Laravel Valet

Introduction

Valet is a Laravel development environment for Mac minimalists. No Vagrant, no /etc/hosts file. You can even share your sites publicly using local tunnels. Yeah, we like it too.

Laravel Valet configures your Mac to always run Nginx in the background when your machine starts. Then, using DnsMasq, Valet proxies all requests on the *.dev domain to point to sites installed on your local machine.

In other words, a blazing fast Laravel development environment that uses roughly 7 MB of RAM. Valet isn't a complete replacement for Vagrant or Homestead, but provides a great alternative if you want flexible basics, prefer extreme speed, or are working on a machine with a limited amount of RAM.

Out of the box, Valet support includes, but is not limited to:

However, you may extend Valet with your own custom drivers.

Valet Or Homestead

As you may know, Laravel offers Homestead, another local Laravel development environment. Homestead and Valet differ in regards to their intended audience and their approach to local development. Homestead offers an entire Ubuntu virtual machine with automated Nginx configuration. Homestead is a wonderful choice if you want a fully virtualized Linux development environment or are on Windows / Linux.

Valet only supports Mac, and requires you to install PHP and a database server directly onto your local machine. This is easily achieved by using Homebrew with commands like brew install php71 and brew install mysql. Valet provides a blazing fast local development environment with minimal resource consumption, so it's great for developers who only require PHP / MySQL and do not need a fully virtualized development environment.

Both Valet and Homestead are great choices for configuring your Laravel development environment. Which one you choose will depend on your personal taste and your team's needs.

Installation

Valet requires macOS and Homebrew. Before installation, you should make sure that no other programs such as Apache or Nginx are binding to your local machine's port 80.

  • Install or update Homebrew to the latest version using brew update.
  • Install PHP 7.1 using Homebrew via brew install homebrew/php/php71.
  • Install Valet with Composer via composer global require laravel/valet. Make sure the ~/.composer/vendor/bin directory is in your system's "PATH".
  • Run the valet install command. This will configure and install Valet and DnsMasq, and register Valet's daemon to launch when your system starts.

Once Valet is installed, try pinging any *.dev domain on your terminal using a command such as ping foobar.dev. If Valet is installed correctly you should see this domain responding on 127.0.0.1.

Valet will automatically start its daemon each time your machine boots. There is no need to run valet start or valet install ever again once the initial Valet installation is complete.

Using Another Domain

By default, Valet serves your projects using the .dev TLD. If you'd like to use another domain, you can do so using the valet domain tld-name command.

For example, if you'd like to use .app instead of .dev, run valet domain app and Valet will start serving your projects at *.app automatically.

Database

If you need a database, try MySQL by running brew install mysql on your command line. Once MySQL has been installed, you may start it using the brew services start mysql command. You can then connect to the database at 127.0.0.1 using the root username and an empty string for the password.

Upgrading

You may update your Valet installation using the composer global update command in your terminal. After upgrading, it is good practice to run the valet install command so Valet can make additional upgrades to your configuration files if necessary.

Upgrading To Valet 2.0

Valet 2.0 transitions Valet's underlying web server from Caddy to Nginx. Before upgrading to this version you should run the following commands to stop and uninstall the existing Caddy daemon:

valet stop
valet uninstall

Next, you should upgrade to the latest version of Valet. Depending on how you installed Valet, this is typically done through Git or Composer. If you installed Valet via Composer, you should use the following command to update to the latest major version:

composer global require laravel/valet

Once the fresh Valet source code has been downloaded, you should run the install command:

valet install
valet restart

After upgrading, it may be necessary to re-park or re-link your sites.

Serving Sites

Once Valet is installed, you're ready to start serving sites. Valet provides two commands to help you serve your Laravel sites: park and link.

The park Command

  • Create a new directory on your Mac by running something like mkdir ~/Sites. Next, cd ~/Sites and run valet park. This command will register your current working directory as a path that Valet should search for sites.
  • Next, create a new Laravel site within this directory: laravel new blog.
  • Open http://blog.dev in your browser.

That's all there is to it. Now, any Laravel project you create within your "parked" directory will automatically be served using the http://folder-name.dev convention.

The link Command

The link command may also be used to serve your Laravel sites. This command is useful if you want to serve a single site in a directory and not the entire directory.

  • To use the command, navigate to one of your projects and run valet link app-name in your terminal. Valet will create a symbolic link in ~/.valet/Sites which points to your current working directory.
  • After running the link command, you can access the site in your browser at http://app-name.dev.

To see a listing of all of your linked directories, run the valet links command. You may use valet unlink app-name to destroy the symbolic link.

{tip} You can use valet link to serve the same project from multiple (sub)domains. To add a subdomain or another domain to your project run valet link subdomain.app-name from the project folder.

Securing Sites With TLS

By default, Valet serves sites over plain HTTP. However, if you would like to serve a site over encrypted TLS using HTTP/2, use the secure command. For example, if your site is being served by Valet on the laravel.dev domain, you should run the following command to secure it:

valet secure laravel

To "unsecure" a site and revert back to serving its traffic over plain HTTP, use the unsecure command. Like the secure command, this command accepts the host name that you wish to unsecure:

valet unsecure laravel

Sharing Sites

Valet even includes a command to share your local sites with the world. No additional software installation is required once Valet is installed.

To share a site, navigate to the site's directory in your terminal and run the valet share command. A publicly accessible URL will be inserted into your clipboard and is ready to paste directly into your browser. That's it.

To stop sharing your site, hit Control + C to cancel the process.

{note} valet share does not currently support sharing sites that have been secured using the valet secure command.

Custom Valet Drivers

You can write your own Valet "driver" to serve PHP applications running on another framework or CMS that is not natively supported by Valet. When you install Valet, a ~/.valet/Drivers directory is created which contains a SampleValetDriver.php file. This file contains a sample driver implementation to demonstrate how to write a custom driver. Writing a driver only requires you to implement three methods: serves, isStaticFile, and frontControllerPath.

All three methods receive the $sitePath, $siteName, and $uri values as their arguments. The $sitePath is the fully qualified path to the site being served on your machine, such as /Users/Lisa/Sites/my-project. The $siteName is the "host" / "site name" portion of the domain (my-project). The $uri is the incoming request URI (/foo/bar).

Once you have completed your custom Valet driver, place it in the ~/.valet/Drivers directory using the FrameworkValetDriver.php naming convention. For example, if you are writing a custom valet driver for WordPress, your file name should be WordPressValetDriver.php.

Let's take a look at a sample implementation of each method your custom Valet driver should implement.

The serves Method

The serves method should return true if your driver should handle the incoming request. Otherwise, the method should return false. So, within this method you should attempt to determine if the given $sitePath contains a project of the type you are trying to serve.

For example, let's pretend we are writing a WordPressValetDriver. Our serve method might look something like this:

/**
 * Determine if the driver serves the request.
 *
 * @param  string  $sitePath
 * @param  string  $siteName
 * @param  string  $uri
 * @return bool
 */
public function serves($sitePath, $siteName, $uri)
{
    return is_dir($sitePath.'/wp-admin');
}

The isStaticFile Method

The isStaticFile should determine if the incoming request is for a file that is "static", such as an image or a stylesheet. If the file is static, the method should return the fully qualified path to the static file on disk. If the incoming request is not for a static file, the method should return false:

/**
 * Determine if the incoming request is for a static file.
 *
 * @param  string  $sitePath
 * @param  string  $siteName
 * @param  string  $uri
 * @return string|false
 */
public function isStaticFile($sitePath, $siteName, $uri)
{
    if (file_exists($staticFilePath = $sitePath.'/public/'.$uri)) {
        return $staticFilePath;
    }

    return false;
}

{note} The isStaticFile method will only be called if the serves method returns true for the incoming request and the request URI is not /.

The frontControllerPath Method

The frontControllerPath method should return the fully qualified path to your application's "front controller", which is typically your "index.php" file or equivalent:

/**
 * Get the fully resolved path to the application's front controller.
 *
 * @param  string  $sitePath
 * @param  string  $siteName
 * @param  string  $uri
 * @return string
 */
public function frontControllerPath($sitePath, $siteName, $uri)
{
    return $sitePath.'/public/index.php';
}

Other Valet Commands

Command Description
valet forget Run this command from a "parked" directory to remove it from the parked directory list.
valet paths View all of your "parked" paths.
valet restart Restart the Valet daemon.
valet start Start the Valet daemon.
valet stop Stop the Valet daemon.
valet uninstall Uninstall the Valet daemon entirely.