Deploying serverless applications with Laravel Vapor

This article delves into the user-friendly world of Laravel Vapor. Say farewell to intricate setups and server management headaches. With Laravel Vapor, you'll experience the ease of deploying websites without the fuss.

In recent years, the serverless paradigm has become known as a transformative approach to application development, allowing us to focus more on writing code and less on managing infrastructure. Laravel Vapor, a serverless deployment platform for Laravel applications, brings the power of the Laravel framework into the world of serverless architecture. By integrating Laravel with AWS Lambda and other AWS services, Vapor offers a simple way to build, deploy, and scale applications without the complexities of traditional server management. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss serverless architecture and the features and benefits of Laravel Vapor, as well as walk through the process of deploying a serverless application using Vapor.

Understanding serverless architecture

To understand the importance of Laravel Vapor and its role in building serverless applications, it's crucial to first understand the fundamentals of serverless architecture. Serverless computing is a cloud computing model that abstracts away the complexities of infrastructure management, allowing us to focus solely on writing code to implement business logic. In this model, we no longer need to provision, scale, or manage servers; instead, the cloud provider handles these tasks automatically.

At the heart of serverless architecture are functions. Functions, also known as serverless functions or AWS Lambda functions in the context of Laravel Vapor, are units of code that can be executed in response to specific events. These events could be HTTP requests, database changes, file uploads, or other triggers. Functions are stateless and ephemeral, meaning they only exist for the duration of their execution and do not maintain any persistent state between invocations.

Laravel Vapor harnesses the power of AWS Lambda, Amazon's serverless compute service, to execute Laravel applications in the form of serverless functions. This approach introduces a shift in how applications are built and deployed. Previously, we had to manage servers, infrastructure provisioning, and scaling to accommodate varying workloads. With Vapor, these concerns are abstracted, allowing us to focus on writing code that directly solves problems.

One of the key advantages of serverless architecture, and by extension, Laravel Vapor, is its ability to scale seamlessly. Traditional server setups often involve over-provisioning to handle occasional spikes in traffic. This results in wasted resources during periods of low demand. Serverless architecture, on the other hand, automatically scales up and down based on the incoming traffic, ensuring optimal use of resources and cost efficiency.

Exploring the benefits of Laravel Vapor

  1. Seamless Integration with Laravel: One of the most compelling aspects of Laravel Vapor is its seamless integration with the Laravel framework. Vapor allows us to continue using the familiar Laravel tools, syntax, and paradigms we are accustomed to while reaping the benefits of serverless architecture. This integration eliminates the need for a steep learning curve, enabling us to transition smoothly into serverless development.

  2. Simplified Deployment: Deploying traditional applications often involves configuring servers, managing databases, and handling various server-related tasks. Laravel Vapor simplifies this process by abstracting away the underlying infrastructure management. We can focus solely on our application code and use Vapor's command-line tools to deploy our Laravel applications as serverless functions on AWS Lambda. This simplification accelerates the deployment pipeline and reduces the likelihood of deployment-related errors.

  3. Auto-Scaling and High Availability: Vapor leverages AWS Lambda's auto-scaling capabilities to ensure that your application can handle different levels of traffic. When the number of incoming requests increases, Lambda automatically provisions and manages the required resources to meet the demand. This high level of scalability guarantees that your application remains responsive, regardless of change in traffic.

  4. Cost Efficiency: Traditional hosting models often involve paying for resources that you may not use during periods of low traffic. Laravel Vapor's serverless architecture only uses resources when a function is actively processing requests. This "pay-as-you-go" model results in cost savings, as you are charged based on what your application uses rather than a fixed server capacity.

  5. Database and Storage Integration: Vapor seamlessly integrates with AWS services, such as Amazon RDS for databases and Amazon S3 for storage. This integration allows you to manage an application's data and assets while taking advantage of the reliability and scalability of AWS services.

  6. Custom Domains and SSL Certificates: Vapor makes it easy to associate custom domains with your serverless Laravel applications. You can also manage SSL certificates directly within the Vapor dashboard, ensuring secure communication between clients and your serverless functions.

  7. Environment Management: Vapor provides a robust environment management system that allows you to define different environments (e.g., development, staging, and production) and configure them separately. This facilitates testing, debugging, and deploying changes with confidence.

  8. Background Jobs and Queues: Laravel's queue system seamlessly integrates with Vapor, allowing you to handle background jobs and tasks asynchronously. Vapor supports queue workers powered by AWS Lambda, enabling efficient processing of tasks without the need for dedicated infrastructure.

Getting started: setting up Laravel Vapor

Now that we've explored the foundational concepts of serverless architecture and delved into the features of Laravel Vapor, it's time to roll up our sleeves and walk through the process of setting up Laravel Vapor and preparing our development environment for building serverless applications.


  • A basic understanding of Laravel framework concepts.
  • An AWS account with appropriate permissions to create and manage resources.
  • Composer installed on your local machine for Laravel application management.

Installing Vapor

To begin, install the Laravel Vapor CLI tool globally using Composer:

composer global require laravel/vapor-cli

Make sure that Composer's global bin directory is added to your system's PATH so that you can access the Vapor CLI tool from anywhere in your terminal.

Configure AWS credentials

Since Laravel Vapor relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, you'll need to configure your AWS credentials to enable communication between your application and AWS services. Follow these steps to set up your AWS credentials:

  1. If you don't have an AWS account, sign up for one at AWS Sign-Up.
  2. Once you have an AWS account, navigate to the IAM (Identity and Access Management) section of the AWS Management Console.
  3. Create a new IAM user with programmatic access. This user will be utilized to interact with AWS services from the Vapor CLI. Attach the "AdministratorAccess" policy to this user for now. Note the Access Key ID and Secret Access Key generated for this user.
  4. Configure the AWS CLI on your local machine by running the following command:
aws configure

Provide the Access Key ID, Secret Access Key, default region, and preferred output format when prompted. These credentials will be stored in the ~/.aws/credentials file.

Your AWS credentials are now set up, allowing Laravel Vapor to communicate securely with AWS services.

Verify Vapor CLI installation

To ensure that the Vapor CLI is properly installed and configured, run the following command:


You should see the Vapor CLI's help information, indicating that the installation was successful. With the Vapor CLI installed and your AWS credentials configured, you're ready to move on to creating a Laravel application that will be transformed into a serverless application using Laravel Vapor.

Creating a Laravel application

If you already have a Laravel application, you can skip this step and proceed to the next section.

Open your terminal and navigate to the directory where you want to create a new Laravel application. Run the following command to generate a new Laravel project:

composer create-project --prefer-dist laravel/laravel serverless-app

This command will create a new Laravel application in a directory named serverless-app.

Set up basic routes and controllers

Next, let's set up some basic routes and controllers for our application. Open the routes/web.php file and define a simple route:

Route::get('/', 'HomeController@index');

Now, create a new controller named HomeController by running the following command:

php artisan make:controller HomeController

Open the generated HomeController.php file located in the app/Http/Controllers directory and define a basic method:

public function index()
    return view('welcome');

This method will return the welcome view, which is a basic HTML template provided by Laravel.

Verify the application

To verify that your application is running correctly, start the development server by running the following:

php artisan serve

Open your web browser and visit http://localhost:8000. You should see the default Laravel welcome page.

With our basic Laravel application set up, we're now ready to use Laravel Vapor with it.

Configuring Vapor for your application

This step includes setting up the necessary environment variables, configuring deployment settings, and preparing your application for deployment

Install Laravel Vapor:

composer require laravel/vapor

This command will add the Vapor package to your project's dependencies.

Configure environment variables

Laravel Vapor uses environment variables to manage configuration settings specific to your deployment environments. Create a .env.vapor file in your project root to define these variables. Here's an example of a basic configuration:



Replace your-app-key, your-region, and your-bucket-name with appropriate values. The APP_ENV should be set to production for Vapor deployments.

Configure deployment settings

In your vapor.yml file located in the project root directory, you can configure various settings related to deployment. This includes specifying the environment variables file, setting up domains, and more. Here's a minimal example:

id: your-vapor-app-id
name: Your Vapor App Name

Replace your-vapor-app-id with your actual Vapor app ID, Your Vapor App Name with your desired app name, and with your domain name.

Prepare for deployment

Before deploying your application, make sure you're using the vapor environment. Update your .env file to include the following:


Additionally, you can set the VAPOR_DEBUG variable to true to enable debugging output during deployments:


Generate assets

If your application includes assets like JavaScript, CSS, or images, generate the optimized assets using Laravel's mix tool:

npm install
npm run production

Deploy your application

With everything configured, you're ready to deploy your application using Laravel Vapor. In your terminal, run the following command:

vapor deploy production

This command will package your application, create AWS Lambda functions, set up the required infrastructure, and deploy your application to the specified environment.

Observe the deployment process

When you execute the vapor deploy production command, Laravel Vapor performs several tasks behind the scenes:

  • Packages your application code and assets into deployment archives.
  • Creates AWS Lambda functions for your application's routes.
  • Sets up API Gateway to manage HTTP requests.
  • Configures necessary environment variables and AWS services.
  • Deploys your application to multiple AWS regions for global distribution.

Observe the command's output to get insights into the deployment process, including the creation of Lambda functions, API Gateway stages, and other AWS resources.

Access your deployed application

After successful deployment, Vapor provides a URL where your application is accessible. This URL will be based on the configured domain in your vapor.yml file. Visit the URL in your web browser to see your deployed Laravel application running in the serverless environment.

Testing and quality assurance

After deployment, thoroughly test your application's functionality to ensure that everything is working as expected in the serverless environment. Pay close attention to any potential differences between your local development environment and the serverless environment, such as storage and database interactions.

Monitoring and scaling

Laravel Vapor provides built-in monitoring tools to help track the performance and usage of your application. Use the AWS CloudWatch dashboard to monitor key metrics and diagnose issues that may arise. Additionally, take advantage of Vapor's automatic scaling capabilities to handle varying levels of traffic without manual intervention.

Continuous deployment

As updates are made to your application, you can leverage continuous deployment practices to streamline the deployment process. Whenever you're ready to deploy a new version of an application, simply run the vapor deploy production command again. Vapor will automatically update the necessary AWS resources and distribute the new version to your global deployment.


Congratulations! You've successfully journeyed through the process of building and deploying a serverless Laravel application using Laravel Vapor. You've gained insights into serverless architecture and learned how Vapor simplifies deployment. Thanks for reading!

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