQLite database.

During the creation of the project, Laravel created a database/database.sqlite file for you, and ran the necessary migrations to create the application's database tables.

If you prefer to use another database driver such as MySQL or PostgreSQL, you can update your .env configuration file to use the appropriate database. For example, if you wish to use MySQL, update your .env configuration file's DB_* variables like so:

DB_CONNECTION=mysql
DB_HOST=127.0.0.1
DB_PORT=3306
DB_DATABASE=laravel
DB_USERNAME=root
DB_PASSWORD=

If you choose to use a database other than SQLite, you will need to create the database and run your application's database migrations:

php artisan migrate

[!NOTE] If you are developing on macOS or Windows and need to install MySQL, PostgreSQL, or Redis locally, consider using Herd Pro.

Directory Configuration

Laravel should always be served out of the root of the "web directory" configured for your web server. You should not attempt to serve a Laravel application out of a subdirectory of the "web directory". Attempting to do so could expose sensitive files present within your application.

Local Installation Using Herd

Laravel Herd is a blazing fast, native Laravel and PHP development environment for macOS and Windows. Herd includes everything you need to get started with Laravel development, including PHP and Nginx.

Once you install Herd, you're ready to start developing with Laravel. Herd includes command line tools for php, composer, laravel, expose, node, npm, and nvm.

[!NOTE] Herd Pro augments Herd with additional powerful features, such as the ability to create and manage local MySQL, Postgres, and Redis databases, as well as local mail viewing and log monitoring.

Herd on macOS

If you develop on macOS, you can download the Herd installer from the Herd website. The installer automatically downloads the latest version of PHP and configures your Mac to always run Nginx in the background.

Herd for macOS uses dnsmasq to support "parked" directories. Any Laravel application in a parked directory will automatically be served by Herd. By default, Herd creates a parked directory at ~/Herd and you can access any Laravel application in this directory on the .test domain using its directory name.

After installing Herd, the fastest way to create a new Laravel project is using the Laravel CLI, which is bundled with Herd:

cd ~/Herd
laravel new my-app
cd my-app
herd open

Of course, you can always manage your parked directories and other PHP settings via Herd's UI, which can be opened from the Herd menu in your system tray.

You can learn more about Herd by checking out the Herd documentation.

Herd on Windows

You can download the Windows installer for Herd on the Herd website. After the installation finishes, you can start Herd to complete the onboarding process and access the Herd UI for the first time.

The Herd UI is accessible by left-clicking on Herd's system tray icon. A right-click opens the quick menu with access to all tools that you need on a daily basis.

During installation, Herd creates a "parked" directory in your home directory at %USERPROFILE%\Herd. Any Laravel application in a parked directory will automatically be served by Herd, and you can access any Laravel application in this directory on the .test domain using its directory name.

After installing Herd, the fastest way to create a new Laravel project is using the Laravel CLI, which is bundled with Herd. To get started, open Powershell and run the following commands:

cd ~\Herd
laravel new my-app
cd my-app
herd open

You can learn more about Herd by checking out the Herd documentation for Windows.

Docker Installation Using Sail

We want it to be as easy as possible to get started with Laravel regardless of your preferred operating system. So, there are a variety of options for developing and running a Laravel project on your local machine. While you may wish to explore these options at a later time, Laravel provides Sail, a built-in solution for running your Laravel project using Docker.

Docker is a tool for running applications and services in small, light-weight "containers" which do not interfere with your local machine's installed software or configuration. This means you don't have to worry about configuring or setting up complicated development tools such as web servers and databases on your local machine. To get started, you only need to install Docker Desktop.

Laravel Sail is a light-weight command-line interface for interacting with Laravel's default Docker configuration. Sail provides a great starting point for building a Laravel application using PHP, MySQL, and Redis without requiring prior Docker experience.

[!NOTE]
Already a Docker expert? Don't worry! Everything about Sail can be customized using the docker-compose.yml file included with Laravel.

Sail on macOS

If you're developing on a Mac and Docker Desktop is already installed, you can use a simple terminal command to create a new Laravel project. For example, to create a new Laravel application in a directory named "example-app", you may run the following command in your terminal:

curl -s "https://laravel.build/example-app" | bash

Of course, you can change "example-app" in this URL to anything you like - just make sure the application name only contains alpha-numeric characters, dashes, and underscores. The Laravel application's directory will be created within the directory you execute the command from.

Sail installation may take several minutes while Sail's application containers are built on your local machine.

After the project has been created, you can navigate to the application directory and start Laravel Sail. Laravel Sail provides a simple command-line interface for interacting with Laravel's default Docker configuration:

cd example-app
 
./vendor/bin/sail up

Once the application's Docker containers have started, you should run your application's database migrations:

./vendor/bin/sail artisan migrate

Finally, you can access the application in your web browser at: http://localhost.

[!NOTE]
To continue learning more about Laravel Sail, review its complete documentation.

Sail on Windows

Before we create a new Laravel application on your Windows machine, make sure to install Docker Desktop. Next, you should ensure that Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) is installed and enabled. WSL allows you to run Linux binary executables natively on Windows 10. Information on how to install and enable WSL2 can be found within Microsoft's developer environment documentation.

[!NOTE]
After installing and enabling WSL2, you should ensure that Docker Desktop is configured to use the WSL2 backend.

Next, you are ready to create your first Laravel project. Launch Windows Terminal and begin a new terminal session for your WSL2 Linux operating system. Next, you can use a simple terminal command to create a new Laravel project. For example, to create a new Laravel application in a directory named "example-app", you may run the following command in your terminal:

curl -s https://laravel.build/example-app | bash

Of course, you can change "example-app" in this URL to anything you like - just make sure the application name only contains alpha-numeric characters, dashes, and underscores. The Laravel application's directory will be created within the directory you execute the command from.

Sail installation may take several minutes while Sail's application containers are built on your local machine.

After the project has been created, you can navigate to the application directory and start Laravel Sail. Laravel Sail provides a simple command-line interface for interacting with Laravel's default Docker configuration:

cd example-app
 
./vendor/bin/sail up

Once the application's Docker containers have started, you should run your application's database migrations:

./vendor/bin/sail artisan migrate

Finally, you can access the application in your web browser at: http://localhost.

[!NOTE]
To continue learning more about Laravel Sail, review its complete documentation.

Developing Within WSL2

Of course, you will need to be able to modify the Laravel application files that were created within your WSL2 installation. To accomplish this, we recommend using Microsoft's Visual Studio Code editor and their first-party extension for Remote Development.

Once these tools are installed, you may open any Laravel project by executing the code . command from your application's root directory using Windows Terminal.

Sail on Linux

If you're developing on Linux and Docker Compose is already installed, you can use a simple terminal command to create a new Laravel project.

First, if you are using Docker Desktop for Linux, you should execute the following command. If you are not using Docker Desktop for Linux, you may skip this step:

docker context use default

Then, to create a new Laravel application in a directory named "example-app", you may run the following command in your terminal:

curl -s https://laravel.build/example-app | bash

Of course, you can change "example-app" in this URL to anything you like - just make sure the application name only contains alpha-numeric characters, dashes, and underscores. The Laravel application's directory will be created within the directory you execute the command from.

Sail installation may take several minutes while Sail's application containers are built on your local machine.

After the project has been created, you can navigate to the application directory and start Laravel Sail. Laravel Sail provides a simple command-line interface for interacting with Laravel's default Docker configuration:

cd example-app
 
./vendor/bin/sail up

Once the application's Docker containers have started, you should run your application's database migrations:

./vendor/bin/sail artisan migrate

Finally, you can access the application in your web browser at: http://localhost.

[!NOTE]
To continue learning more about Laravel Sail, review its complete documentation.

Choosing Your Sail Services

When creating a new Laravel application via Sail, you may use the with query string variable to choose which services should be configured in your new application's docker-compose.yml file. Available services include mysql, pgsql, mariadb, redis, memcached, meilisearch, typesense, minio, selenium, and mailpit:

curl -s "https://laravel.build/example-app?with=mysql,redis" | bash

If you do not specify which services you would like configured, a default stack of mysql, redis, meilisearch, mailpit, and selenium will be configured.

You may instruct Sail to install a default Devcontainer by adding the devcontainer parameter to the URL:

curl -s "https://laravel.build/example-app?with=mysql,redis&devcontainer" | bash

IDE Support

You are free to use any code editor you wish when developing Laravel applications; however, PhpStorm offers extensive support for Laravel and its ecosystem, including Laravel Pint.

In addition, the community maintained Laravel Idea PhpStorm plugin offers a variety of helpful IDE augmentations, including code generation, Eloquent syntax completion, validation rule completion, and more.

Next Steps

Now that you have created your Laravel project, you may be wondering what to learn next. First, we strongly recommend becoming familiar with how Laravel works by reading the following documentation:

How you want to use Laravel will also dictate the next steps on your journey. There are a variety of ways to use Laravel, and we'll explore two primary use cases for the framework below.

[!NOTE]
New to Laravel? Check out the Laravel Bootcamp for a hands-on tour of the framework while we walk you through building your first Laravel application.

Laravel the Full Stack Framework

Laravel may serve as a full stack framework. By "full stack" framework we mean that you are going to use Laravel to route requests to your application and render your frontend via Blade templates or a single-page application hybrid technology like Inertia. This is the most common way to use the Laravel framework, and, in our opinion, the most productive way to use Laravel.

If this is how you plan to use Laravel, you may want to check out our documentation on frontend development, routing, views, or the Eloquent ORM. In addition, you might be interested in learning about community packages like Livewire and Inertia. These packages allow you to use Laravel as a full-stack framework while enjoying many of the UI benefits provided by single-page JavaScript applications.

If you are using Laravel as a full stack framework, we also strongly encourage you to learn how to compile your application's CSS and JavaScript using Vite.

[!NOTE]
If you want to get a head start building your application, check out one of our official application starter kits.

Laravel the API Backend

Laravel may also serve as an API backend to a JavaScript single-page application or mobile application. For example, you might use Laravel as an API backend for your Next.js application. In this context, you may use Laravel to provide authentication and data storage / retrieval for your application, while also taking advantage of Laravel's powerful services such as queues, emails, notifications, and more.

If this is how you plan to use Laravel, you may want to check out our documentation on routing, Laravel Sanctum, and the Eloquent ORM.

[!NOTE]
Need a head start scaffolding your Laravel backend and Next.js frontend? Laravel Breeze offers an API stack as well as a Next.js frontend implementation so you can get started in minutes.