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What is Heroku

Heroku is a popular all in one hosting solution, you can find more at

Signing Up

You'll need a heroku account, if you don't have one, please sign up here:

Installing CLI

Make sure that you've installed the heroku cli tool.


brew install heroku/brew/heroku

Other Install Options

See alternative install options here:

Logging in

once you've installed the cli, login with the following:

heroku login

verify that the correct email is logged in with:

heroku auth:whoami

Create an application

Visit to access your account, and create a new application from the drop down in the upper right hand corner. Heroku will ask a few questions such as region and application name, just follow their prompts.


Heroku uses Git to deploy your app, so you’ll need to put your project into a Git repository, if it isn’t already.

Initialize Git

If you need to add Git to your project, enter the following command in Terminal:

git init


By default, Heroku deploys the master branch. Make sure all changes are checked into this branch before pushing.

Check your current branch with

git branch

The asterisk indicates current branch.

* master

Note: If you don’t see any output and you’ve just performed git init. You’ll need to commit your code first then you’ll see output from the git branch command.

If you’re not currently on master, switch there by entering:

git checkout master

Commit changes

If this command produces output, then you have uncommitted changes.

git status --porcelain

Commit them with the following

git add .
git commit -m "a description of the changes I made"

Connect with Heroku

Connect your app with heroku (replace with your app's name).

$ heroku git:remote -a your-apps-name-here

Set Buildpack

Set the buildpack to teach heroku how to deal with vapor.

heroku buildpacks:set vapor/vapor

Swift version file

The buildpack we added looks for a .swift-version file to know which version of swift to use. (replace 5.1.3 with whatever version your project requires.)

echo "5.1.3" > .swift-version

This creates .swift-version with 5.1.3 as its contents.


Heroku uses the Procfile to know how to run your app, in our case it needs to look like this:

web: Run serve --env production --hostname --port $PORT

we can create this with the following terminal command

echo "web: Run serve --env production" \
  "--hostname --port \$PORT" > Procfile

Commit changes

We just added these files, but they're not committed. If we push, heroku will not find them.

Commit them with the following.

git add .
git commit -m "adding heroku build files"

Deploying to Heroku

You're ready to deploy, run this from the terminal. It may take a while to build, this is normal.

git push heroku master

Scale Up

Once you've built successfully, you need to add at least one server, one web is free and you can get it with the following:

heroku ps:scale web=1

Continued Deployment

Any time you want to update, just get the latest changes into master and push to heroku and it will redeploy


Add PostgreSQL database

Visit your application at and go to the Add-ons section.

From here enter postgress and you'll see an option for Heroku Postgres. Select it.

Choose the hobby dev free plan, and provision. Heroku will do the rest.

Once you finish, you’ll see the database appears under the Resources tab.

Configure the database

We have to now tell our app how to access the database. In our app directory, let's run.

heroku config

This will make output somewhat like this

=== today-i-learned-vapor Config Vars
DATABASE_URL: postgres://

DATABASE_URL here will represent out postgres database. NEVER hard code the static url from this, heroku will rotate it and it will break your application. It is also bad practice.

Here is an example databsae configuration

let databaseConfig: PostgreSQLDatabaseConfig
if let url = Environment.get("DATABASE_URL") {
  // configuring database
  databaseConfig = PostgreSQLDatabaseConfig(url: url, transport: .unverifiedTLS)!
} else {
  // ...

Unverified TLS is required if you are using Heroku Postgres's standard plan.

Don't forget to commit these changes

git add .
git commit -m "configured heroku database"

Reverting your database

You can revert or run other commmands on heroku with the run command. Vapor's project is by default also named Run, so it reads a little funny.

To revert your database:

heroku run Run -- revert --all --yes --env production

To migrate

heroku run Run -- migrate --env production