Deploy a Laravel and Vue.js web app

This is a guide to deploying a web application with a Laravel backend and a JavaScript-based frontend on a dedicated or virtual private server.

The articles are listed in order below; you can read more meta-information about the guide below the table of contents.


  1. Preliminary server setup: standard first steps on a fresh Linux server.
  2. Install PHP: install PHP and required PHP extensions for running Laravel.
  3. Database setup: install a database management system (MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQLite) and create a database and database user if required by your DBMS.
  4. Server-side Git setup: set up a Git repo and create a post-receive hook.
  5. Development-side Git setup: connect Git on your dev machine and server.
  6. Composer: install Composer and use it to install PHP packages.
  7. Node.js: install Node.js and install your app’s Node.js dependencies.
  8. Laravel environment setup: take care of your .env file, database migrations, and a few pre-deployment optimizations.
  9. Directory permissions: a few ownership and permission tweaks for Laravel to run.
  10. Nginx: install Nginx; create and activate your app’s Nginx config.
  11. Automating deployment: three options for automated redeployment.
  12. Custom domain name: set up DNS records needed for a custom domain name.
  13. HTTPS: set up a free, autorenewing HTTPS certificate with Certbot.


What’s this?

A guide to deploying a web application with a Laravel backend and JavaScript-based frontend (e.g. Vue, React, etc.) on a dedicated or virtual private server. My goal in writing this was to document the process for future reference and help anyone else doing the same thing.

Tech stack

  • Server: either a virtual private server (e.g. a Digital Ocean droplet) or a physical server, running a Debian-based Linux distro (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu).
  • Backend: Laravel
  • Web server: Nginx
  • Database: your choice of MySQL/MariaDB, PostgreSQL, SQLite
  • Frontend: Any JavaScript-based framework (e.g. Vue, React, etc.) for which you could reasonably define an npm run build script. The frontend has a relatively minor role in this guide.


  • You are willing and able to operate in a Linux command line environment.
  • You have root access to a Linux server.
  • You can access the server over SSH and have the basic SSH knowledge required to do so (e.g. generating a public/private keypair; copying your public key to the authorized_keys file on the server; logging in over SSH).


I’ll generally show shell prompts in username@host$ format, and sometimes append the current working directory username@host:cwd$ for clarity:

# You on your development machine
you@dev$ whoami

# A shell command issued as root user on the server
root@server$ whoami

# A shell command issued as laravel user on the server
laravel@server$ whoami

# A shell command issued as laravel user from home directory
laravel@server:~$ pwd

# A shell command issued as laravel user from /var/www
laravel@server:/var/www$ pwd

Other conventions:

  • I’ll use as a server IP address.
  • I’ll use laravel as the name of the non-root user on your app’s server.
  • I’ll use laravel-project as the name of your project’s root server-side directory.

Feedback, suggestions, etc.

If you have ideas for improving the series, I will quite likely implement them, appreciate your input, and give you a shoutout for your contributions. Feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Shoutouts to readers: many thanks to Nicola Pugliese for offering good ideas on how improve this series.

You can reach me by email at [email protected] or by opening an issue or pull request at

Want to say thank you?

You could:

  • Send me an email! Seriously, if this material helped you, it will make my day to know. I love hearing from readers, and you’ll almost certainly get a message back from me.

  • Contribute financially. Based on reader input, there are in fact people out there interested in compensating me financially for this guide. That’s awesome—thank you! You can Buy Me a Coffee here.

Below is a list of other great guides to deploying a Laravel app that I’ve found online and taken inspiration from. Each covers the material from a slightly different angle, so you’ll probably get something out of reading all of them.

The original writing and media in this series is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.